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at Louisiana 38 ... Nicholls State 21

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 17, 2011


Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Nicholls State at Louisiana


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 3 - Nicholls St at Louisiana

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Sept. 17 at Louisiana 38 ... Nicholls State 21
CFN Analysis: COMING

(AP) LAFAYETTE, La. -- A blocked field goal return for a touchdown and a 41-yard interception return for a TD helped propel Louisiana-Lafayette to a 38-21 victory over Nicholls State Saturday night. What began as a 14-14 first-quarter shootout changed midway through the second quarter, when Melvin White returned a blocked field goal 68 yards to give the Ragin' Cajuns (2-1) the lead for good, 21-14.

Early in the third quarter, Dwight Bentley intercepted a LaQuint Caston pass and raced 41 yards to score. Caston's two touchdown passes helped keep Nicholls State (1-2) in the game, drawing the Colonels within 28-21 late in the third quarter. He finished with 100 yards passing.

But Brett Baer's 49-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave Louisiana-Lafayette a 10-point cushion. Blaine Gautier, the backup quarterback, came off the bench and hit Javone Lawson for a 60-yard touchdown pass to clinch it.

Nicholls State (1-1) at Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1) Sept. 17, 7:00

Here’s The Deal … ULL will play its first home game in the Mark Hudspeth era when they welcome Nicholls St. to town Saturday night. The Ragin Cajuns enjoyed an outstanding road victory last week against Kent State, and the Colonels enter off a disappointing performance at Western Michigan. Both teams are 1-1 and looking to get on the right side of .500, and ULL really needs a nice win here to get ready for conference play which begins next week in Miami versus Florida International. This will be Nicholls last matchup of the year against an FBS team, and the Colonels will be looking to pull the upset and get revenge for the last meeting between these two back in 2001 when ULL beat the Colonels 20-0.

Why Nicholls State Might Win: While ULL had a nice road win last week, the Cajuns were only able to put up 20 points on a very suspect Kent State defense. Nicholls pass defense ranks 14th in the nation at the FCS level after two games, and the Colonels also have had outstanding special teams play so far ranking in the top 20 in punting and punt returns. If the Colonels can win the battle of field position, they may be able to use this advantage to force turnovers deep in Cajun territory, and if they can capitalize on these opportunities they just might be able to pull off the upset.

Why Louisiana-Lafayette Might Win: The Cajun defense completely shut down Kent State’s offense last week in an Alabama-esque performance. They only allowed the Golden Flash to gain 186 yards of total offense, and the Cajun defense forced four turnovers on the day. If the defense shows up to play like that again, this one could get very ugly. The Cajuns also should be getting back star TE Ladarius Green this week after he missed the Kent State game with a shoulder injury, and he will add an extra dimension to the offense that will allow the QB tandem of Blaine Gautier and Chris Masson to spread the ball around and expose holes in the Colonel defense.

What To Watch Out For: PK Brett Baer. The ULL kicker has started out this season with a perfect conversion rate on field goal and extra point attempts. He has made all four field goals and six extra points to lead the Sun Belt Conference in scoring after two weeks. If this game is close at the end, ULL has the advantage with confidence in Baer to be successful in a clutch game-changing situation.

What Will Happen: The talent of these two teams is closer than you may think, but the Cajuns will have the crowd behind them in their opening game at Cajun Field. The locals are excited about the new coaching staff, and Hudspeth will have his team clicking from the opening whistle. ULL will finally get their passing game going, and the ferocious defense will shut down anything the Colonels throw at them.

CFN Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 31 … Nicholls State 10
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