Game: Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Mountaineers -5, Ragin’ Cajuns +5
Appalachian State has owned Louisiana over the past decade winning eight of nine games between the two teams. The lone loss came last year when the Cajuns upset Appalachian State at home 24-21. Now, the Mountaineers have the opportunity for some payback. Both teams still have the Sun Belt Conference championship in their sights. The loser is likely out of that race.
Heading into tonight’s game, Appalachian State is the favorite and rightfully so. The Mountaineers average 35.2 points per game and the defense is giving up just 20. QB Chase Brice, who wound up at Appalachian State via Clemson and Duke, is having an outstanding season thus far. Brice is completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,360 yards and eight touchdowns. The offense has great balance too rushing for nearly 200 yards per game and passing for just over 284.
That offense goes up against a fairly stout Louisiana defense. Under head coach Billy Napier, the Cajuns are built around defense and a strong running game. The defense has done its part so far. Since a season-opening loss to Texas, the Cajuns have given up 24 points or less in each of their last four games. Not surprisingly, all four of those games have been wins. Louisiana’s defense gives up a very respectable 22.8 points per game.
The Cajuns defense will have its hands full with the Mountaineers’ offense. One of the keys will be Louisiana’s running game. This season, the Cajuns have not had the numbers they have had in the past. So far this season, Louisiana has rushed for 185 yards per game. That ranks 42nd in the country. Last season, the Cajuns averaged 213.3 yards on the ground per game. If successful, Louisiana’s running game allows them to keep the ball away from Appalachian State’s explosive offense.
The Cajuns rank 70th in the number of plays per game. Louisiana runs 69.5 plays per game. Appalachian State goes much faster ranking 26th in the nation at 76.2. The more Napier and his running game can slow down the Mountaineers, the better.
Historically, this game has been a low-scoring affair. The Under is 4-1 in the last five games. Because of the Cajuns pace, the Under is 18-7-1 in their last 26 games overall. Both teams put an emphasis on running the football and both have very good defenses. Taking out the 2019 45-38 Mountaineers win at home, the last four final scores in this game were 24-21, 17-7, 30-19, and 27-17.
Appalachian State is 6-1 in its last seven games. The only loss was to a ranked Miami team, 25-22. The Mountaineers are also 11-3 in their last 14 road games. Despite all the wins, Appalachian State is just 6-12 ATS in its last 18 games. Louisiana is similar to its opponent tonight. The Cajuns have won 11 of their last 12 games, but they have only covered once in their last five.