While the boys from Hammond, Louisiana may have caused quite a stir in the Southland Conference in recent years (winning back to back titles in 2013, 2014), the Cowboys look to see the 1s and 2s in and out of the game to get the backups and walk-ons plenty of run.But anyone who watches the NFL knows that some of the best players will often times come from these smaller schools, rumor has it a kick returner from West Alabama went in the 5th round this summer. The SLU Lions did receive some votes in the initial FCS polls, let’s take a look at what the Lions bring to the Boone on opening weekend.Primary Storylines• The more dominant unit for the Lions is the defense, primarily its front seven with the experienced two-deep up front. At a fall scrimmage, the defense had 11 tackles for loss and 8 sacks and head coach Ron Roberts reasoned “We are a pressure defense, so if you get to third and long, we’re going to have some fun.”• The Lions return 5 offensive starters, 2 on defense and 1 on special teams, while the Cowboys return 10 offensive and 8 defensive, making them the second-most experienced Power 5 team (behind only to the Tennessee Volunteers). All that to say that while SLU has an excellent recent history at the FCS level, the Cowboys shouldn’t have a problem taking care of business.Players to WatchAs Gundy mentioned in his presser on 8/25, the Lions play what may be the “best offense in football, depending on your opinion”: the spread option.• That all starts and stops with the QB1, D’Shaie Landor, a senior transfer from Louisiana-Lafayette. The former three-star recruit was modestly productive as a junior but looked great throwing four touchdown passes in the last scrimmage of the fall.Northwestern High product (Miami, FL) Rasheed Harrell looks to be the lead back after redshirting last year and receiver Brandon Acker is the veteran charged with leading a young receiving corps. Up front is all-Southland performer Travis Romero playing center who will do his best against the monster we know as Vincent Taylor.• While the Lions lose their star defender from a year ago in two time FCS All-American defensive back/kick returner and current Arizona Cardinal Harlan Miller, a couple of guys to keep an eye on are seniors Will Hines at corner (more on him later) and linebacker Tre’ Bennett and he looks to have some room to roam behind an experienced rotation of defensive lineman with 5 seniors.Fun Facts• The first inaugural Piesman Award (best play made by an offensive or defensive lineman with the ball in their hands) went to former Lion (and Jenks Trojan alum) Ashton Henderson for this beauty of a play. • Not far from the Piesman, when Heisman quarterback Marcus Mariota came to Oregon in 2012, he beat out a player by the name of Bryan Bennett for the job. Bennett headed to the Deep South and wrecked shop for two years for the SLU Lions, rushing for over 1,000 and passing for over 3,000 in 2013.• The Cowboys have run a version of the air raid offense designed originally by offensive guru Hal Mumme (among others). Mumme had a short stint at SLU when he was the first head coach at the university when they rebooted the program in 2003, having cut the team previously in 1985.• I have on good authority that some of the cast of the History Channel’s show “Swamp People” are in fact native to Hammond, Louisiana where part of the show is filmed. Sadly no confirmation if they cheer for the SLU Lions.• Transfers to Watch: If you follow recruiting regionally you may remember the name Sione Teuhema, an Army All-American linebacker from Keller, Texas. He initially signed with LSU and is now on the two-deep for the Lions. Torrance Mosley is a defensive back and TCU transfer who started a few games for the Frogs and running back Darius Durall played two seasons at SMU. Most notable is corner Will Hines who started 15 out of 19 games for the Arkansas Razorbacks from 2012-2013.• The Cowboys weren’t the only ones to pull talent out of Edmond Santa Fe this year (see Bundage, Calvin), the Lions pulled defender Ezekiel Jenkins down south to play some fullback for them.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!