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at Louisiana-Lafayette 31 … Troy 17

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 8, 2011


Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Troy at Louisiana


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Troy at Louisiana-Lafayette

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Oct. 8 at Louisiana-Lafayette 31 … Troy 17
CFN Analysis: And now it’s time to really think about the Sun Belt title. With the two big boys – FIU and Troy – out of the way, and with a five-game winning streak, the Ragin’ Cajuns are rolling thanks to a terrific defensive front and an offense that’s doing just enough to get by. Chris Masson was terrific, completing 21-of-29 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, but this win was on the defense that kept the high-powered Trojans under wraps. Dwight Bentley was all over the place making 12 tackles with a sack, and Melvin White put the game away with his 89-yard pick six at the end of the first half, leading the way for a D that allowed just three first half points and kept Troy from blowing up late. There are problems, especially offensively with too many inconsistencies, but 3-0 in the Sun Belt is 3-0.

Where was the Troy attack in the first half? Louisiana-Lafayette has a good defense, but it’s not so strong that Corey Robinson shouldn’t have been able to crank out big numbers and a few scoring drives early on. He bombed away, throwing 53 times, but it was too little too late after getting down 31-10 late in the third. The interception thrown for a second quarter touchdown at the end of the first half ended the game, and Robinson never found his groove after it. There’s still time to turn things around, but the FIU and Arkansas State games are on the road and four of the final six games, after next week’s date against ULM, are on the road.

(AP) LAFAYETTE, La. -- Chris Masson threw for two touchdowns as Louisiana-Lafayette defeated Troy 31-17 on Saturday night.

Masson, who finished with 211 yards on 21-of-29 passing, threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Larry Pettis to give the Ragin' Cajuns (5-1, 3-0 Sun Belt Conference) a 7-0 lead. He connected with Javone Lawson from 26 yards out to extend Louisiana-Lafayette's lead to 14-3 midway through the second quarter. Lawson finished with eight catches for 131 yards.

Melvin White intercepted Chris Pickett's pass on the Trojans' next possession and ran it back for an 89-yard touchdown, giving Louisiana-Lafayette a commanding 24-3 lead at halftime.

Corey Robinson led the way for Troy (2-3, 1-1) completing 38 of 53 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns, but mental mistakes hurt the Trojans, who committed 11 penalties.

The win was Louisiana-Lafayette's third consecutive victory and snapped Troy's four-game winning streak against the Ragin' Cajuns.

Troy (2-2) at Louisiana-Lafayette (4-1) Oct. 8, 7:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … If Louisiana-Lafayette wants to really and truly prove that it’s the star of the Sun Belt, this is the game it has to have. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-0 in Sun Belt play, and while it struggled a bit too much against Florida Atlantic, it has the win at FIU under its belt to take the lead dog role in the conference chase. A win over Troy wouldn’t end it – ULL still conference road games in the final four – but it would make it close.

Troy used to play defense. There was a time when the Trojans dominated with a swarming D with a great pass rush and NFL prospects all over the place. That was a few years ago, and now the program is all about offense. It works. The star of the Sun Belt for the last few years, Troy has a win over Middle Tennessee, but it had a hard time against a bad UAB in a tougher-than-expect 24-23 non-conference win. With road trips to FIU and Arkansas State still to go, a loss this week at ULL would all but end the conference title hopes, but the Trojans always seem to come up with big wins just when it needs them the most.

Why Troy Might Win: The offense can bomb away at will. The attack isn’t getting much efficiency out of the passing game, but the raw yards are there putting up 332 yards per game while rolling for 373 yards and three scores against Arkansas, 347 yards and three touchdowns against Middle Tennessee, and 349 yards against UAB. ULL doesn’t have that kind of firepower. The Ragin’ Cajuns are putting points on the board, but it’s coming from a defense that’s making big plays at the right time and giving the offense short fields to work with. ULL is averaging 327 total yards per game. Troy is averaging 332 passing yards per game.

Why Louisiana-Lafayette Might Win: ULL needs takeaways to win, and Troy is all too happy to give them up. The Trojan offense has given away a pick in each of the first four games to go along with five fumbles. The Ragin’ Cajuns are doing a terrific job of taking the ball away with 12 so far thanks to a fearsome pass rush that’s destroying offensive lines. ULL sixth in the nation both in sacks and tackles for loss, and while the defense hasn’t been a rock, when a big play behind the line is needed, the line is coming up with it. That doesn’t mean the secondary is safe – it got lit up by Oklahoma State and gave up three touchdowns to Florida Atlantic – but the defensive front should be able to dial it up a few notches from time to time to make some big plays.

What To Watch Out For: All of a sudden, ULL JUCO transfer Harry Peoples has broken out. He didn’t do much over the first four games, catching eight passes for 75 yards, and then he was the passing game against FAU catching 12 passes for 176 yards and a score. The 5-10, 180-pounder is phenomenally quick, averaging19.7 yards per punt return and catching 35 passes for 380 yards and two scores for Holmes CC, and now he’s starting to look like the playmaker the passing game has been looking for.

Troy has an emerging receiving star of its own in sophomore Eric Thomas. He started out the year with four touchdown grabs in the first three games, but he was held without a score against UAB finishing with five catches for 57 yards. The 6-2, 186-pound speedster was a top recruit for the program, but he didn’t make a major impact in his first year. Now he’s the main man for the high-powered passing attack.

What Will Happen: Is this the biggest game in Louisiana-Lafayette history? It’s probably the most important game since it joined the Sun Belt. The defense is going to be ultra-aggressive and it’ll sell out to get into the backfield, but Troy’s offensive line is terrific and it’ll keep Corey Robinson upright just enough to riddle the mediocre Ragin’ Cajun secondary. ULL won’t be able to keep up the pace late and Troy will come up with yet another great conference win.

CFN Prediction: Troy 38 … Louisiana-Lafayette 31
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