Troy returns home to host the Ragin’ Cajuns

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

After a long stretch on the road, the Troy Trojans return home on Saturday to take on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on homecoming.

The Trojans (6-2, 4-0) finished a two-game road swing 1-1 after defeating South Alabama. They fell to Liberty 22-16 to start the road trip.

“It’s a huge confidence game for us against (Louisiana),” said head coach Neal Brown. “They’re probably, along with Georgia Southern, the hottest team in our league right now.”

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The Ragin’ Cajuns started the season 1-3, but have won three out of their last four to improve to 4-4 on the year and 2-2 in conference play.

“If you go back to the second half of the Alabama game moving forward up until this week, they have played at a high level. You can see their confidence rising.”

Their 2-2 conference mark is good enough for first place in the Sun Belt Conference Western Division.

The Cajuns enter the game on top of the conference offensively. They are averaging 34 points per game on 465 yards of offense. They are led by senior quarterback Andre Nunez. The senior has thrown for 1,483 yards this season and has 13 touchdowns.

“They’re really balanced with 230 yards passing and rushing,” Brown said. “They have three big time running backs, all of them a little bit different in their skill set and they use them wisely. I think their quarterback Nunez is playing at a high level, really efficient and you can see the improvement form a year ago.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Ragin’ Cajuns are allowing 36 points per game and 462 yards of offense.

“They are hard to prepare for,” Brown said. “They mix up their front and they blitz probably more than anybody that we have played in a while. They are really big up front and they play a lot of bodies. You can see them getting better and their confidence is getting better.”

Troy quarterback Sawyer Smith is aligned to make his third start of the season on Saturday.

In Troy’s win over South Alabama, the redshirt sophomore completed 9 of his 16 passes for 158 yards and had three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown.

“He made a big-time improvement,” Brown said. “I think it goes back to preparation. I think that he prepared like a starter this past week. His first career start didn’t go the way he wanted to and I thought he responded in the right way, very similar to the entire football team.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns lead the all-time series against Troy 11-8. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Stadium.