football run

Senior Raymond Calais (4) breaks a tackle during the Mississippi State game on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.

Over the last few seasons, the Ragin’ Cajun football program appeared to be in an incredible amount of distress due to their losing woes under coach Mark Hudspeth.

Fast forward to the 2019-2020 season under head coach Billy Napier, the Ragin’ Cajuns football program has virtually done a complete 360 in only two full seasons.

It is important to note the resume of Coach Napier — who has been on the coaching staff of national champions Clemson and Alabama.

With Napier in the driver’s seat, the program has seen recruiting flourish, back-to-back bowl bids and the university’s first 10-plus win season.

After three straight losing seasons, the addition of Billy Napier changed the entire culture of Louisiana football.

This season, the Ragin’ Cajuns had their greatest season to date, accounting for 11 wins and an incredible bowl win over Miami (Ohio).

Opening the 2019-2020 season in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, the atmosphere was electric as the Ragin’ Cajuns battled the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In a hard-fought 38-28 loss, fans knew immediately the Ragin’ Cajuns were due for a historic season after giving an SEC powerhouse a run for their money.

Following the season-opening loss, Louisiana went on to lose only one regular-season game all season — coming against Sun Belt rival, Appalachian State.

Quarterback Levi Lewis led the team through the air with an efficient 65% completion percentage along with 26 touchdowns. Not to mention his ability to escape the pocket and gain yards rushing — Lewis also produced 3 rushing touchdowns.

Ja’Marcus Bradley, Lewis’ go-to guy and leading receiver on the Louisiana squad, finished the season with 60 receptions, 10 touchdowns and 900 yards receiving. One of the most efficient receivers in the conference, Bradley ended his senior season the right way, being second in the Sun Belt in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns.

Through the run game, the Ragin’ Cajuns flourished with a balanced attack of three running backs all season — each eclipsing 800-plus yards. Go-to running back Elijah Mitchell finished the season with 1,000-plus yards rushing and an incredible 16 touchdowns.

Redshirt junior Trey Ragas was second in rushing touchdowns with a whopping 11 touchdowns in 13 games played.

Defensively, the Ragin’ Cajuns held opponents to an average of 19 points per game while the offense averaged a whopping 38 points per game, tying Appalachian State for the most points per game in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Ragin’ Cajuns scored a total of 42 touchdowns in the 2019-2020 season while holding opponents to only 21 touchdowns. The defense held their own and, in turn, it made the offense’s job much simpler.

At the linebacker position, Louisiana was led by star senior Jacques Boudreaux, who finished the season with a team-high 102 tackles. An underrated prospect, Boudreaux has the size, strength and composure to play at the next level. He also served as Team Captain in his junior and senior season.

Accounting for a majority of the team’s sacks, Joe Dillon wreaked havoc at the linebacker position giving offenses trouble all season. Dillon also led the team in tackles for loss with 10 on the year. We will be seeing Joe have a mesmerizing senior campaign next season in 2020-2021.

The balance of star-studded talent on both the offensive and defensive end of the field left the Ragin’ Cajuns in a good position not only on the field but off the field as well.

On the recruiting trail, head coach Billy Napier got the job done as he led the Ragin’ Cajuns to the number one recruiting class in the entire Sun Belt.

The Cajuns are nowhere near their peak as Napier is instilling a winning tradition in the bayou state.

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