Green Wave braces for Ragin’ Cajuns, tackles shortcomings


Junior running back Dontrell Hilliard celebrates after scoring a touchdown for the Green Wave. Tulane is currently 0-1 (AAC).

Aaron Wolf, Contributing Report

After a heartbreaking loss in its first conference battle against a still undefeated Navy team last week, the Green Wave (1-2, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) will turn its attention this week to its third non-conference opponent of the year, University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2-1, 1-0 Sun Belt Conference).

Louisiana-Lafayette, nicknamed the Ragin’ Cajuns, is coming off a win last week against its SBC opponents, University of South Alabama.

Mark Hudspeth, the Ragin’ Cajuns’ head coach, replaced his defensive coordinator three weeks ago — a decision that has paid off thus far.

The Ragin’ Cajuns has since shifted towards more four-man front looks defensively, which worked wonders against South Alabama, as Louisiana-Lafayette held its opponent to just 74 yards rushing. Fans will have to wait to see how the team’s new defensive approach will handle the Green Wave’s offense and Coach Willie Fritz’s new offensive scheme, which focuses on the use of a spread-option.

After giving freshman Johnathan Brantley his first start last week, Fritz has yet to make a formal announcement as to who will be the Green Wave’s starting quarterback against the Ragin’ Cajuns. While he did make some key plays, Brantley completed just three of his 12 pass attempts for 21 yards against Navy. Despite Brantley’s relatively dull performance, Fritz was quick to give his quarterback a vote of confidence.

“He made some mistakes, and understandably so with him being a freshman in his first start here at the Division I level,” Fritz said in a press conference. “He did some really nice things as well. He’s going to get better.”

Thus far, Tulane has relied heavily on experienced running backs junior Dontrell Hilliard and redshirt senior Josh Rounds, who have combined for 380 rushing yards this season.

Tulane impressively put up 240 total yards on the ground against Navy, averaging just over five yards per carry. However, Tulane could run into some issues relying solely on a strong rushing attack against the Ragin’ Cajuns with an enhanced rushing defense. As a result, redshirt sophomore Glen Cuielette may be used more frequently due to more experience on the field.

While oddsmakers favor Tulane, the Green Wave lost its last two matchups against the Ragin’ Cajuns including a 41-13 beatdown in 2012 at Cajun Field. Needless to say, both teams are excited about the matchup. The Cajuns look to build on their current success, while the Green Wave tries to make key improvements ahead of more conference play and avenge recent poor performances against their in-state rival.

The Wave will take on the Ragin’ Cajuns 7 p.m. Saturday at Yulman Stadium.


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