Ranked for the first time since 1943, it's a textbook trap-game for Louisiana who plays at Georgia State Saturday.
The Cajun fan base is still riding off the 31-14 win over Iowa State, the program's first win over a top-25 team since 1996. But it wasn't particularly pretty.
Louisiana relied on three big splash plays, a 95-yard kick return, an 83-yard punt return, and a 78-yard passing play to do most of the damage. In fact, that passing touchdown to Peter LeBlanc in the third quarter accounted for more than half of Levi Lewis's passing yards. The Cajuns' run game didn't fare great either, rushing for just 139 yards, the fewest in a win under Billy Napier.
The Cajuns shouldn't have felt great watching game tape and that should help prevent a mental lapse on the road where the team faces one of the Sun Belt's worst defenses a season ago.
Georgia State (0-0) allowed a conference worst 33 rushing touchdowns a season ago, while giving up more than 34-points-per-game.
"This Cajuns running game is going to get going, and I expect that to happen this week," said Cajuns' sideline reporter Cody Junot during our latest Mic'd Up game preview. "You look at the experience that's back there, and just the track record. Shane Vallot at Center, Cole Prudhomme, who didn't get many snaps back there last week he's going to work himself back in, Max Mitchell, O'Cyrus Torrence, that offensive line has players and we know about the Cajuns running game. And as Levi Lewis gets better and more comfortable it;s going to open up things in the rushing game."
The Panthers ranked in the top-15 in rushing last fall, but replace Tra Barnett who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last year. Starting quarterback Dan Ellington also graduated. The Panthers will go with red-shirt freshman Quad Brown. Th team does bring back two all-conference receivers from last year's 7-win team.
Louisiana's defense saw tougher competition at Iowa State and was the difference maker in the win. The Cajuns' defense smothered Brock Purdy, who some peg as a first round pick this spring, holding him under 150-passing yards. Purdy was sacked once and threw an interception.
"I think that defense is going to work in unison. They were able to get pressure on Brock Purdy a week ago, and there will be a few changes on that defensive line. But if you can get that working together, an area that has been a real question mark the past three seasons could be a real strength in that secondary," said Junot.
Louisiana will be without A.J. Washington, who had the interception on Purdy last week, but do get defensive linemen Z'Yion Hill back.
Nine Cajuns will be out due to COVID-19 policies.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. The game airs on ESPN2, or listen to the game on ESPN1420.
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