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From the Bird’s Nest: Cajuns “D” to Face Stern Test

Middle Tennnessee’s Blue Raiders host Louisiana this week in Sun Belt Conference game with implications for both teams.

Don’t make the mistake of looking at the records, or the statistics when trying to gauge the Blue Raiders.

They are 2-4.  They probably should be 5-1.

They had Purdue beaten and let the Boilermakers get away.  They couldn’t get over their mental block against Troy and lost by a field goal.  And, they frankly found a way to lose against Western Kentucky.

The Cajuns’ defense is going to get quite a test this week.  Middle Tennessee has moved the ball against just about everyone.  They lead the league in rushing, despite losing two running backs.  They lead the league in passing.  Their quarterback is tough to sack.  They’ve got veteran receivers and good team speed.

They are going to score some points.

The Cajuns will have to score some, too.  And, Louisiana is capable.  The matchup that favors the Cajuns is MT’s defense has the propensity to give up the big play.  And, the Cajuns have the propensity to hit the home run.  That’ll probably be one of the things to watch for in the game on Saturday evening.

The Cajuns defense has to be careful with the Raiders’ running game.  MT’s backs use a lot of cutbacks and that’s by design.  The Cajuns, who love to run en masse to the football, have to make sure they keep their assignments to prevent a cutback from turning into a big play.

Quarterback Logan Kilgore is turning into a very good one.  He has scrambling ability, though he doesn’t look to run a lot.  He’s been picked seven times, which isn’t terrible considering the Raiders are throwing it 40 times or more per game.

Middle still has plenty to play for.  With two losses, they’re probably out of the race for the league title.  But six wins or more is still a possibility for a team that’s been to a bowl game the last two seasons.  My guess is they’ll be ready.

But so will Louisiana, who experienced a loss for the first time in a month and a half last week.  My guess is, they didn’t like it much and will look to play better.

I think this one could go down to the end.

We have a tendency to remember the last thing we saw.  Last week I saw a Cajuns team that was totally incapable of running the football.  If that changes, win number seven could be in the offing.

But they have to show me they can do it.

Prediction:  MT -3

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