Can the Ragin' Cajuns win the Sun Belt? ULM's struggles this season, as well as the loss of quarterback Kolton Browning for the season, have opened the door for Louisiana-Lafayette, which was tabbed as a preseason Sun Belt favorite along with the Warhawks.
To realize the opportunity, the Ragin' Cajuns first have to navigate a tough couple of games, beginning with a road contest against Bobby Petrino's Western Kentucky team.
Petrino is known more for his ability to develop quarterbacks and passing games, but he inherited a fantastic running back in Antonio Andrews, who will be one of Louisiana-Lafayette's primary concerns. This is a matchup of the league's top two rushing attacks -- the Ragin' Cajuns are first with an average of 217.2 yards per game, and WKU is close behind at 214.3.
Rankings and records: Western Kentucky comes in 4-2 (1-1), while Louisana-Lafayette is 3-2 (1-0). Neither team is ranked. The Ragin' Cajuns are 4-2 against the Hilltoppers all-time.
Vegas: Western Kentucky opened as a 3.5-point favorite, and the over/under opened at 63.
Weather: A high of 75 is expected, and there is a 60 percent chance of rain.
Three names to know
Antonio Andrews -- Arguably the most dangerous weapon in the country, Andrews leads the Sun Belt in rushing by a wide margin with 882 yards, and he has nine rushing touchdowns as well. He has an impressive 7.1 per-carry average despite toting the ball 20.7 times per game. He is on pace to surpass the 1,733 rushing yards he piled up last season.
Terrance Broadway -- The second-year starting quarterback for the Ragin' Cajuns is averaging an impressive 8.8 yards per pass attempt, which ranks among the nation's top 20, and he is completing 65.6 percent of his throws. Broadway has 10 touchdown passes and four interceptions in 131 attempts.
Brandon Doughty -- Doughty is completing passes at a high rate in Bobby Petrino's offense -- his completion percentage is 67.2 -- but he's had trouble avoiding the ill-advised throw. He has 10 interceptions this season, and averages one pick for every 19 pass attempts or so. The good news is that he's been better of late: over his last three contests, he has two interceptions in 74 attempts.
Two things at stake
Western Kentucky is in a logjam at 1-1 in the conference standings, behind the undefeated likes of Arkansas State and the Cajuns. Needless to say, this contest is an important one for positioning within the Sun Belt, and a win would give WKU a head-to-head tiebreaker that could prove important down the road.
This is a pivotal stretch for Louisiana-Lafayette, which follows the trip to WKU with a road game at Arkansas State. A win over the Hilltoppers would provide a valuable dose of confidence for the team, and if the Cajuns managed to sweep this road trip, they could start to feel more confident about winning the league, though there would be plenty of work left to do.
How to witness
TV: ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET
Online streaming: WatchESPN