2012 Football Season 9-4 (6-2)
In 2012, the Ragin' Cajuns matched their 2011 season with 9 wins. 9 wins is huge for a football program that has posted an average of 4.6 wins per season including the back to back 9 win seasons in 2011 and 2012.
It had been nearly 20 years since the Cajuns posted back to back winning seasons, and ULL has still had issues breaking through against teams from traditional BCS conferences. In fact, the Cajuns have only won 3 games against the traditional powers (1929 - Miami (Fl), 1996 - Texas A&M, 2009 - Kansas St.)
ULL suffered losses against both BCS teams they played in 2012. Oklahoma State had no trouble putting up about a million points in a blowout win, but the Florida Gators struggled hosting the Cajuns in "The Swamp", but that may be due to the fact that Cajun Field was known as "The Swamp" about 3 years prior to Steve Spurrier nicknaming Ben Hill Griffin. The Cajun defense smothered the Gators and even returned a punt for a touchdown which helped them to lead the game until the last 2 minutes. The Gators won in dramatic fashion after a Jacoby Brisset passing touchdown and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown in the closing minutes.
The conference losses came in a bizarre loss to North Texas and a blowout loss to Arkansas State in the de facto Sun Belt Championship. Nearly a third of all ULL turnovers came in those two losses. The Ragin' Cajuns lost 2 turnovers and 5 turnovers to the Mean Green and Red Wolves respectively.
Some outlets have ULL projected to go 11-1, and their one loss is expected to be against Kansas State, not the Hogs. Either way, the Cajuns have big sights for the 2013 season, and are expecting to come in to Fayetteville and leave with a win and break through against the BCS. Their toughest challenges come in road games against Arkansas, Kansas State, Western Kentucky, and Arkansas State. If they can persevere through these games they could end up 12-0 and make some noise in the BCS.
In the big picture, you can't call the 2012 Ragin' Cajuns an "elite" offensive team, but they were the 6th best mid major team in 2012 and ranked 24th best overall in scoring despite ranking below average in pace.
Junior QB Terrance Broadway is coming off a successful sophomore year where he threw for 2,842 passing yards and 769 rushing yards. He threw for 17 touchdowns and rushed for another 9 while achieving a passer rating of 119 or better in every game except for the Oklahoma State game. If you think Kolton Browning was scary, Terrance Broadway could cause Hog fans more nightmares than Liz Honey's singing.
The rushing game was led by three different backs that are returning to the field in 2013, but it is definitely led by 6' 1" 216 lb Alonzo Harris, who has SEC size and can cause a lot of havoc when he gets to the 2nd level. Don't sleep on freshman Elijah McGuire who has a 3 star rating. Mark Hudspeth is not afraid to put the ball in the hands of multiple athletes.
The offensive line lost two starters, but still returns a strong core. Luckily for the Hogs, the offensive line doesn't have too many 300 pounders, so the Hogs should have a definite advantage in the trenches.
Last year's Arkansas team would've LOVED to play against the Cajuns who managed only 2.5 sacks all year. The Oklahoma State game wasn't really an aberration, the Cajun defense wasn't very good. They ranked 87th in yards allowed and 63rd in points against, even with the slower pace on the offensive side of the ball.
Overall there are a lot of questions on defense. The linebacking corp returns some of the known quantities and could have some more stability this season if they can avoid injuries. The secondary has been completely overhauled, but has brought in some junior college players and transfers which should expect to contribute immediately.
Last season the Cajuns didn't bring any kickoffs or punts back for touchdowns, but were very effective in the long kicking game.
Brett Baer will no longer be the kicker though, and Mark Hudspeth used 2 scholarships on kickers and expects to be relying on a strong kicking game again this season. So the strength of their kicking game is somewhat of a mystery at this point.
Fans and Traditions
Arkansas and Lousiana Lafayette both wear red right? Wrong. Of course, Arkansas wears Cardinal and white, and ULL fans wear Vermilion, which the fans wear every Friday before game day.
The ULL Mascot is Cayenne, the Pepper. I guess that's pretty hot. If they wanted to be more like the Hogs they'd need two kid peppers names "Jalapeno" and "Serrano" plus a blowup "Habanero".
If you run in to a Ragin' Cajun fan on game day, they will probably be wearing a Jake Delhomme jersey and you may be lucky enough to be offered some jambalaya or boudin. These are foods. Accept if offered, they are probably delicious.