When No. 21 Texas faces No. 23 Louisiana on Saturday, it should mark the beginning of the Steve Sarkisian period for the Longhorns. However the Ragin’ Cajuns may current a tough nonconference sport as they return to Darrell Ok. Royal Memorial Stadium for the primary time in 16 years.
The story of this sport between the Longhorns and Ragin’ Cajuns rests on each sidelines with the 2 head coaches. Sarkisian takes the reins as a coach for the primary time since he was let go at USC in 2015. On the opposite aspect, Louisiana coach Billy Napier is among the hottest younger teaching prospects within the career and has been related to previous vacancies at Auburn, Mississippi State and several other different SEC faculties. That speaks to what Napier has constructed at Louisiana.
In some ways, it is a season of expectations for each faculties. Louisiana is recent off its first AP Prime 25 end in program historical past and is ranked for the primary time getting into a season. After three straight top-25 finishes, convention and New 12 months’s Six rivalry is the bar for Texas. Choosing up an early win vs. a ranked opponent is crucial to tug in nationwide consideration.
Texas gained each earlier matchups towards the Ragin’ Cajuns, together with a 60-3 win to open its 2005 nationwide championship season.
Texas vs. Louisiana: Have to know
Sark’s debut: After an extended offseason, Sarkisian is about to teach his first sport on the 40 Acres. Sarkisian got here to Texas after coordinating Alabama’s explosive offense to an ideal season and nationwide championship in 2020. Nonetheless, Texas presents a special problem. The Longhorns fired head coach Tom Herman after a 7-3 season, together with a win over Colorado within the Alamo Bowl. That wasn’t ok. All eyes might be on Sarkisian as he tries to get the Longhorns again to a championship stage earlier than Texas strikes to the SEC.
Rising star: There won’t be a warmer teaching candidate in college football than Napier. The 42-year-old has expertise teaching underneath Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban on his resume and a 28-11 report during the last three seasons. For comparability, Mark Hudspeth led Louisiana to a 15-22 report within the three seasons earlier than Napier arrived. Napier has already turned down larger alternatives to maintain constructing the behemoth in Lafayette. Finally, the precise job will come alongside and launch him to superstardom.
The Bijan present: Texas working again Bijan Robinson went off over his final 4 video games in 2020, speeding for 522 yards and 4 touchdowns to shut the yr. Towards Kansas State and Colorado, Robinson cleared 18 yards per carry because of plenty of breakaway runs. Louisiana’s run protection was pedestrian in 2020, so Robinson will current a novel problem.
Large killer: A lot of the Energy 5 didn’t play any nonconference video games final yr, however Louisiana obtained a kind of unique spots towards eventual Fiesta Bowl champion Iowa State, crushing them 31-14. Whereas ULL was aided by three Cyclone turnovers, their protection additionally allowed simply 4.3 yards per play. Whereas Texas is a extra proficient workforce than even Iowa State on paper, there isn’t any motive to assume Louisiana will crumble resulting from expertise deficit alone.
Insane expertise hole: The Ragin’ Cajuns rank No. 1 nationally in returning manufacturing in accordance with ESPN’s adjusted returning production metric. That features 10 starters on each side of the ball, with veteran quarterback Levi Lewis amongst them. Texas, then again, ranks No. 95 by the identical metric and has to switch a star quarterback, left deal with, edge rusher and free security. If there is a sport to get Texas, the opener is an effective place to start out.
Easy methods to watch Texas vs. Louisiana dwell
Date: Saturday, Sept. 4 | Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Darrell Ok. Royal Memorial Stadium — Austin, Texas
TV: Fox | Reside stream: fuboTV (Attempt free of charge)
Texas vs. Louisiana prediction, picks
There is not any query: Texas is the extra proficient workforce, maybe essentially the most proficient workforce Louisiana has performed in a number of years. Sure, Texas is breaking in plenty of unproven underclassmen, however after all of the upset alert speak this offseason, it is unlikely the Horns will overlook this crucial dwelling opener. Nonetheless, Louisiana’s protection retains this shut down the stretch. Prediction: Louisiana (+9)
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