Location: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID
Date: Saturday, October 7th
Time: 4 PM CDT
Records: Louisiana-Lafayette 1-3 (0-1), Idaho 2-2 (1-0)
Betting Line: Idaho -6
All-Time Series: UL-Lafayette leads 3-2
Last Meeting: Idaho won 23-13 (November 5, 2016)
The Ragin’ Cajuns head to Moscow this Saturday for their second game against a Sun Belt opponent. The University of Idaho is in its final season as an FBS football team, and they are looking to garner some momentum as they head into the FCS arena. The Vandals will be a major player in the Big Sky Conference starting in 2018, but let’s see what they can do this week against a Ragin’ Cajun team trying to find stability on both sides of the ball.
When Louisiana-Lafayette Has the Ball
Expect Andre Nunez to get the nod over Jordan Davis at quarterback after the display that Nunez put on last week against ULM to force overtime. The junior college transfer wasn’t exactly on the radar as a potential starter coming into the season, but he can secure the spot this week if he can lead the Cajuns to a victory. Mark Hudspeth will need to give Nunez a chance to prove his worth to the team this week.
Nunez will get a lot of help from a stellar receiving core, arguably one of the best offensive position groups in the entire Sun Belt. It is absurd that the Cajuns are boasting five different wide receivers with the ability to take over in the passing game. Jarrod Jackson emerged as a favorite target of Nunez, catching seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown despite recording no stats in the first three games of the season. Jackson joins a group of game-breakers in Keenan Barnes, Ja’Marcus Bradley, Michael Jacquet, and Ryheem Malone.
A healthy passing game will only bolster the solid running game that the Cajuns have established this season thus far. Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell have proven to be valuable assets on the ground, and a successful outing by Nunez and his receiving core will only open up more running lanes. Idaho’s defense is sitting at a 52nd ranked 359.3 yards per game, providing ample opportunity for the Cajuns to take advantage both in the air and on the ground.
When Idaho Has the Ball
The Vandals have maxed out at 28 points in regulation while averaging 25.25 total points on the year. They will look to pad their scoring statistics this week against a Ragin’ Cajun team that has yet to give up less than 45 points to any opponent. The Cajuns have not been able to slow down any offense, giving Matt Linehan and company a great opportunity to develop some momentum as they head deeper into Sun Belt play.
Idaho will need to set the tone with the run game, getting the ball into the hands of Aaron Duckworth early and often. He should be able to run all over the Cajun defense, and there’s no reason for the Vandals to not use his abilities to open up the passing game.
Even if Duckworth doesn’t run free on the Cajuns, it should be enough to help Matt Linehan get into a rhythm in the passing game. He should not have much trouble finding success, and he needs to get off to a quick start in order to ensure that the high-scoring Cajun offense doesn’t outlast them. All signs from the performances by the Cajuns’ opponents this season point to big game potential for the Vandal offense.
The over/under for this game is set at 63 as of Friday, and it is hard to imagine the game not going over that total. Even if one of the defenses can step up and hold the other team in check, a little more than 30 points per team is a reasonable estimate.