Alabama Crimson Tide: Know Your Foe – Louisiana-Lafayette Edition

The Alabama Crimson Tide faced off in their second SEC matchup in as many weeks against the Texas A&M Aggies. This was the 11th meeting between these two programs, and Alabama had won eight of those meetings coming into Saturday. The last time the Aggies beat the Tide was in 2012. They will have to wait until 2019 when Alabama visits College Station, Texas to try to get their third win against Bama because the Tide rolled again 45-23.

The Alabama offense put up their usual numbers, but we unable to score at least 50 points for the first time in 2018. With 524 yards of total offense, the Tide was able to dominate the Aggies from the opening kick. This week will be a good week for head coach Nick Saban to rest some of his starters and work on some basics as the Tide will face the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.

LA-Lafayette is no stranger to providing an upset. In 1996, they were able to knock off the 25th ranked Aggies of Texas A&M. Being the number one team in the nation means that everyone is out to get you, week in and week out. For more on the Ragin’ Cajuns, it’s time to Know Your Foe.

Know Your Foe – LA-Lafayette Edition

The Ragin’ Cajuns from Lafayette, Louisiana head to Tuscaloosa, Alabama this Saturday for their ninth meeting. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since 1990 in a contest that Alabama won 25-6. In fact, Alabama has won all eight of the previous meetings with three of those being shutouts. The closest that the Ragin’ Cajuns have come to pulling the upset was in 1989 in Tuscaloosa when Alabama won 24-17.

This season, the Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-2. They opened the 2018 season with a win over the Grambling State Tigers. They dominated the Tigers and won 49-17. In week two, they faced off against the Bulldogs of Mississippi State. LA-Lafayette was not able to get anything going and lost 56-10. This past Saturday, they opened Sunbelt Conference play against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Ragin’ Cajuns were handed their second loss in a close one, 30-28.

Ragin’ Offense

The LA-Lafayette offense has been good this season. Not great, but good. Scoring 29 points per game and averaging just over 415 yards per game has them sitting high among their Sunbelt Conference opponents. Here is a look at the offensive leaders for the Ragin’ Cajuns:

Quarterback

  • Andre Nunez – Senior – 6’3”, 205 pounds – 47 of 65 passing for a 72.3% completion rate. He has thrown for 541 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. He has also accounted for one rushing touchdown.

Running Backs

  • Trey Ragas – Sophomore – 5’11”, 227 pounds – 294 yards on 35 carries with two touchdowns.
  • Raymond Calais – Junior – 5’ 9”, 180 pounds – 181 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns.

Receivers

  • Ryheem Malone – Senior – 5’9”, 187 pounds – 13 receptions for 122 yards, but no touchdowns.
  • Keenan Barnes – Senior – 6’3”, 208 pounds – 10 receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown.
  • Ja’Marcus Bradley – Junior – 6’1”, 195 pounds – Nine receptions for 125 yards and three touchdowns.

Tight End

  • Matt Barnes – Senior – 6’3”, 255 pounds – Five receptions for 50 yards and one touchdown.

Cajun Defense

The defense has worked hard but has come up short in two of their three games this season. Thus far they have given up 34 points per game and 470 yards per game. Here are the defensive leaders for the team:

  • Terik Miller – Junior – Defensive Back – 6’, 215 pounds – 14 tackles
  • Jacques Boudreaux – Junior – Linebacker – 6’1”, 228 pounds – 17 tackles and one sack
  • Bennie Higgins – Junior – Defensive End – 6’, 266 pounds – 11 tackles and two sacks
  • Chauncey Manac – Sophomore – Linebacker – 6’3”, 252 pounds – Nine tackles and one sack
  • Chaiziere Malbrue – Senior – Linebacker – 6’2”, 213 pounds – Five tackles and two sacks
  • Eric Garror – Freshman – Defensive Back – 5’9”, 180 pounds – Six tackles, one sack and one interception

Another Saban Protege

Bill Napier, a Furman graduate, became the head coach at LA-Lafayette on December 15, 2017. Napier is another head coach that has been one of Nick Saban’s assistants, serving four seasons as the receivers’ coach for the Tide from 2013-2016. He also served as the Tide’s offensive analyst in 2011. Aside from being an assistant, he was a graduate assistant at Clemson from 2003 to 2004 and the quarterbacks’ coach at South Carolina State in 2005. From 2006 to 2010 he returned to Clemson as the tight ends/receivers’ coach for his first three seasons. He then served as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks’ coach during his last two seasons there. In 2012 Napier was the assistant head coach/quarterbacks’ coach at Colorado State. In 2017 he joined former NFL coach, Herm Edwards, at Arizona State as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks’ coach.

Coach Napier has been around some great programs and it is easy to understand why LA-Lafayette wanted him to take charge of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ program. He has been very successful in his time with other programs and has two national championship rings from his time at Alabama. During his time at Clemson, his offense held the previous record for the most points scored in a season with 436. All of that is in the past now though. With a 1-2 start as head coach, he needs to get his team on the right track to turn the program around.

Wrap-Up and Prediction

Alabama head coach Nick Saban had plenty to say after the Tides win over the Aggies this past Saturday, but it was all pointed at the defense for allowing 23 points. He is having a hard time finding any issues with his offense right now as they are firing on all cylinders. Coach Bill Napier has his work cut out for him getting the Ragin’ Cajuns program headed back in the right direction, but this week will definitely serve as a big setback as they face the number one team in the nation. Look for Alabama to get back over the 50-point mark and roll to another convincing win. Prediction: Tide wins big 52-6.

Main Photo Credit:

File Photo: Hale Hentges #84 of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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