Louisiana-Lafayette running back Chris Smith (21) runs the ball against Liberty during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)

Louisiana at Marshall on national television Wednesday night

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (2-3, 0-2 SBC) will face off against the Marshall Thundering Herd (3-2, 0-1 SBC) on Wednesday night at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia. ESPN2 will air the matchup with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

This is the first time both teams will meet as Sun Belt Conference opponents. Newcomer Marshall joined the SBC in July from Conference USA along with Southern Miss and Old Dominion.

The last time Herd and Louisiana met, the Ragin’ Cajuns took home a 36-21 win at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18. The game was Louisiana head coach Michael Desormeaux’s first match in charge of the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Desormeaux had been a co-defensive coordinator under Billy Napier before being named head coach on Dec. 5.

Louisiana hopes to bounce back

The Ragin’ Cajuns are on a three-game losing streak after a 2-0 start. The skid includes away losses at Rice and Louisiana-Monroe and a three-point home loss against Southern Alabama on Oct. 1.

ULL is having its worst start since 2018 when Napier debuted in Louisiana with a 7-7 record.

Under Desormeaux, the Ragin’ Cajuns have had an exceptional defense with 10 interceptions through the first five games. However, the team has also struggled with turnovers lately. ULL has had six costly turnovers in the last three games after not having one in the first two matchups.

The Ragin’ Cajuns will look to clean their offensive play and commit fewer errors to stay in the game. Quarterbacks Ben Wooldridge and Chandler Fields will have to continue leading the way with shared playing time. So far this season, the tandem has combined for 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Marshall continues its debut year

The Thundering Herd started its inaugural Sun Belt campaign with a 16-7 road loss against Troy on Sept. 24. During that game, Marshall struggled offensively, posting a poor 174 total yards with seven penalties.

Troy capitalized on a 10-point first quarter and a 321-yard performance from quarterback Gunnar Watson to take the win. After the loss, the Herd bounced back with a 28-7 win over Gardner-Webb on Oct. 1.

Marshall will hope to take down Louisiana after losing their first matchup. The Herd has already had impressive wins this season, including an upset of Notre Dame on Sept. 10. Marshall will have the home advantage, so fans could play a role in the team’s performance.

Players to Watch

Marshall’s senior running back Khalan Laborn is fourth in the nation with 731 rushing yards and is seventh in rushing touchdowns with eight. The Herd’s explosive plays, led by Laborn, rank second in the SBC with 224.4 rushing yards per game.

ULL wide receiver Michael Jefferson is the top offensive player with 280 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Jefferson also leads the Ragin’ Cajuns in receptions (20) and yards per reception (14).

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