INSIDE THE GAME
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Cajuns are trying to get to 11 wins for the first time, as well as earn the program’s first bowl win since 2014 and the first bowl win outside of Louisiana in school history since the 1944 Oil Bowl in Houston. It would also be UL’s first win against Miami in three tries.
UL’s defensive front against Miami’s offensive line, which including the tight ends is likely the biggest front the Cajuns have faced this season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Cajuns: QB Levi Lewis has thrown for 2,804 yards with a school-record 24 touchdowns and only four interceptions while completing 63.4 percent of his passes. His top target is WR Ja’Marcus Bradley with 53 receptions for 818 yards and eight TDs.
Miami: DT Doug Costin is a first-team All-MAC performer with 56 tackles, 12 stops behind the line and 4 sacks, while LB Bart Baratti has 85 tackles with 11.5 stops behind the line and 3 sacks.
FACTS & FIGURES
Miami coach Chuck Martin won seven Division II national championships at Grand Valley State and has a career record of 104-51 … at Miami, he’s 30-44, winning only four of his first 30 MAC games, but has now won 23 of his last 31 … Miami’s program has the most all-time wins (698), MAC titles 16 and bowl wins (7) of any school in its league … Much like last year’s UL squad, Redhawks have 17 players sophomores or under on their two-deep depth chart … Redhawks have led in every game this season, even in their five losses: Iowa (7-3), Ohio State (5-0), Cincinnati (10-0), Western Michigan (6-0), Ball State (24-7) … Miami is 5-0 this season with two road wins and one neutral site win, compared to UL with six wins away from Cajun Field … Miami’s Maurice Thomas had a 97-yard kickoff return in the MAC title game and cornerback Travion Banks got his fifth interception of the season in that game … UL’s offense ranks 10th nationally in scoring (38.8) and fifth in rushing yards (3,449) … UL’s Raymond Calais is fourth nationally in kickoff returns (29.4) … Miami is 7-4 in bowl games, including 2-0 in Mobile … Miami’s program is 0-5 all-time in overtime games … UL kicker Stevie Artigue is one point away from tying Tyrell Fenroy’s 294 total career points for No. 2 on the all-time list behind Elijah McGuire’s 318 points.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
501 – UL’s offense ranks eighth nationally with 501.3 total yards a game, compared to 305.9 total yards a game for Miami.
139 – UL’s offense has posted 139 more first downs than Miami on the season – 333 for the Cajuns to only 194 for the Redhawks.
41 – The Cajuns have rushed for 41 touchdowns this season, which ranks them fourth nationally, compared to 20 rushing TDs for Miami.
1 – Masters of nailbiters
Miami may have been victims to three powerhouses in Iowa, Ohio State and Cincinnati this season, but the Redhawks are 5-0 in games decided by one score, including the 26-21 MAC title game win over Central Michigan.
2 – Special teams supreme
One area the Redhawks shine is in special teams. Kicker Sam Sloman is second nationally with 25 field goals, punt Kyle Kramer is 35th with at 43.2-yard average and return specialist Maurice Thomas is sixth in punt returns (12.6) and 30th in kickoff returns (22.9).
3 – Red zone efficiency
The Redhawks’ offense doesn’t possess flashy overall numbers, but they’re excellent in the red zone. Miami has been good on 37 of 42 red zone tries this season with 22 TDs, including all 33 in league play with 27 TDs. Last year, it was 42-of-43 in league play with 35 TDs.
4 – Cradle of Coaches
It’s what the program has been known for over the year and it continues to grow. The coaches associated with his program include: Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian, Bo Schembechler, Paul Brown, Walter Alston, Sean McVay and John Harbaugh.
MIAMI (8-5, 6-2)
Aug. 31 At Iowa L, 38-14
Sept. 7 Tennessee Tech W, 48-17
Sept. 14 At Cincinnati L, 35-13
Sept. 21 At Ohio State L, 76-5
Sept. 28 Buffalo W, 34-20
Oct. 12 At Western Michigan L, 38-16
Oct. 19 Northern Illinois, W 27-24
Oct. 26 At Kent State W, 23-16
Nov. 6 At Ohio W, 24-21
Nov. 13 Bowling Green W, 44-3
Nov. 20 Akron, W 20-17
Nov. 29 at Ball State L, 41-27
Dec. 7 Central Michigan W, 26-21
Jan. 6 Louisiana, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
UL (10-3, 7-1)
Aug. 31 Mississippi State 11 a.m. L, 38-28
Sept. 7 Liberty 6:30 p.m. W, 35-14
Sept. 14 Texas Southern W, 77-6
Sept. 21 At Ohio W, 45-25
Sept. 28 At Georgia Southern W, 37-24
Oct. 9 Appalachian State L, 17-7
Oct. 17 At Arkansas State W, 37-20
Nov. 2 Texas State W, 31-3
Nov. 7 At Coastal Carolina W, 48-7
Nov. 16 At South Alabama W, 37-27
Nov. 23 Troy W, 53-3
Nov. 30 UL Monroe W, 31-30
Dec. 7 At Appalachian State L, 45-38
Jan. 6 Miami (Ohio), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
THE ADVOCATE SAYS …
UL 34, Miami (Ohio) 20
For most of the season, the Cajuns have done what they were supposed to do, although the regular season finale was scary before pulling out a 31-30 win over ULM. With a month’s rest and seemingly good leadership, UL should be focused and hungry to avoid another 0-2 finish to a season. Miami is big and has done a great job in the red zone in MAC play, but the Cajuns’ speed and dominating rushing attack should be enough to claim that 11th victory of the season.