ACA.ulfootballpractice26.adv

UL quarterback Levi Lewis (1) is beginning his third season as the Cajuns' starting quarterback.

INSIDE THE GAME

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Cajuns are hoping to capture the program’s third win over a ranked opponent since 1985, strengthening their case as the preseason No. 23 ranked team. Texas is hoping for its 19th win in a season opener in the last 22 years and the first in new head coach Steve Sarkisian’s era in Austin.

KEY MATCHUP

UL defensive front vs. Texas running game – The biggest advantage on paper Texas possesses is its electric running game. It’s going to be critical for the Cajuns’ defense to keep Texas from having a huge rushing day, putting more pressure on a freshman quarterback to produce against UL’s seasoned secondary.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cajuns: UL quarterback Levi Lewis threw for 2,274 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. He needs 2,931 passing yards this season to become UL’s all-time leading passer.

Texas: Sophomore running back Bijan Robinson rushed for 703 yards and four TDs on just 86 carries in nine games last season, which is 8.2 yards a carry.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Cajuns are 0-2 all-time against Texas and have been outscored 112-13 … Four of UL’s offensive linemen have started at least 24 games … UL’s 16 interceptions last season were the most since 2009 … The Cajuns are 11-1 on the road over the last two season, including a seven-game winning streak … The Cajuns were 6-1 in one-score games last season … UL is 15-1 in games which Levi Lewis … UL’s offense has thrown at least one TD pass in at least 18 games … Lewis is 22-6 as a starting quarterback for the Cajuns … UL is 2-29 against ranked opponents since 1985 … Texas RB Bijan Robinson had a team-high 14 explosive plays over 20-plus yards … Robinson’s 183 yards in the bowl game last season was the highest total by any freshman back in school history … Texas has five Louisiana natives on the roster – Darion Dunn of Oakdale, Myron Warren of Many, Christian Rizzi of Country Day, Casey Cain of Warren Easton and Barryn Sorrel of Holy Cross … Texas averaged 42.7 points a game last season, which is the second highest total in program history … The Longhorns have made four straight bowls for the first time since 2011-14 … Texas is 133-155-8 all-time against ranked opponents.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

11 – Number of TD passes Levi Lewis needs to break Jake Delhomme’s school record for career TD passes.

21 – Only Alabama, Clemson and Appalachian State have more than UL’s 21 wins over the past two seasons.

62 – Number of plays over 20 yards the Texas offense posted last season.

FOUR DOWNS

1 – Turnover margin

Both UL and Texas finished among the nation’s top five programs in turnover margin a year ago with a plus-10 for both.

2 – Fumble free

Texas only lost an all-time program best four fumbles last season, while the Cajuns only lost six fumbles.

3 – Defensive seasoning

While the Cajuns only lost one starter off last year’s 10-1 squad, four of the Longhorns’ top five tacklers from a year ago are gone.

4 – Kickoff returns supreme

UL’s Chris Smith ranked fourth nationally in kickoff return yards, while Texas was first in the Big 12 and sixth nationally in kickoff return average.

SCHEDULES

TEXAS (0-0)

Sept. 4 Louisiana, 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 11 At Arkansas, 6 p.m.

Sept. 18 Rice, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 Texas Tech, TBA

Oct. 2 at TCU, TBA

Oct. 9 Oklahoma (Dallas), TBA

Oct. 16 Oklahoma State, TBA

Oct. 30 At Baylor, TBA

Nov. 6 At Iowa State, TBA

Nov. 13 Kansas, TBA

Nov. 20 At West Virginia, TBA

Nov. 26 Kansas State, 11 a.m.

UL (0-0)

Sept. 4 At Texas, 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 11 Nicholls, 6 p.m.

Sept. 16 Ohio, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 At Georgia Southern, 5 p.m.

Oct. 2 At South Alabama, TBA

Oct. 12 Appalachian State, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 At Arkansas State, 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 30 Texas State, TBA

Nov. 4 Georgia State, 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 13 At Troy, TBA

Nov. 20 At Liberty, TBA

Nov. 27 ULM, TBA

THE ADVOCATE SAYS …

UL 31, Texas 28

This game is difficult to handicap. On paper, the Cajuns have fewer questions on their depth chart, while Texas is breaking in a new coaching staff and quarterback. The Cajuns played great defense in beating Iowa State 31-14 on the road last season. The big difference is there weren't 100,000 fans in Ames that day. Offensively, the Cajuns should be improved this season after struggling all season last fall with a young receiving corps and new-look line. Both teams were among the nation’s best in turnover margin last year. If that stays the same, it should be a nail-biter.


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.