Back Ragin’ Cajuns on a Run

Ragin’ Cajuns on a Run

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Clearly, Louisiana's dynamic trio of Ragas, Mitchell and Calais is one of college football's best.

Ten Sun Belt running backs rushed for over 700 yards during the regular season; three of them play for Louisiana. That foundation leads the Ragin' Cajuns into the first-ever Sun Belt Championship Game. A rush offense that ranks 18th nationally with 230.17 yards per game and 10th with 5.77 yards per carry, serving as the starting point for an offense that stands 8th in redzone touchdown rate and 9th in third down conversions, has been the staple of Billy Napier's first year in Lafayette. Identity established, Louisiana is one win away from a title.

Sophomore Tray Ragas, sophomore Elijah Mitchell and junior Raymond Calais have all played at an all-conference level at times this season. Ragas is second in the league with a division-high 1,040 yards. Mitchell is is tied for the Sun Belt-lead in rushing touchdowns by a running back with 12, also slotting third in the conference in yards per attempt. The league-leader in yards per carry is Calais at 9.36, a number good for third nationally.

Overall, it's been a dominant, productive attack. For point of reference, Louisiana averages more rushing yards per game than Mississippi State, has a higher yard-per-carry average than Georgia Tech and has as many rushing touchdowns as Alabama. The Ragin' Cajuns have increased their weekly ground average by more than 46 yards from the year prior and more than 128 yards per game compared to the 2010 season. This is an offense adding to the standard set by the record-setting Elijah McGuire, now with the New York Jets.    

Clearly, Louisiana's dynamic trio of Ragas, Mitchell and Calais is one of college football's best. Together, they have the Ragin' Cajuns sprinting towards history.  

Throw in talented quarterbacks Andre Nunez, who has 19 touchdown passes, and Levi Wallace and a strong front five, ranking sixth in Group of Five football in standard down line yards, and Louisiana has its most productive offense since 2012. The red-hot Ragin' Cajuns enter the weekend on a three-game conference winning streak, having scored 36, 48 and 31 points in those three key outings. 

Physical and fundamentally-sound, Napier's Louisiana has proven to be a contending bunch. Ahead of Championship Saturday, the run continues.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports