Game: Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns @ Marshall Thundering Herd
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Cajuns +10.5, Herd -10.5
Week 7 of the college football season begins with a midweek matchup between two Sun Belt schools looking for their first conference victory. Despite its thrilling win over Notre Dame in September, Marshall has slumped to a 1-2 overall record and a 0-3 ATS record in its previous three games. Louisiana has dropped three straight games and is currently 2-3 overall and 3-2 ATS.
One of the best scoring defenses in the nation belongs to Marshall, which only allows 16.2 points a game. That ranks 17th in the country. The Thundering Herd’s defense is currently ranked fourth in run defense allowing just 71.2 yards per game. Marshall also ranks No. 13 in turnover differential at +6 for the season.
In their lone Sun Belt game of the year, the Herd held Troy to 16 points and created three turnovers on the road. It wasn’t enough though as Marshall would lose 16-7. Without starting quarterback Chandler Fields, the Louisiana offense will struggle against this Marshall defense.
In just five games, Marshall’s talented running back Khalan Laborn has already racked up 781 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. The secret to Marshall’s offensive success is the former Florida State transfer.
Louisiana’s defense surrendered 227 rushing yards in their most recent road game against UL-Monroe. The Cajuns ultimately lost because they couldn’t stop the run. It may be a long Wednesday night for Louisiana if the Cajuns let Laborn run wild.
Marshall will also be seeking retribution for their season-ending loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns in the New Orleans Bowl last year. The Herd belonged to Conference-USA before this summer, before joining the Sun Belt. Marshall would love nothing more than a little payback.
In this rare Wednesday night matchup, Louisiana and Marshall will benefit from a little additional rest. Neither team has played since October 1. The time off was not enough for Fields, however. He will not play and Ben Woolridge, his backup, is scheduled to start. That might reduce the Cajuns’ scoring options.
Marshall is best suited for a grind-it-out type of game. The run game is a key component of the Herd’s offensive philosophy. Laborn receives 25 to 30 touches per game and he averages over 100 rushing yards per game.
Unsurprisingly, in Marshall’s five games this season, the Under has a 4-1 record. The only game to go Over the total was against Bowling Green, which has gone 5-1 to the Over this season. Marshall’s run-heavy approach causes it to play at a slower tempo. In games involving Louisiana this season, the Under is 3-2, and both of its Sun Belt Conference contests have gone Under. The two Cajuns’ losses produced 38 and 37 points.
Louisiana is 15-3 SU in its last 18 games and 15-4 SU in its last 19 games on the road. The Cajuns have won six straight games against opponents in the Sun Belt’s East Division. Marshall is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games played in October.
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