Given the choice, UL-Lafayette defensive lineman Christian Ringo would much rather chase after a quarterback than a running back.
“Oh, pass all day,” Ringo said without hesitation when asked whether he’d prefer facing a pass-first or run-first team.
Unfortunately for Ringo, he doesn’t have a choice in the matter — especially not for next week’s contest against Texas State. For the first time all season, the Cajuns are preparing for a team that primarily relies on the run to move the ball.
The Bobcats enter the game ranked inside the top 20 nationally in rushing offense, rushing for 259.8 yards per contest. They tore Idaho asunder on the ground last week thanks to three monstrous plays — a pair of 70-yarders and a 95-yarder, all by senior running back Terrance Franks.
Franks teams with junior running back Robert Lowe and sophomore quarterback Tyler Jones to form a difficult puzzle for defensive coordinators to solve, especially because of the way Bobcats coach Dennis Franchione uses them.
“They’re very multiple on offense, whether it’s the zone-read option, a little bit of triple option,” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said. They run what we call a smoke draw, or what some people call the frog draw. That’s sort of his staple play that he’s sort of known for. Heck, he might’ve even invented the play. It’s a very tough play to defend.”
The Bobcats’ outstanding rushing numbers — 1,299 yards, 5.6 yards per carry average and 15 touchdowns — are a little inflated by huge games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Idaho. Those two games account for 59 percent of their rushing total and 67 percent of their rushing touchdowns.
In the Bobcats’ three other games, they’ve managed just 3.7 yards per carry.
“They’re going to run the ball,” Ringo said. “As long as we are doing what we are taught to do, we should be fine.”
The Sun Belt’s leading tackler prowls the field for the Bobcats.
Through five games, Texas State inside linebacker David Mayo already has 72 tackles to his credit.
“The guy is sideline-to-sideline, he’s physical, he plays with a tough mentality,” Hudspeth said. “But the guy is good dropping into coverage, too. I think he’s a complete player.”
The Cajuns are familiar with Mayo’s game. He racked up 13 tackles in last season’s meeting. The Cajuns know he’s good, but they aren’t treating him special in their game plan.
“You’re playing against a Division I college football team. There are going to be obstacles in your way trying to get to a touchdown,” senior right guard Daniel Quave said. “We want to approach him as equal to everybody else on their defense. They have 11 great guys on their defense. We’re just going to continue to do what we have to do.”
One player with a familiar name won’t be out there. Linebacker Mike Orakpo, the younger brother of Pro Bowler and former Texas All-American Brian Orakpo, tore his ACL and MCL in the Bobcats’ Sept. 13 loss to Navy, ending his season.
“Orakpo was one of the best players in the league,” Hudspeth said. “Obviously any time you lose that type of player, you miss him.”
Orakpo was a preseason first-team All Sun Belt Conference selection after he recorded 71 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2013. He registered one sack in last season’s game against the Cajuns.
“We went into the game knowing it was going to be blood, guts and all the good stuff. We never let off the gas pedal one time and we’re planning on doing the same this year.”
—Quave on last year’s game against Texas State, which the Cajuns won 48-24.
Broadway is 88 yards shy of tying Jerry Babb for second in school history for passing yards. ... The Cajuns will travel to San Marcos, Texas, for the first time in school history next week for the Texas State game. ... The Cajuns went 2-0 in Tuesday night games last season after going 0-2 the season before. The Bobcats have yet to play a Tuesday night game.