The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns will look to finish the month of September on a high note when they travel to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota on their Homecoming. This is only the fourth matchup in history between the Cajuns and the Gophers, all of them coming post-Y2K. Can Louisiana play spoil to the homecoming crowd at Huntington Bank Stadium?
Kickoff for this matchup between Louisiana (3-1) and Minnesota (2-2) will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday morning at Huntington Bank Stadium on the campus of Minnesota. Television will be through the Big Ten Network.
WILL DARIUS TAYLOR PLAY?
The true freshman has been an absolute phenom so far for the Golden Gophers. Through four games, he has 532 yards rushing, which is third nationally. However, he suffered an injury late in their loss to Northwestern last week. His status as of Friday afternoon is still up in the air, and I think the outlook of this matchup could change drastically if he doesn’t suit up for Minnesota.
Jordan Lawson has done an incredible job of making life rough for opposing offensive lines and he’ll have to do the same Saturday along with Kendre Gant and K.C. Ossai to limit the success of their ground game. Regardless of Taylor’s availability, the Gophers will have more size and speed than the Cajuns so it will be a task regardless, but Taylor sitting out gives Louisiana a more realistic chance at a victory.
LOUISIANA’s DEFENSIVE SUCCESS
The Louisiana defense has been a roller coaster ride at times, but the numbers speak for themselves. They come into this matchup with the most sacks in the country (18) while only giving up 130 yards rushing to their opponents. The secondary has had its fair share of struggles to start the season, but Minnesota’s passing game has struggled as well so that matchup could really be a wash. I’m looking to see if the Cajuns can put pressure on Kaliakmanis and stop the potent rushing attack if Taylor is able to suit up for PJ Fleck’s team.
A DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT
This is going to be a different environment than what the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns have experienced thus far. Minnesota can create a raucous atmosphere on any given Saturday, but the fact that its homecoming brings it to a whole different level. If Louisiana can get off to a fast start offensively and take the crowd out of it, it then becomes a regular football game. But if the Gophers faithful is rocking tomorrow morning, it can make what should be a regular football game a nightmare. Communication has to be key for the Cauns to have success against a Big 10 team.
SERIES RECORD: Minnesota leads 3-0
2001: Minnesota 44-14 Louisiana
2002: Minnesota 35-11 Louisiana
2003: Minnesota 48-14 Louisiana
Ben Wooldridge (out w/injury): 39-69, 508 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT
Jacob Kibodi: 33 carries, 311 yards, 3 TDs
Harvey Broussard: 12 receptions, 147 yards, 1 TD
K.C. Ossai: 28 tackles (15 solo), 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Kenneth Almendares: 5-for-5, Long of 46, 19-19 XP
Athan Kaliakmanis: 59-of-107, 599 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Darius Taylor (questionable w/ injury): 87 carries, 532 yards, 4 TD
Corey Crooms Jr: 16 receptions, 196 yards
Maverick Baranowski: 28 tackles (9 solo), 3 TFL, 1 sack
Dragan Kesich: 9-of-10, Long of 50, 8-8 XP