The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns will look to finish off a really strong season with a win in the First Responders Bowl. Did the Ragin’ Cajuns hope to be in a better bowl than the First Responders Bowl? Probably, but there is likely going to be motivation to get to ten wins on the season. Louisiana goes into Saturday with a record of 9-1, with their only loss on October 14 against Coastal Carolina, 30-27. It has been a heck of a season for both Louisiana and Coastal Carolina.
Somebody had to win that game and it went in favor of Coastal Carolina on that day. If they were to play ten times, I’m sure each team would win five games each. Louisiana finished off the season with a 24-21 win over Appalachian State on December 4. That was an impressive win for the Ragin’ Cajuns on the road. Louisiana were slight underdogs against a very good Appalachian State team, but hats off to the visitors for coming through for a three-point win. The Ragin’ Cajuns enter the First Responders Bowl as the 19th ranked team in the FBS.
Louisiana mauled Louisiana-Monroe by a score of 70-20 before beating Appalachian State on the road. The question for the Ragin’ Cajuns in this game is whether they’re motivated to play UTSA in the First Responders Bowl on Saturday afternoon. They were one win away this season from going undefeated and receiving a much bigger bowl invite. That said, there has to be some motivation to record double-digit wins before the curtain closes on 2020. UTSA doesn’t present the most formidable challenge either.
UTSA finished the regular season with a record of 7-4. They are on a three-game winning streak to close out the year. No doubt the Roadrunners earned a spot in this game because of their end of the season surge. They blew out North Texas, 49-17, on November 28 in their most recent showing. Also note UTSA are winners in four of their last five games, the only loss against Florida Atlantic, 24-3. They might be heavy underdogs in this game, but if Louisiana doesn’t want to show up, then the door is wide open for an upset. Head below for our free Louisiana vs. UTSA pick for December 26, 2020.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns vs. UTSA Roadrunners First Responders Bowl Betting Odds:
Louisiana vs. UTSA Prediction:
UTSA steamrolled past one of the worst defenses in the FBS against North Texas for 49 points. There weren’t many defenses in college football that were worse than the Mean Green. The Roadrunners will see a much different defense on Saturday afternoon, and it’s certainly not for the better. Louisiana has done an excellent job of frustrating offenses all season long. That includes some good offenses.
Appalachian State was moving the ball nicely before they ran into the Louisiana defense. Their usually effective run game couldn’t find much wiggle room to operate against the Ragin’ Cajuns. There was nowhere for Zac Thomas to go with the ball, so it was force feed their backfield on the ground. Thomas threw for 92 yards and 2 interceptions in the 24-21 loss.
Frustrating quarterbacks is what Louisiana has done his best this season. They’ve conceded just 166.9 yards per game through the air. That’s good for fifth in the FBS. UTSA quarterback, Frank Harris, hasn’t been the most proficient passer out there. He’s passed for 10 touchdowns and 5 interceptions on 63.8% completions. The junior is better with his legs, having gained 437 rushing yards for 8 touchdowns.
Expect UTSA to keep the ball on the ground often on Saturday. They are unlikely to throw right into the strength of the Ragin’ Cajuns. That’s how this game could get out of hand in a hurry for the Roadrunners. Expect a heavy dose of Sincere McCormick, who has gained 1,345 yards and 11 touchdowns on 6 yards per carry.
The Roadrunners might not be as good defensively, but they’ve done a nice job in the secondary as well. UTSA has allowed 228.1 passing yards per game to rank in the top half of the FBS. They’ve allowed 25.2 points per game, with their best defense coming later in the season. After allowing 35 points against Middle Tennessee in September, UTSA hasn’t given up more than 30 points in a game. Over their last three outings, the Roadrunners allowed just 19.3 points a game.
Louisiana has been consistent throughout the season on defense. They’ve allowed an average of 21.8 points per game going into Saturday. In their previous three games, the defense has been hot with 17 points against per game. Even if they don’t bring their full effort in the First Responders Bowl, the Roadrunners are going to likely give Harris a bad time on Saturday. The UNDER looks like a good way to play this matchup.