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Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns 2014 Preview: Who Has The Edge?

The Bulldogs and Cajuns meet for a long overdue renewal of an old rivalry. The Cajuns are favored overall, but who really has the advantage?

Brett Deering

The Basics

  • Who: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (0-1) at UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns  (1-0)
  • Where: Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA (ESPN3)
  • When: 6:00 pm CT
  • Weather: 83°F, 40% Chance of Rain
  • Spread: UL Lafayette -12.5

Louisiana Tech and UL haven't met on the football field in a decade, but don't be fooled into thinking this isn't a rivalry. Saturday will be the 80th time these two team face off, with the Bulldogs holding a six-game winning streak. That streak may be in jeopardy though, as UL is currently a 12.5 point favorite at home.

To properly dissect this game, we are breaking it down into unit vs. unit sections with our resident UL and Louisiana Tech bloggers, Matt Monte and Jason Jones, debating the merits of each. And it wasn't without a little, let's call it compromise, that these two decided the advantage in each match-up.

UL Offensive Line vs La Tech Defensive Line

MM: Offensive line is probably the deepest and most experienced unit for the Ragin' Cajuns, despite having to move Terry Johnson to center. They had a rough start last week against Southern, but they managed to keep a solid pocket for Broadway, and opened decent running lanes. I would trust this line against most defenses in the country.
JJ: Louisiana Tech had a tough time getting anything going against Oklahoma. Houston Bates and Vontarrius Dora have to get pressure for this defense to be successful. The Bulldogs are deep at defensive tackle and should provide a handful for theCajuns revamped offensive line.
Draw

La Tech Offensive Line vs UL Defensive Line

JJ: Tech's offensive line is still a work in progress, but they have more to work with than they did a year ago. They started to protect Cody Sokol as the game wore on last week, but they need to open up more running lanes for Kenneth Dixon.
MM: The defensive line for UL is shaping up to be Coach Hudspeth's favorite unit this year. Southern crumbled against them, but that is to be expected. Tech will be a different story this week, especially seeing the fight they put up against Oklahoma. Expect to hear Jacoby Briscoe's name a lot though.
Advantage Cajuns

UL Passing vs La Tech Secondary

MM: Terrance Broadway is Terrance Broadway, and Jamal Robinson is every bit the freak we hoped he could be. Beyond that, there might not be much the Cajuns can rely in outside of Jared Johnson. They'll get their receptions, but this will be the first real test 
JJ: The strength of Tech's defense is the secondary. After Oklahoma's first quarter onslaught, Tech started settling in against the pass. Kentrell Brice and Xavier Woods were really hitting hard while Levander Liggins and Adarius Barnes competed the entire game.
Draw

La Tech Passing vs UL Secondary

JJ: Cody Sokol was 14-17 in the second half and started to show signs that he is what Head Coach Skip Holtz has been looking for. He hadn't played in a real game since 2011 in junior college and it showed in the first half. Sterling Griffin and Trent Taylor provided solid targets for Sokol, but they need someone on the outside to make a big play.
MM: Dominick Jones steped up nicely last week, but giving up nearly 200 passing yards to Southern isn't going to cut it. To succeed against a solid passer like Sokol, and the rest of the season for that matter, the Cajun secondary will have to improve.
Advantage Tech

UL Rushing vs La Tech Linebackers

MM: Elijah McGuire was as advertised last week, and running behind this offensive line, he will get his yards. The real question is whether Alonzo Harris will return to form. He only averaged 3.4 hard yards per carry against Southern. He will have to do better this week.
JJ: Tech linebackers are the thinnest position on the team and they didn't show up much last week. McGuire is the real deal, and Tony Johnson and Company will have to step up their game after getting gashed at Oklahoma. 
Advantage Cajuns

La Tech Rushing vs UL Linebackers

JJ: As Coach Holtz converts this team to more of a pro style attack, this is where the Bulldogs can win a few games. Tech will use Tight Ends and Fullbacks and should be able to impose their will on most of the teams on their schedule. This will keep them in those games and keep the Bulldogs defense off the field.
MM: Even with Jake Molbert and Chris Hill sitting this one out, the Cajuns linebackers stepped up and made their presence known last week. Because these two units have an offensive and defensive line in between them, it is a hard one to judge. I'll reserve judgement until we see both face off against competition more on their level this week.
Draw

UL Special Teams vs La Tech Special Teams

MM: UL's kicker, Hunter Stover, is a converted linebacker, and it shows on kickoffs. He'll have to get better so the Cajuns don't give up too many free yards this week. The return game is still anyone's guess though, since Southern didn't give them many chances to field one cleanly.
JJ: Tech really struggled on special teams against Oklahoma. Until they show improvement, they will be considered a weak link. 
Advantage Cajuns.

Prediction

MM: UL runs the risk of looking ahead here with Ole Miss and Boise State on the horizon, but Hud knows how to get his team's attention. The spread is moving around a bit, but UL is still a double digit favorite. I think growing pains and a tough Tech team will keep that a little closer, but not much. Cajuns 34 Bulldogs 24
JJ: With in state bragging rights on the line, this game is important for both teams. Six months ago I thought this game would be a double digit loss. Tech seems to be improved and they have the talent to pull off the win. However, the Bulldogs still have work to do and may be a week away from putting it all together. Cajuns 27, Bulldogs 24.