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Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns vs. Ole Miss Rebels Preview: Is It October Yet?

I'll be honest, this one was hard to write. With all the expectations this offseason, I don't think anyone thought the Cajuns would be here. Sure a loss to Tech was possible, and it hardly derails UL's goals, but it's hard to see the mountains through the fog right now. But Coach Hud said it best. No more talking about goals, "that's been half our problem."

Joe Robbins

The Basics

Who: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns (1-1) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (2-0)

Where: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS (SEC Network)

When: 3:00 PM CT, September 13, 2014

Weather: 75°F, 20% Chance of Rain

Know Your Enemy

The Cajuns now turn their attention to their biggest challenge of the season- Ole Miss. The Rebels come into the game 2-0, holding decisive victories over cratering Vanderbilt and the Cajuns' week four opponent, Boise State. UL is a 26.5-point dog.

Let's not fool ourselves. The Cajuns' prospects of winning this game haven't changed in the last week. All conversations about it were of the ‘could win' variety even before Saturday. A victory may seem less likely now, but it's not completely out of the question.

Despite outscoring their opponents 76-16, Ole Miss hasn't produced much of a rushing attack in either of their games. They are sub-.500 in third down efficiency, and are averaging two turnovers a game. The Rebels are by no means perfect.

Sadly, where Ole Miss excels, UL is it's weakest. The Rebels thrive on passing and big plays. Five receivers have at least 7 catches in the two games they've played. Their defensive line is also loaded with talent. Luckily, Broadway can move. Hopefully this will help the Cajuns put up numbers closer to the 399 yards the Boise State Broncos earned against the Rebels in week one.

Players to Watch

Ole Miss

  • "Dr. Bo" Wallace, Sr. QB - He's the longest tenured quarterback in the SEC, and he's here to do surgery. Sure, he'll use a ballpoint pen and a fishing reel, but he'll get that thumbtack out of your colon one way or the other. It's usually the other. It's always the other.

  • Cody Core, Jr. WR- A kid that only had four catches all last season has already doubled that number, reeling in eight for nearly 200 yards, and three touchdowns. For his career he is averaging 22.3 yards per catch, with longs of 76 yards in both 2013 and 2014. Considering the hit UL took last weekend, this guy will definitely be a target for Dr. Bo.

  • Cody Prewitt, Sr. FS - Prewitt may be the best player on this team, and you will definitely hear his name come Saturday. This freak of nature has the size to play up in the box, while still being able to run with most receivers he will come up against. You can pass against him, but it is not advised.

UL

  • Alonzo Harris, Sr. RB- Coach Hud was quick to point out that the loss of Elijah McGuire against La Tech was a major hit to their game plan. But if the cajuns want to be successful throughout the season, they'll need to adjust, and seniors like Alonzo Harris will need to step up when a key player goes down. You should see some split back sets this week with ‘Zo and McGuire on the field together, but Harris will have to take advantage of his carries and make his blocks for UL to have any success.

  • Jamal Robinson, So. TE- Another impact player coming off an injury. Robinson went down before halftime last week, and has seen some limited practice so far. He should be close to 100% by kickoff, and he'll need to be. Broadway will be getting chased all over the field. He'll need his safety blanket in the secondary.

  • Donovan Williams, Jr. LG- First off, I love being able to name an offensive lineman as an impact player. The reason Williams gets the nod though, is he's the newest starter on this line, and the one going head to head with the Rebel's stud sophomore Robert Nkemdiche. Williams should get some help from former left guard and current center, Terry Johnson, but it will be up to him to keep the big man out of the backfield. Hopefully that's easier than finding a helmet to fit Nkemdiche's massive skull.

Stats to Know

  • Series Record: 0-3 Ole Miss

  • Spread: Cajuns -26.5

  • Cajuns' Rushing Offense Ranking: 46

  • Rebels' Rushing Offense Ranking: 101

  • Cajuns' Passing Offense Ranking: 58

  • Rebels' Passing Offense Ranking: 7

  • Combined College World Series Appearances since 2000: 2

Prediction

It's hard for me to write something positive here without using a cliche like "catch them sleeping." The Cajuns just need to come out and play. Keep everyone healthy, and take what Ole Miss gives you. Like Tech, the Rebels live for the big play. Keep your safeties back, and limit yards after the catch. Hud is a smart guy, and a Mississippi State man at heart. He want's this win as much as anybody. He'll keep things interesting.

Prediction - Ole Miss 42 Louisiana 20