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The Battle on the Bayou

By Emory Hunt
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In this fierce rivalry, the Ragin Cajuns hold a slight 28-24 edge in the series.

There are countless amounts of great college football rivalries across the land. And when you talk about great rivalry games, you hear mostly the same few being mentioned like: Michigan-Ohio State, Auburn-Georgia, Minnesota-Wisconsin, Amherst-Williams, Grambling-Southern, Harvard-Yale. Even two non-active rivalries (I wish would return) Nebraska-Oklahoma and Texas-Texas A&M still get talked about. But way down south in the Pelican State, there’s a rivalry between two schools that dates back to 1951. It was such a time ago that they were called Northeast Louisiana State and Southwestern Louisiana back then. You now know both programs as the UL-Monroe Warhawks and Louisiana Ragin Cajuns, and they play for the Wooden Boot.

The game is called The Battle on the Bayou. And in this fierce rivalry, the Ragin Cajuns hold a slight 28-24 edge in the series. The Warhawks won the first meeting back in 1951 by the score of 13-7. A mark of any good rivalry is the back-and-forth nature of it.  This game is no different as it’s been a series of streaks for the most part. The Warhawks longest streak of excellence occurred from 1991 – 2007 where they won nine out of thirteen matchups. It’s been mostly Vermillion and White since then as the Ragin Cajuns have been on a 9-1 run, with UL-Monroe’s only victory coming in a 31-28 nail biter back in 2013.

As with any rivalry, the close ties between the players of both programs makes it more interesting. Both rosters are primarily composed of players from the state of Louisiana, and most of the guys on these rosters have played with, or against one another in high school. The Battle on the Bayou just doesn’t happen when football season is in, this stretches across all sports when these two meet up.

The 53rd Meeting

Both teams enter this ball game trying to get back on the winning track. The Warhawks are 0-2 on the year after dropping a tight one against Southern Miss last week, while the Cajuns are 1-2 on the season and lost to Texas A&M last week in College Station.  Where both squads have to see dramatic improvement is on the defensive side of the ball. The Ragin Cajuns have given up an average of 53 points per game. That’ll get you beat in basketball! The Warhawks have given up just over 600 yards rushing in two games and have struggled to get off the field on 3rd downs. So, the obvious key to the game will be which team will get off the mat defensively and play inspired ball.

Key Players to Watch

Louisiana: RB Trey Ragas (5’11 220, Freshman). They call him ‘Baby Bettis’ in Lafayette. Ragas looked impressive against A&M last weekend rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.6 yards per carry. With the Warhawks rush defense woes; expect to see him get fed by the Cajuns coaching staff.

UL-Monroe: LB Caleb Tucker (6’2 230, Senior). Tucker was a one-man wrecking crew last week vs Southern Miss filling up the stat sheet with 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss and a sack. He’s their defensive leader and he, along with that entire 2nd level of the Warhawks defense, will play a critical role if they are going to have success this weekend.


Look for a high scoring game, as both defenses will have pockets of both greatness and struggles. In games like this, you always want to side with the offense that you can trust and that favors the Ragin Cajuns.

Louisiana 30, UL-Monroe 27

Emory Hunt - Emory Hunt, "The Czar of the Playbook", is a former UL Ragin' Cajun running back nw covering the Sun Belt for Southern Pigskin. His other work can be found at Twitter: @FBallGameplan