2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - Louisiana at Kent State
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Louisiana (0-1) at Kent State (0-1) Sept. 10, 7:00
Here's The Deal … It's not like Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Kent State is LSU vs. Ohio State, but it should be an extremely entertaining game with lots of big plays on both sides of the ball and lots of interesting swings. While neither program thinks in terms of bowl games, after each lost its paycheck game to start the season – ULL losing to Oklahoma State 61-34 and Kent State losing to Alabama 48-7 – this game could be an eliminator in the hunt for a 13th game. Neither one is good enough to win its respective conference, but each will be competitive and each should be in for decent seasons.
Kent State and its killer defense was able to come up with five takeaways against Alabama, and while the final score wasn't pretty, and the 24-0 halftime lead made it a blowout, the defense did a nice job against the Tide ground game and it got decent pressure into the backfield. With a trip to Kansas State up next, and three of the next four games on the road, the Golden Flashes can't blow the winnable game in Darrell Hazell's home opener.
The Ragin' Cajuns came up with a decent offensive performance in the shootout loss to Oklahoma State, and first year head man Mark Hudspeth has the attack looking strong going forward. All that matters is the Sun Belt season, and while beating Kent State is a must to reasonably shoot for a winning season, this game and next week's date with Nicholls State all lead up to the season-definer at Florida International to kick off conference play.
Why Louisiana Might Win: Does Kent State have any semblance of an offense? It's always hard to judge anyone who has to play Alabama, but the Golden Flash attack was spotty at best throughout last year, and it wasn't even close, even after the Tide called the dogs off, last week. The running game came up with -9 yards against the Bama brick wall, and while ULL doesn't have a rock of a run defense, it should be able to keep the KSU offense in check. The Golden Flashes don't have much in the way of firepower, while the Ragin' Cajuns can move the ball. ULL can come back on Kent State, but Kent State can't come back on ULL.
Why Kent State Might Win: The Golden Flash pass rush should rip into the Ragin' Cajun backfield. The ULL offensive line is a negative and needs time and work to turn things around, and if Kent State could generate pressure into the backfield against Alabama, it should be able to roll without a problem this week. KSU has the speed and quickness up front to camp out in the ULL backfield and get to the plays before they get started. Consider it a shock of the front four doesn't lead the way to at least four sacks and seven tackles for loss, and the team should be a +2 in turnover margin.
What To Watch Out For: The Ragin' Cajuns used two different quarterbacks against Oklahoma State, and they were both fine. Chris Masson completed 6-of-10 passes for 63 yards, and Blaine Gautier completed 13-of-26 passes for 106 yards with a pick, and ran for a score. The coaching staff will continue to play around with the combination, and several different players will get carries, but the one key target is star tight end Ladarius Green, who was held in check catching one pass for -1 yard last week. He ripped up the Sun Belt late last year with 100-yard days in each of the last three games, and he'll be heard from this week.
Kent State has to come up with some semblance of an offense, and that means Spencer Keith needs to start pushing the ball down the field. He threw the ball 47 times for a mere 99 yards with a touchdown and a pick, but he's not going against the Alabama secondary this week. The ground game tried to get Jacquise Terry going, but he only ran for 23 yards on ten carries. If these two struggle this week, it'll be time to panic.
What Will Happen: Kent State will dominate the Ragin' Cajun backfield with Roosevelt Nix generate two sacks and applying the pressure all game long. The Golden Flash offense won't exactly dominate, but it'll be just effective enough to come up with a nice first win for Hazell.
CFN Prediction: Kent State 27 … Louisiana 17
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Kent State -9 O/U: 51.5
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