Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football

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Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football
2024 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team
First season1901 (1901) (122 years ago)
Athletic directorBryan Maggard
Head coachMichael Desormeaux
3rd season, 13–14 (.481)
StadiumCajun Field
(capacity: 41426)
Year built1971
Field surfaceTurf (ProGrass)
LocationLafayette, Louisiana
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceSun Belt Conference
All-time record565–580–34 [1] (.494)
Bowl record5–4 (.556)
Conference titles10
Division titles4
RivalriesULM (rivalry)
Lamar (rivalry)
McNeese State (rivalry)
Southeastern Louisiana (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans4
ColorsVermilion and white[2]
Fight songRagin' Cajuns Fight Song
Marching bandPride of Acadiana

The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football program is a college football team that represents the University of Louisiana at Lafayette at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Since 1971, the team has played its home games at Cajun Field in Lafayette, Louisiana. Michael Desormeaux has served as Louisiana's head coach since 2021.

The RCAF (Ragin Cajun Athletic Foundation) is the supporter association that assists with funding for all Ragin Cajun sports.

The program began play in 1901 when the school was known as Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute. The school's sports teams were known as the Southwestern Louisiana Bulldogs from 1921 until 1973. The school's fight name was formally changed to Ragin' Cajuns in 1974, which had been in use since the 1960s. In 1999, the university took on its current name, at which point its sports teams were referred to as Louisiana–Lafayette. A rebranding in 2017 dropped "Lafayette" from the Cajuns' name.

Between 2011 and 2014, the Cajuns won four consecutive New Orleans Bowls, representing the most successful stretch in the program's history at the time, but later had to vacate two of the victories due to NCAA violations.[3]

Between 2018 and 2021, during the tenure of head coach Billy Napier, the Cajuns reached many milestones, including the first National ranking in program history, four consecutive division championships, two conference championships, three bowl championships, and the best season finish and conference finish in the 2021 season, finishing 13–1 and 7–0 in conference play.

The Cajuns have had several players go to play professionally in the National Football League (NFL), including Jake Delhomme, Charles Tillman, Brian Mitchell, Orlando Thomas, Brandon Stokely, Elijah McGuire, Elijah Mitchell, Kevin Dotson, and Levi Lewis.


Before 1974, the team's official nickname was the Bulldogs, although the current nickname was in common use with the football team for approximately the decade prior.[citation needed]

Division history[edit]

Years Division
1937–1962 National Junior College Athletic Association
1963–1972 NCAA College Division (Small College)
1973 NCAA Division II
1974–1977 NCAA Division I
1978–present NCAA Division I-A (FBS)

Conference affiliations[edit]

Louisiana has been both independent and a member of four different conferences.[4]: 89 


Conference championships[edit]

Louisiana has won 10 conference championships, with the 2013 championship later vacated.[5][4]: 84–89 

Year Conference Coach Conference record Overall record
1952 Gulf States Conference Raymond Didier 3–0–2 5–2–2
1965 Russ Faulkinberry 4–1 7–3
1968 5–1 8–2
1970 5–0 9–3
1993 Big West Conference Nelson Stokley 5–1 8–3
1994 5–1 6–5
2005 Sun Belt Conference Rickey Bustle 5–2 6–5
2013†‡ Mark Hudspeth 5–2 9–4
2020†^ Billy Napier 7–1 10–1
2021 8–0 13–1

† Co-champions
‡ Louisiana vacated the 2013 Sun Belt Conference co-championship due to major NCAA violations[5]
^ The 2020 championship game was not played due to Coastal Carolina impacted by COVID-19 pandemic[6] For College Football Playoff purposes, Coastal Carolina was viewed as the 2020 Sun Belt Champions.[7] Recognizing that the College Football Playoff committee had no jurisdiction to that magnitude coupled with a desire to prevent the diminishment to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football team’s accomplishments in 2020, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory declared, by executive proclamation, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football team as the 2020 sole champions of the Sun Belt Conference in football.[8]

Division championships[edit]

Louisiana has won four division championships with the most recent in the 2021 season.

Year Division Coach Conf. record Overall record Opponent CG result
2018 Sun Belt West Billy Napier 5–3 7–7 Appalachian State L 19–30
2019 7–1 11–3 Appalachian State L 38–45
2020 7–1 10–1 Coastal Carolina No Contest^
2021 8–0 13–1 Appalachian State W 24–16

^ The 2020 championship game was not played due to Coastal Carolina impacted by COVID-19 pandemic[6]

Postseason history[edit]

National Junior College Athletic Association[edit]

Date Coach Bowl Opponent Result
January 1, 1944 Louis Whitman Oil Bowl Arkansas–Monticello W 24–7

NCAA Small College Division[edit]

Date Coach Bowl Opponent Result
December 12, 1970 Russ Faulkinberry Grantland Rice Bowl Tennessee State L 25–26

NCAA Division I FBS[edit]

Since joining the NCAA Division I-A (FBS) in 1978, the Ragin' Cajuns have played in 11 bowl games, although two of those games (which were victories) were vacated due to sanctions. Officially, they have a record of 5–4 in bowl games.

Date Coach Bowl Opponent Result
December 17, 2011 Mark Hudspeth New Orleans Bowl San Diego State W 32–30
December 22, 2012 New Orleans Bowl East Carolina W 43–34
December 21, 2013 New Orleans Bowl Tulane W 24–21
December 20, 2014 New Orleans Bowl Nevada W 16–3
December 17, 2016 New Orleans Bowl Southern Miss L 21–28
December 15, 2018 Billy Napier Cure Bowl Tulane L 24–41
January 6, 2020 LendingTree Bowl Miami (OH) W 27–17
December 26, 2020 First Responder Bowl UTSA W 31–24
December 18, 2021 Michael Desormeaux New Orleans Bowl Marshall W 36–21
December 23, 2022 Independence Bowl Houston L 16–23
December 16, 2023 New Orleans Bowl Jacksonville State L 31–34 OT

† Vacated [9][10]

Home stadiums[edit]

McNaspy Stadium[edit]

In 1940 McNaspy Stadium was built on the campus of Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette). It served as the Cajuns home field through the 1970 season and was demolished in 2000. McNaspy Stadium was located at the site where the current computer science building Oliver Hall now stands.

Cajun Field[edit]

Cajun Field on gameday.

Cajun Field is a football stadium located in the city of Lafayette, Louisiana, and has served as the home field of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team since 1970. Cajun Field has an official capacity of 41,426 with 2,577 chairback seats, and its nickname is "The Swamp."

In June of 2021 it was announced that Cajun Field would be undergoing a $75 million renovation, with construction slated to begin summer of 2022. [11] The plans are to demolish the current West Tower, and replace it with a state of the art facility, including amenities such as premium suites, a club level and club seats, loge boxes, and press box. Because of a $15 million donation, the stadium will now be known as “Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium.”

Head coaches[edit]

Years coached Name Record
1901–1902 Ashby Woodson 3–2
1903 J. Ovey Herpin 1–1
1904 Edwin F. Gayle 2–0–1
1906 Herbert McNaspy 1–0–1
1907 Jefferson Caffery 1–0
1908–1911; 1913; 1917–1918 Clement J. McNaspy 34–15–4
1912 H. Lee Prather 3–4
1914–1915 R. B. Dunbar 10–5–1
1916; 1919; 1921–1930 T. R. Mobley 57–48–7
1920 Herbert O. Tudor 2–8
1931–1936 Truman F. Wilbanks 19–32–2
1937–1941; 1946 Johnny Cain 33–19–5
1942–1945 Louis Whittman 14–14–2
1947–1949 Gee Mitchell 18–8–1
1950 A. L. Swanson 5–4
1951–1956 Raymond Didier 29–23–2
1957 John Robert Bell 4–5–1
1958–1960 Red Hoggatt 11–17
1961–1973 Russ Faulkinberry 66–63–2
1974–1979 Augie Tammariello 30–35–2
1980–1985 Sam Robertson 29–34–2
1986–1998 Nelson Stokley 62–80–1
1999–2001 Jerry Baldwin 6–27
2002–2010 Rickey Bustle 41–65
2011–2017 Mark Hudspeth 29–38†
2018–2021 Billy Napier 40–12
2021–present Michael Desormeaux 13-14

† Hudspeth's record of 51–38 was reduced to 29–38 due to alleged NCAA violations.[citation needed]



Although no longer an active rivalry, the first Sabine Shoe trophy was first awarded in 1937 to the winner of the SLI–Lamar football game.[12] The name of the bronze rivalry trophy was derived from the Sabine River that forms the Texas-Louisiana border. USL defeated Lamar in the 1978 edition of the rivalry game, but the Ragin' Cajuns were not awarded the trophy as it had vanished.[13] The Sabine Shoe trophy now sits in at trophy case in the Ragin' Cajun Athletic Complex.

Louisiana–Lamar: All-time record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
34 October 27, 1923 (won 19–16) September 1, 2012 (won 40–0, vacated) 22 11 0 66.7%

McNeese State[edit]

Another former rivalry. When active the Cajun Crown was the name of the trophy between Louisiana and McNeese State.[14]

Louisiana–McNeese State: All-Time Record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
38 September 22, 1951 (won 35–14) September 10, 2016 (won 30–22) 16 20 2 44.7%

Southeastern Louisiana[edit]

This is another former rivalry. The Cypress Mug was the turned, polished mahogany mug awarded to the winner of the Southwestern–Southeastern football game.[15]

Louisiana–Southeastern Louisiana: All-time record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
41 November 11, 1930 (won 13–0) September 3, 2022 (won 24–7) 21 17 3 54.9%


The Battle on the Bayou is the annual rivalry game between Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns and Louisiana–Monroe. The wooden boot-shaped rivalry trophy was created in 2002 to be awarded to the victors.[16]

Louisiana–ULM: All-time record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
58 September 15, 1951 (lost 7–13) September 24, 2022 (lost 17–21) 31 26 0 54.4%

Appalachian State[edit]

Louisiana–Appalachian State: All-time record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
11 November 22, 2014 (lost 16–35) December 4, 2021 (won 24–16) 3 8 0 27.3%

Arkansas State[edit]

Louisiana–Arkansas State: All-time record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
51 October 17, 1953 (lost 12–13) October 22, 2022 (won 38–18) 29 21 1 58.2%

Louisiana Tech[edit]

Louisiana–Louisiana Tech: All-time record
Games played First meeting Last meeting LA wins LA losses Ties Win %
87 1910 (lost 0–75) October 3, 2015 (lost 14–43) 33 48 6 41.38%

Notable players[edit]

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of February 2, 2023.[17]

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
Grambling State Rice UAB at Tulane Tulsa Louisiana Tech at Buffalo
at Kennesaw State McNeese at Louisiana Tech at UCF
at Michigan State at Eastern Michigan Kennesaw State
Tulane at Missouri

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NCAA Statistics https://stats.ncaa.org/teams/history?utf8=✓&org_id=671&sport_code=MFB&commit=Search
  2. ^ "ULL Brand Guide and Graphic Standards Manual" (PDF). Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  3. ^ "Exam fraud, recruit payments among NCAA accusations against UL-Lafayette, ex-assistant coach David Saunders". The Baton Rouge Advocate. October 11, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "2018 Media Guide" (PDF). ragincajuns.com. Louisiana Athletics.
  5. ^ a b "Big NCAA penalties for UL-Lafayette: Cajuns vacate 20-plus wins, two bowls, 2013 Sun Belt title". The Advocate. March 6, 2016. The Cajuns will vacate 22 total wins, including New Orleans Bowl championships in 2011 and 2013, and a shared Sun Belt Conference championship in 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Coastal Carolina vs. Louisiana canceled: crowns co-champions, title game called off due to COVID-19". CBSSports.com. A highly anticipated rematch between No. 12 Coastal Carolina and No. 19 Louisiana in the Sun Belt Championship Game has been canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test in the Coastal Carolina program, the Sun Belt announced Thursday night. One of the Chanticleers' entire position groups would have been unavailable for the game "due to possible exposure," according to the league's announcement.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2021-11-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2021-11-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Louisiana-Lafayette to vacate 22 football wins, titles". al. March 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "Forfeits and Vacated Games". College Football at Sports-Reference.com.
  11. ^ "New Cajun Field Renovations, Name. Visuals Included". 16 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Tribal lore". The Sporting News. 1997.
  13. ^ "The Week". CNN. October 9, 1978.
  14. ^ "College Football Rivalries". www.1122productions.com.
  15. ^ "Photo of the Cypress Mug".
  16. ^ "Rivalry rekindled today at ULM | the Advertiser | theadvertiser.com". Archived from the original on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  17. ^ "Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Football Future Schedules". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved February 2, 2023.

External links[edit]