Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns (2-0, 1-0 ATS) at No. 9 LSU Tigers (0-1-1 ATS)
Death Valley Baton Rouge, L.A., Saturday September 19th 7:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Louisiana-Lafayette +27/LSU -27
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns have gotten off to their first 2-0 start in over a decade as they head into Death Valley this Saturday. The Ragin Cajuns will do battle with the No. 9 LSU Tigers in attempt to pull of an upset over one of the big contenders from the SEC. LSU was not very impressive on the road at Washington in their opener this year beating the winless Huskies from 2008 just 31-23. The Tigers were again not overpowering offensively against Vanderbilt last week, but still managed to pull out a convincing 23-9 victory on a rain soaked field. However, the Tigers could be holding their big breakout game on offense for thsi weekends game when they host the Ragin Cajuns.
The Ragin Cajuns are a solid Sun Belt Conference team, but to see how they hold up against one of the best of the SEC will be one difficult task. Luckily for Louisiana-Lafayette, they are a team with a pretty solid defense. If there is any way to beat the Tigers, it is to get pressure on the quarterback and keep the offense contained. The Ragin Cajuns secondary held team to around 200 yards per game last season. While not bad, they must play very well this Saturday to keep Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver under control. Linebacker Daylon McCoy is the heart and soul of the defense. McCoy tends to be all over the ball and is a playmaker on defense. Still, the entire unit will have to play much disciplined. If they can avoid the big plays, they may not allow near as many points as people may perceive.
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The Tigers will be led by QB Jordan Jefferson. Jefferson is a sophomore who was amongst the quarterback controversy that plagued the Tigers in 2008. However, Jefferson has shown that he can hold onto the ball and be effective as well. Jefferson is riding in off of a 20 for 29 passing performance for 138 yards last week against Vanderbilt. Tailbacks Keiland Williams and Charles Scott are two playmakers in the backfield. Scott had a big season last year rushing for over 1,200 yards, but has not had any big breakout plays so far in 2009. Williams has been the most affective Tiger on the ground this season carrying the ball 17 times for 7.2 yards a pop. If Scott is to continue to struggle, look for Williams to get more touches as the season progresses which could be bad news for defenses.
The real strength of the Tigers this season was supposed to reside on the defensive side of the ball. LSU ranked 32nd in overall defense last year and many SEC offenses feared the Tigers would be extremely stout on defense in 2009. However, the Tigers have yet to have any impressive defense shutouts. The Tigers held Vanderbilt to 210 total yards last weekend. However, considering the playing conditions and Commodores offense that is not necessarily great. The surprise of the season came when they gave up over 470 total yards to Washington which nearly led to the Tigers being upset by the Huskies. The Tigers secondary is among the best in the conference and sure to shutdown any passing game. They still have work to do up front, but the pass defense should keep them in most ball games.
The Ragin Cajuns offense must score points this Saturday night to thwart any type of surprise. Of course, that will be difficult for any offense in one of the loudest stadiums in college football. Still, QB Chris Masson must direct the offense effectively. Masson is a fairly sizeable quarterback, but has a quick step to avoid defenders. It is good to have a quarterback that can mobile when taking on an SEC defense. Masson on the season has thrown 38 completions out of 60 attempts for 468 yards and 3 scores. The wide receiving core has plenty of targets, but they are awaiting a star to breakout in the passing game. Running back Undrea Sails is a solid runner, but this is far from the premier Rajin Cajuns ground game that averaged 267 yards per game last year as the 7th best rushing offense in the country. However, the Rajin Cajuns will need to find some type of success on offense to stay in the game.
Jay’s Pick - Under 50.5