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USM looks for win outside of conference

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Oct. 31, 2003
HATTIESBURG The University of Southern Mississippi will be trying for its first non-conference win of the season at the school's homecoming game this weekend.
The Golden Eagles (4-3, 4-0 Conference USA) have lost to teams from the Pac-10 (California), the Big 12 (Nebraska) and the Southeastern Conference (Alabama) this season, while staying undefeated inside their conference.
The Eagles opponent at M.M. Roberts Stadium, also known as "The Rock," doesn't hail from a Bowl Championship Series conference on Saturday.
USM will take on the Sun Belt's University of Louisiana-Lafayette, but don't think because the Ragin' Cajuns are 2-7 (2-3 Sun Belt) that this is a guaranteed win for the Eagles.
Louisiana-Lafayette has rattled off back-to-back wins, after starting the season 0-7.
Over the last two weeks, the Ragin' Cajuns are averaging 325.5 yards per game and 28.5 points. The team managed to score only 106 points and gain 2,157 yards over the opening seven weeks of the season.
One of the biggest improvements has been in the play of Louisiana-Lafayette redshirt-freshman quarterback Jerry Babb.
The Ragin' Cajuns signal caller has thrown for 772 yards, and he has proven dangerous running the ball gaining 155 yards on the ground.
Dustin Almond will be looking to make some plays of his own against the Ragin' Cajuns.
The Eagles sophomore quarterback will start his third game of the year, after throwing for 175 yards and two touchdowns against South Florida last week in his second start of the year.
Almond also caused damage with his legs rushing for 30 yards on 13 carries.
Louisiana-Lafayette has struggled defensively, allowing opponents 445 yards per game. The Ragin' Cajuns have also give up an average of 31.8 points per game.
Though Louisiana-Lafayette has given up a lot of its opponents this year, Bower said his team cannot take the Ragin' Cajuns lightly.

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