Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Wednesday night #FUNBelt action here as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns host the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Both teams have had a lot of success so far, as App State enters this one at 4-0 while Louisiana sits at 4-1. Oddsmakers have this game, which will be televised nationally on ESPN2, as nearly even. It should be a good one between two of the top teams in the conference.
Appalachian State is coming off a very successful season, where they went 11-2 and beat this same Louisiana team in the conference championship game. The season was so successful, that head coach Scott Satterfield left to take the head job at Louisville. They haven't missed a beat in their first season without him at the helm, and enter this one at 4-0. They already have a huge Power 5 win over North Carolina on their resume.
Louisiana will have revenge on their minds here as they host App State in this primetime showdown. The Cajuns made it to the Sun Belt title game last year, but their dreams were crushed by the Mountaineers in that game. They've been a program on the rise in recent years, and enter this one at 4-1. Their one loss was to Mississippi State, which you can't really hold against them.
App State Back For MoreAppalachian State had an extremely successful 2018 campaign. They relatively easily won the Sun Belt, and then won their bowl game to finish 11-2. I was actually most impressed by one of their losses when they took Penn State to overtime in the first week of the season and looked really good doing it.
Quarterback Zac Thomas was one of the best-kept secrets in all of college football, but the success was so apparent that their coach Scott Satterfield landed the job at Louisville. Even as they entered a new era without Satterfield, they haven't missed a beat. They enter this one at 4-0, and Thomas has been great. The passing game is very efficient, as they've completed 71.4 percent of their passes this year. Louisiana has a pretty strong secondary that is only giving up 5.83 yards per pass attempt this year, so that will be the matchup to watch in this one. The Mountaineers would be wise to try to establish the running game here due to Louisiana's strength against the pass, and they've been pretty good on the ground so far this year.
The Most UNDERRATED QB In The Country 😴— Andrew Koster (@AKoster15) May 22, 2019
OFFICIAL Zac Thomas (@Zac_Thomas14) App State Highlights
-Passing: 62.6% Completion Percentage, 2039 Yards, 21 TDs
-Rushing: 92 Carries, 504 Yards, 10 TDs
🎥 Full Video: https://t.co/4xUdLjY9tp pic.twitter.com/1oj93CHdYk
They're averaging a robust 5.8 yards per carry, and they have a very balanced offense which is great in case one facet isn't working. The offense has been a juggernaut so far, scoring at least 34 points in each of their first four games. They once again managed to challenge a Power 5 team this year, beating North Carolina on the road. North Carolina came up one point short of beating Clemson, so that win carries a lot of weight.
Louisiana For Real?Louisiana looks like a program on the rise. In 2017, they went 5-7. They started off rough last year, but went on a magical run down the stretch and ended up making the Sun Belt title game, where they lost to this same App State team. They've managed to carry the momentum over into 2019, entering this one with a 4-1 record. Their only loss was to Mississippi State, so it's understandable. They've played a pretty soft schedule since then though, so hopefully, they won't be caught off-guard by the step-up in competition. Louisiana doesn't seem to have a ton of trust in their quarterback, so they're a very run-heavy team. They've only attempted 142 passes this season, compared to 214 rushing attempts.
They've been very good on the ground this season and will need to keep that going here if they want to win. Quarterback Levi Lewis is a first-year starter, and he isn't going to carry them to victory here. If they fall behind early and have to abandon the run, they're in big trouble. As for the defense, they're very good against the pass, ranking 24th in the nation with just 186.6 yards per game allowed. They're worse against the run though, as they give up 158.6 yards per game on the ground on average. App State is going to sell-out to stop the run here, so Lewis is going to need to do better than he has recently. He's only thrown for more than 200 yards once all season, and he doesn't offer much with his legs as a rushing threat.
Rajun Cajuns are
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a bye week
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game
- 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games overall
- 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games
- 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games following an ATS win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like Appalachian State here. They showed us last year in the Sun Belt championship game that they can easily handle this Louisiana team, and if anything they've looked better this season. They return last year's quarterback while Louisiana has a new starter, and App State has already beaten North Carolina in 2019. If they can take down a power conference opponent on the road, I don't see how you could fade them here.
Prediction: App State +2
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the under in this spot. App State has been playing in a bunch of high-scoring games, but I think that ends here. Both defenses matchup well with what the opposing offenses want to do, and I think both teams will be running the ball a lot here. Louisiana has an inexperienced quarterback, and they barely let him throw the ball as it is. Both teams have strong running games, and they'll lean on them in this weird Wednesday night game which will keep the clock moving.