The Cajuns get back to play this week, after an open week against North Texas at Cajun Field today. North Texas opens SBC play for the Cajuns and presents the opportunity for Louisiana to win the first of three winnable contests over the next few weeks. While the weather is expected to have some impact on the game, the Mean Green offense with provide a few challenges for the Cajuns defense as well today.
A win for the Cajuns would mean….
Louisiana is coming off a 0-2 record over the past few weeks after facing BCS programs Nebraska and LSU on the road. The Cajuns can began the SBC stretch in the schedule with a win and then face Western Kentucky and FAU in what could be called the weakest part of conference schedule. This is a game the Cajuns need and should win in front of the home crowd with important pieces returning to play on the defensive side of the ball.
A win for North Texas would mean…
UNT is hoping to build on that confidence today and break through for its first Sun Belt win since a victory over Louisiana-Monroe in sixth game of the 2007 season. The Mean Green is riding a 12-game conference losing streak heading into its game against the Ragin' Cajuns. UNT's only win this season came against a 0-5 Ball State team in the season opener.
Keys to today's game….
The Cajun offense must get Chris Masson and the running game untracked early in the game. Masson will be asked to run the ball more today in the "Zone Read" which will open holes for Undrea Sails and Yobes Walker. If the running game can move the chains for the Cajuns, UNT will have to use their safeties to stop the run and that open the middle of the field for Green and Aubrey to work in the passing game. If the offense can convert on third downs and score from the redzone, the Cajuns will be successful on the offensive side of the ball.
The Cajun defense must contain UNT QB Riley Dodge and stop the running game. Dodge ranks second in the Sun Belt with an average of 262 yards of total offense a game and is prone to turnovers if you force him to throw from the pocket. He is much more effective outside the pocket when he has the option to pull the ball down and run. Running back Cam Montgomery has 244 rushing yards on the season and Lance Dunbar has been quite effective running the ball as well. The Mean Green offense is most effective when they spread you out and run the ball between the tackles. The Cajun defense cannot allow the UNT offense to get cranked up running and passing the ball; or the Mean Green offense will be hard to keep off the field.
The Cajuns are returning Blount, Rolle, Richard, Kelley and Brooks on defense this week, which will make special teams, play more important today. Special teams play was affected by injuries as much as the Cajun defense because most these athletes play both.
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