The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns look to stay in the Top 25 with a win against the Appalachian State Mountaineers on the road. This is the only college game on the schedule tonight, but it should be a good one. At first look, a matchup between Louisiana-Lafayette isn’t going to get anyone excited, but this is the No. 25 team in the country against a very capable 9-2 Appalachian State squad. Louisiana goes into Friday with just one loss on their resume for a record of 8-1.
They lost against Coastal Carolina, 30-27, on October 14, but that’s their only loss on the season. Coastal Carolina is another small conference school that is having a lot of success. It would have taken an undefeated season for Louisiana to get New Year’s Six consideration, though the Ragin’ Cajuns should still get a solid bowl invite if they win out. Winning out isn’t going to be particularly easy, though.
Louisiana has a tough matchup against Appalachian State on the road tonight, and wrap up the season against No. 18 Coastal Carolina. There is no guarantee that they win tonight, and then they’re going on the road again next week against a quality Coastal Carolina team. That could be two quick losses for Louisiana. They’ve already lost against Coastal Carolina at home, so a loss on the road wouldn’t be too surprising.
Appalachian State is not a ranked team, but they’ve been playing well. The Mountaineers head into Friday with a record of 7-2. They are coming off a 47-10 blowout win over the Troy Trojans last week. The Mountaineers were victims of Coastal Carolina as well. Preceding that blowout win over Troy, Coastal Carolina defeated Appalachian State by a score of 34-23. Zac Thomas struggled in that one, as he threw for 211 yards with a touchdown and 3 interceptions. Cameroon Peoples still ran wild for 178 yards and a touchdown on 6.6 yards per carry.
Louisiana must be ready for the vaunted run game of the Mountaineers on Friday night. Stop that and the Ragin’ Cajuns will be in good shape on the road. That’s easier said than done, though. Appalachian State has gashed some good defenses with their backfield. If there has been any weakness for the Ragin’ Cajuns, it’s been against the run. Head below for our free Louisiana vs. Appalachian State pick for December 4, 2020.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers NCAAF Betting Odds:
Louisiana vs. Appalachian State Prediction:
Louisiana needs to put most of their resources on defense to stopping Appalachian State’s attack in the backfield. The Mountaineers rank seventh in the FBS with 256.6 rushing yards per game. They will continue to hammer the ball tonight. If it’s not working early on, they will continue to run the ball to try to open up lanes. Containing the running game of the Mountaineers might work for a quarter, but doing it for four quarters is asking a lot.
Quarterback Zac Thomas has provided a steady arm with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on 66.7% completions. He’s also gained 273 yards and 2 touchdowns on 4.1 yards per carry. Other than the bad game Thomas had against Coastal Carolina, he has been a nice complement to the ground game of Appalachian State. Louisiana has been solid against the pass, with 175.2 passing yards conceded per game. However, their ability versus the run has not been as sharp.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have allowed 179 rushing yards per game, and they haven’t played a team that can run the ball as effectively as Appalachian State can. The key for Appalachian State is limiting Levi Lewis. Lewis has passed for 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 62.3% completions. One of his best assets has been running the football. Lewis has scored 5 touchdowns on the ground and has galloped for 233 yards on 6.3 yards per carry. Louisiana are averaging 444.3 yards with 35 points per game.
Appalachian State has been one of the best teams, statistically, at limiting opposing offenses. They rank in the top-15 in the FBS, with 319.2 yards conceded per game. The Mountaineers have done well against the pass and run, as they’ve held offenses to 180.2 yards passing and 139 yards rushing per game.
The main goal for Louisiana has to be to stay healthy going into the Sun Belt Championship next week. This could also be a lookahead spot for them with a rematch against Coastal Carolina on tap. They are guaranteed a spot in the conference championship, so a loss here doesn’t hurt them in that sense. It should be a good game this evening, but I’m going to give the edge to the home team here.