Earlier this year, University of Louisiana President Dr. Ray Authement committed to keeping Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns in Division 1A when he added new staffers to handle marketing and promotions for athletics as well as endowments. In addition, Rickey Bustle was hired to lead the Ragin' Cajuns after coaching some of the best quarterbacks - like Michael Vick - as Virginia Tech's offensive coordinator.

Well, get ready now for some changes both on and off the field. Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns are gearing up for their first appearance in The Swamp with Coach Bustle and they are also ready for a first-ever contest between a Big 10 school and the Ragin' Cajuns at home. The matchup will happen during the Herbert Heymann Football Classic. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Off the field, the fans will be eligible for a chance to win a GMC Senoma truck and a tailgating barbecue pit package from Courtesy GMC, KLFY TV 10 and Percy Guidry Hearth and Patio. Also, five 32" televisions from KATC TV3 and Professional Arts Pharmacy will be given away throughout the football season along with cash prizes from Bank One and Hibernia. Other sponsors already on board are MidSouth Bank, Subway, Follet's and the Stadium Club.

"We've really gone all out to make this season like no other," said Eric Maron, Assistant Director for Athletic Marketing and Promotions. "Businesses have stepped up and helped with numerous sponsorships and now we want to make this season the best it can be for everyone."

A limited number of special Ragin' Cajuns premium items will be handed out at Gate A and CheerStix, among a host of other items, will be distributed to fans at every gate.

"Our theme this season is 'Get in the Game and Win," so that's what we're creating," said Julie Simon-Dronet, Director of Public Relations and News Services. "If a fan gets in the game, they will win. Not only will they see great football, they will also experience a renewed spirit that reflects what this community is all about - having fun with family and friends.

"We also expect that many new fans will join us at Cajun Field this season as a result of the efforts of Alumni Association leadership - Jim Doyle and Robert Trahan," Simon-Dronet continued. "They have asked numerous local company leaders to purchase tickets and these companies have generously responded not only by purchasing tickets but also getting them into the hands of fans."

In addition to all the giveaways and prizes, Fun Jumps of Acadiana will be at the game with inflatable jumps for children as well as a petting zoo from the Zoo of Acadiana. For the Herbert Heymann Football Classic, music will be provided by Krossfyre from 3 to 6:15 p.m. Lafayette Motors is sponsoring leading tailgating bands prior to each game.

Tickets for the matchup between Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns and the Minnesota Gophers are still on sale. They can be purchased at the Cajundome Ticket Box Office or by calling 265-2100. University of Louisiana students can get into the game free with their student I.D. A no-reentry policy will be enforced for all fans on game days.

Ticket operations for the Ragin' Cajuns moved to the Cajundome, where a special office has been created to specifically handle these sales. The move was made earlier this year, making it more convenient for fans to purchase tickets.

The Cajundome Box Office will be opened with extended hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day this week, through Friday. Tickets will be available at noon on game day at the main ticket office located next to the Tigue Moore Baseball Field entrance. Tickets will be available at Gates B, C, D at 5 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid a wait at the gate.