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Southern Jaguars vs. Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns 2014 Preview: Here We Geaux

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The wait is finally over. The Cajuns kick off this Saturday against Southern and we've got all the information you need to make it look like you're familiar with last year's SWAC champions.

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Basics

Who: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (0-0) vs. Southern University Jaguars (0-0)

Where: Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA (ESPN3)

When: 6:00 pm CT

Weather: 83°F, 45% Chance of Rain

Know Your Enemy

The Southern Jaguars are a marching band whose road crew happens to play football on occasion. Those roadies did manage to win the SWAC last year, but who hasn't stumbled into a bar and taken home a foosball trophy once or twice? The offense will be led by freshman Deonte Shorts after he beat out three other freshman for the starting job. That's right. The Jaguars' options at QB read 1) Frosh. 2) Frosh. 3) Frosh. 4) Frosh. Transfer. On defense, the Jags gave up nearly 200 rushing yards a game last year. I could go into more depth, but that number is all you really need to know. Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire should both have a pretty good day.

Players to Watch

Southern

  • Deonte Shorts, Fr. QB - The University Lab (BR) prospect came in to the QB battle at Southern as the favorite and quickly took his place with the first team in practice. Being named the starter wasn't official until late last week, but I'm expecting Shorts to step up as a leader early. Whether that translates to success is another story.
  • Daniel Brown, Sr. MLB- The New Orleans native recorded 86 tackles in 2013. Of those, 14 were for a loss, including 5.5 sacks. Brown may be the only thing standing between UL running backs and the endzone come Saturday. He has his work cut out for him.
  • The Human Jukebox- Seriously, watch these guys. Youtube videos don't do it justice.

UL

  • Elijah McGuire, So. RB- I could have easily put Zo here, because I suspect he'll have a great game. But McGuire could really break out in this one, either from the backfield or on special teams. By the end of the game we will likely see Torrey Pierce and Darius Hoggins getting most of the handoffs, but I suspect McGuire will make his presence known first.
  • Al Riles, So. TE- The converted linebacker will make his first start on offense at slot receiver, and I would be shocked if they don't put him to the test early. He's got Matt Barnes breathing down his neck, so Riles will need to step up and prove that he belongs on this side of the ball.
  • Trae Johnson, Sr. MLB- Another spot where a backup is making a serious push for playing time. Containing Shorts will be good practice for the SBC schedule and their mobile QBs, but Johnson can't afford to slip. He will be key to making sure this one is over in a hurry.

Stats to Know

  • Series Record: 1-0 UL
  • Cajun Field Attendance Record: 41,357 vs. Southern (2009)
  • 2013 Southern Avg. Rushing Yards Allowed: 199.8
  • 2013 UL Avg. Rushing Yards: 205.5
  • UL Coach Mark Hudspeth Max Bench: 370 lb.
  • Southern Coach Dawson Odums: About 370 lb.

Prediction

Despite unprecedented success under Coach Odums, Southern is still a 24.5-point underdog in this one. Honestly, that isn't nearly enough. Cajun Field will be packed as fans take advantage of the newly added end zone seats. Southern's Human Jukebox will kill the halftime performance, and the Cajuns will breeze through this one. Louisiana will have no problem scoring points, and if the first team is playing more than halfway through the third quarter, something has gone horribly wrong.

Matt's Prediction - Louisiana 60 Southern 10

Cody's Prediction - Louisiana 52 Southern 17