KEYS TO THE GAME FOR UL :
-- Win the field position battle. Punter Brett Baer ranks 39th in the nation averaging 42.0 yards per punt. He has pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line 12 times. Baer has been very effect the past two weeks in forcing FIU and FAU to drive the ball long distances the past several weeks. The Cajuns need a repeat performance from Baer this weekend to win.
--- Win the turnover battle. The Cajun defense is ranked 24th in turnover margin per game and ranks 12th in the NCAA in turnovers. UL was fortunate to win last week against FAU, winning the turnover battle against Troy will be crucial in keeping the Trojans high octane offense off the field.
-- Run the ball effectively. The UL offense has improved its rushing attack in each game the past two weeks. The Cajuns averaging 136 yards per game, ranked 75th in the nation per game. The rushing game will need to continue to improve this week for the Cajuns to have a shot at beating Troy. Anything less then 150-yards plus this week will probably not be enough to keep the chains moving against the Trojan's defense.
--- Stop the Troy running game and pressure Robinson. While the Troy running game isn't much more product then UL's, 138.2-yards per game, its effective enough to keep your defense off balance and extend drives. Robinson is known to have happy feet if you can pressure him effectively. While the Cajuns don't need to sack numerous times, keeping pressure in his face and hitting him a number of times will do the job. This will be difficult because Troy's offensive line has played extremely well this season, allowing a Sun Belt Conference low 5 sacks.
THE CAJUN"S ON OFFENSE :
Since QB Blaine Gautier has been named starter for the season he has posted 307 yards of total offense, throwing for 221 yards and three touchdowns against FIU. And following that performance throwing for a career-high 329 yards and two touchdowns against FAU last weekend. UL will need another strong performance against Troy for the Cajuns to have a chance for a win.
Alonzo Harris and Qyen Griffen have formed and effective tandem for the UL offense thus for this season. Harris leads the Cajun offense in rushing, slashing defenses for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. Griffen has pounded his way to 172 yards and three touchdowns on the ground this season. Griffen and Harris have combined for 389 yards rushing and five touchdowns and are averaging 77.8 yards per game. The freshmen duo will need to produce again for the UL offense and get some assistance from Gautier and Aaron Spikes.
With the emergence of Javone Lawson, Daryl Surgent and Harry Peoples as playmakers in the UL passing game, preseason All-American Ladarius Green doesn't need to be to focal point of the passing game. But the Cajuns will need an active Green in the offensive game plan to open the field up for the rest of the receiving core. UL receivers have 16 catches of 20+ yards including six touchdowns.
THE CAJUN"S DEFENSE
It all starts up front for the UL defense; the Cajuns have recorded 17 sacks for 110 yards in losses. Derreck Dean leads all UL defensive linemen with 19 tackles, while Bernard Smith has 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks on the season. Smith is fifth in the SBC in sacks
per game (0.50). Smith had two quarterback hurries against Florida Atlantic. The defensive line will need a performance similar to the last two against FIU and FAU.
Against FAU, the defensive line had 16 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss (TFL), and two sacks. The Cajuns D-line posted 22 tackles. 3.5 TFL, a forced fumble and two sacks at FIU. Five different linemen recorded at least three tackles.
Lance Kelley is the leading tackler on the Cajuns defense and ranks fourth in the Sun Belt in total tackles (39). Kelley is second on the squad with 5.5 tackles-for-loss (TFL). He had eight tackles vs. FAU. Freshman Jake Molbert started his first game, finishing with 10 tackles against FAU including a TFL. He posted his first career sack at FIU.
The linebacker will have to tackle well in the open field and limit the Troy receivers and running backs from making big plays out of short passes and runs.
After and early test against Oklahoma State in the season opener, the Cajun secondary will face another stiff test in the Trojans spread offense. The UL pass defense is ranked 71st in the country, allowing 229 yards per game passing.
All four Cajuns starters in the secondary have scored a touchdown in 2011 after Melvin White's 68-yard return for touchdown on a Nicholls State blocked field goal.
Dwight Bentley leads the Sun Belt conference in interceptions (3) and forced fumbles (2). He also ranks third in the conference in pass break ups with two.
Louisiana will need to put together a complete game in all three phases of the team. Up until this point, the Cajuns have not been able to put together a complete game yet, where offense, defense and special team have all played well. It's amazing that the Cajuns are 4-1 at this point considering that fact. The Cajuns will need nothing short of all three phases clicking together to pull of the win against the Troy Trojans. It has happened yet this season, will Saturday's game against Troy be the game?
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