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UL players sing their fight song after their loss to Mississippi State at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Saturday.

WHAT WE LEARNED

The team indeed looks to be improved in coach Billy Napier's second season. Sure, there were more than their fair share of mistakes, but the Cajuns displayed much more depth than a year ago. The defense kept the Cajuns in the game early on and the team played gutsy for four quarters. Last year, MSU's offense was 9-of-12 on third and fourth down conversions, and was limited to 5-of-11 Saturday. UL's rushing defense continued to be an issue, giving up 261 rushing yards to Mississippi State after giving up 219 a game last season.

TRENDING NOW

UL junior wide receiver Jamal Bell showed exactly what all the August camp talk has been around. Suffering a few wide receiver injuries durin ghte game, Napier leaned heavily on Bell in Saturday's loss. Bell caught eight passes for 113 yards to go along with Ja'Marcus Bradley's 93 yards on six receptions. In addition to catch the ball well, Bell showed his ability to run after the catch. He was slow to get up after one run out of bounds near the goalline, but he recovered quickly after  "falling on his knee wrong."

FINAL THOUGHTS

The bottom line is the Cajuns were a 19.5-point underdog on a neutral field against an SEC West team, committed five turnovers and lost by 10 points. The offense has got to get more efficient and settle into a better rotation with the three-headed monster at quarterback. Levi Lewis did have six carries in the loss. As the only QB with any Division I snaps on the team, it'll be interesting to see how often UL can take advantage of his rushing abilities. MSU punter Tucker Day's two punts to the 1 will be forgotten by many, but played a big role as well.

Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.