Three Reasons Why the Cajuns Will Win the Independence Bowl
Bowl season is well underway and the Ragin Cajuns will take on Houston in the Independence Bowl. The Cajuns will come into the Friday matchup with a 6-6 record and the Cougars come will come in with a 7-5. This is a matchup of polar opposites in terms of style and strength. Houston is known for its potent big-play passing attack while UL has boasted their stout defense as their biggest strength this year. This will be the Cajuns' toughest matchup that they have played all year, here are the keys to a Cajun victory.
Run The Ball to Limit Houston's Possessions
The cougars are averaging 37.2 points per game so it is crucial that the Cajuns limit the number of opportunities they get. The Cajuns have been fantastic in the run game in the second half of the season. The Cajuns are averaging 142.8 yards rushing per game which is key when comes to controlling the time of possession in a game. With that being said, the Cajuns haven't been dominant when it comes to time of possession this season with Louisiana averaging about 29 minutes in time of possession a game. The Cougars are not the best defense the Cajuns have faced all season as they are giving up around 33 points per game and they allow 144 rushing yards per game. The passing game is where The cougars particularly struggle as they give up 285 yards passing per game. I'm throwing out all of these defensive stats to say that a high octane offense's biggest weakness is an opposing offense sustaining drives and limiting the number of possessions that they can get.
Create Take Aways
This is an area the Cajuns' defense has excelled in all season long. The Cajuns have ranked in the top 50 for total defense for the majority of the season and they ranked in the top ten in terms of takeaways. The Cajuns have recorded 15 interceptions and have forced 9 fumbles, recovering 8 of them. The Houston offense has ten interceptions on the year along 4 fumbles lost. This is not a team that turns the ball over a ton but the Louisiana defense has been very opportunistic when comes to taking the ball away. Again, this all goes back to limiting the Cougars' offense to their opportunities. If you win the time of possession battle and pair that with winning the turnover battle, you will make it very tough for an offense to score 33 points.
Attack the Cougars' Secondary
We mentioned earlier that this is a Cougar defense that is not the best the Cajuns have seen. Specifically, the Cougars seem to struggle in the secondary as they are giving up 285 yards passing per game. Now the Cajuns are not particularly strong in the passing game, but it's not because they can't. The Cajuns keep a very balanced attack as they love to mix in the run and pass. Louisiana is averaging around 225 passing yards a game which is around average in college football. The Cajuns will be without some usual suspects at wideout as Michael Jefferson and Dontae Flemming have chosen to opt-out of the bowl to pursue different paths. The Cajuns still have great options with Peter Leblanc, Jacob Bernard, and Errol Rogers. Chandler Fields is going to have to hit these three guys early and often in order to keep the Cougar defense on their heels.
The Cajuns will take on the Cougars in the Independence Bowl on December 23, with kickoff set for 2 PM in Shreveport. You can tune into 103.3 The GOAT to listen to the game with pregame starting at 12 PM.