The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and Marshall Thundering Herd are scheduled to clash in the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. UL Lafayette is looking to put a bow on a tremendous season in the Sun Belt.
They are going into the New Orleans Bowl with a record of 12-1 and a Sun Belt Championship following a 24-16 win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers. I cashed Louisiana to win the Sun Belt, so that one came as no surprise.
?????? ???? ?? ??? ????.@RaginCajunsFB's strip sack of App State in the final minute of the #SunBeltFB Championship Game is this week's @HerculesTires Strong Move of the Week. ☀️?? pic.twitter.com/bsVuZQc88Y
— Sun Belt Football (@SunBeltFB) December 10, 2021
That was another impressive display put on by the Cajuns’ defense. They’ve been a lockdown unit this season, and look to continue it against Marshall in the New Orleans Bowl. However, Louisiana must do it without their head coach.
Billy Napier is off to Gainesville for a head coaching position with the Florida Gators. That leaves an opening for the Ragin’ Cajuns that will be filled by 36-year-old Michael Desormeaux. He played quarterback at UL Lafayette and signed as an undrafted free agent with the Jaguars in 2009.
Napier turned the Ragin’ Cajuns into a defensive force in the Sun Belt, and now will look to bring the Gators back to prominence. There’s been a lot of turnover for Louisiana since they won the conference championship.
Nice look at Billy Napier’s final appearance at Louisiana, led his team to the Sun Belt Championship pic.twitter.com/ETs1FAMmXw
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) December 11, 2021
Along with the coaching staff, Louisiana has a long injury report. The most notable player OUT for the Ragin’ Cajuns is leading-target Peter LeBlanc. He will be joined by leading-rusher Chris Smith, who is bothered by a knee injury.
There are multiple offensive linemen on the injury report, with starter Max Mitchell officially OUT according to coach Desormeaux. On the defensive side of the ball, the Ragin’ Cajuns are without star nose tackle Tayland Humphrey.
Humphrey is opting out to prepare for the East-West Shrine Bowl, while starting linebacker, Ferrod Gardner, will not be playing in the New Orleans Bowl. The situation for Marshall is a lot more stable, but they didn’t have a 12-1 campaign like UL Lafayette.
Marshall finished the regular season at 7-5 after a 53-21 loss to close out the season versus Western Kentucky on November 27. The Thundering Herd won four in a row before losing two of their last three.
Head below for our free Louisiana vs. Marshall New Orleans Bowl pick on December 18, 2021.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Odds and Team Statistics:
The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:
|Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns||-4.5 (-110)||-180||Over 55.5 (-110)|
|Marshall Thundering Herd||+4.5 (-110)||+160||Under 55.5 (-110)|
|Team Data||Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns||Marshall Thundering Herd|
|Points Per Game||30.7||34.0|
|Points Against Per Game||18.3||22.8|
|Passing Yards Per Game||214.0||310.9|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||192.0||160.2|
Louisiana vs. Marshall Prediction:
Louisiana will look for quarterback Levi Lewis to play a strong game in the absence of several key players on offense. Lewis is a smart quarterback that doesn’t turn the ball over often.
His ability to lead the offense and not make mistakes is important for Louisiana’s success. Lewis has passed for 19 touchdowns and 4 interceptions on 60.3% completions.
He also gained 269 yards on the ground with 5 touchdowns on 3.1 yards per carry. Doing a little bit of everything is Lewis’ mantra at Louisiana. However, just don’t expect anything exceptionally well or monster numbers.
It’s what the Ragin’ Cajuns need with their talented defense, though they are down talent in this one. Lewis is without one of his favorite wide receivers and running back in New Orleans.
Chris Smith and his 5.6 yards per carry will not be available in this one. Smith gained 855 yards and 8 touchdowns on 153 attempts. There will also be backups in at offensive line for Louisiana.
Over at Marshall, they are not dealing with any important injuries to speak of. They have a clean bill of health going into the New Orleans Bowl. That’s good news for their dangerous passing game.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Trends:
- 4-0 ATS in their previous four games versus a winning record
- 0-4 ATS in their previous four bowl games
- 1-4 ATS in their previous five games at a neutral site
- 1-4 ATS in their previous five games versus the Conference USA
- 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games as a favorite
- 7-2 ATS in their previous nine bowl games
- 6-2 ATS in their previous eight games at a neutral site
- 5-1 ATS in their previous six games after allowing more than 40 points
- 4-2 ATS in their previous six games
- UNDER is 4-1 in their previous five games
The Thundering Herd enter the New Orleans Bowl with 471.1 yards per game for 10th in the FBS. They are capable of scoring plenty of points and have Grant Wells healthy at quarterback for their bowl game.
Marshall is 26th in the FBS with 34 points per game. They have an offensive advantage over Louisiana, and with the injury concerns continuing to pile up for the Ragin’ Cajuns, they are going to be much healthier.
I’m not running to the window to lay points on a UL Lafayette team that is dealing with a coaching change, players sitting out, and multiple injuries on both sides of the ball.
After winning the Sun Belt, I’m sure the Ragin’ Cajuns aren’t going to be as motivated for this one. On paper and both teams healthy with Billy Napier on the sideline during the regular season, give me Louisiana easy at 4 points.
However, that’s not the case in the New Orleans Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Their usual defensive intensity is likely not going to be turned up for this one.
The Thundering Herd typically like bowl games, as they’ve covered seven of their last nine. I’m going to take the points on the underdog in a game that Marshall is probably going to be interested in.