East Carolina vs. LA Lafayette: Defense Will Fail Pirates in New Orleans Bowl

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 22, 2012

Oct 4, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; East Carolina Pirates head coach Ruffin McNeill reacts during the second quarter against the UCF Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In a New Orleans Bowl that should feature plenty of points, expect East Carolina's defense to lead Louisiana-Lafayette's unit in pure putridity.

While the Ragin' Cajuns have allowed 27.6 points per game this season, the Pirates have ceded 30.7 points per contest, good for 86th in the country.

Not only has East Carolina allowed 7.4 yards per pass attempt (tied for 56th in the nation, via CFBStats.com), it has also given up 4.11 yards per carry (tied for 64th).

This is good for Louisiana-Lafayette as it has displayed a balanced offense this season.

Sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway has averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt, tied for eighth in the country, while tossing 16 touchdowns to eight interceptions.

The Ragin' Cajuns have also averaged 5.11 yards per carry (23rd in the FBS) while notching 29 rushing touchdowns, with Broadway (661 rushing yards, eight touchdowns) and sophomore running back Alonzo Harris (761 yards, eight touchdowns) leading the way.

Also, while Louisiana-Lafayette played well against SEC opponent Florida on Nov. 10, East Carolina was blasted by South Carolina on Sept. 8. Football Outsiders' F/+ efficiency ratings—which reward teams for playing well against quality opponents and punish them for playing poorly against weak opponents—ranked East Carolina 98th in the country, while tabbing the Ragin' Cajuns 64th.

That's not to say that the Pirates won't score on Louisiana-Lafayette. They rank 35th in the country in passing yards per game and the Ragin' Cajuns are among the worst teams in the country defending the pass.

I just think Louisiana-Lafayette will score more than East Carolina, based on a balanced offense that can hurt the Pirates in multiple ways.

You can't exactly say Louisiana-Lafayette will win this game based on its offense. However, you could say East Carolina will lose the New Orleans Bowl based on its defense.


What are your thoughts?

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