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Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs Appalachian State Mountaineers
Where and when: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, North Carolina, Saturday, 12 pm EST
On what is predicted to be a bright, sunny day in Boone, North Carolina, the Sun Belt’s best will meet for the championship on Saturday afternoon as the western division’s Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns will battle the leaders of the eastern division in the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The Mountaineers have won straight up in the past seven meetings versus the Ragin’ Cajuns. However, they are only one game above average (4-3) versus the spread in these contests.
Important to note that the Mountaineers are 5-1 SU at home for the season while being .500 against the spread at 3-3 (0-2 against the number in their last 2 games in Boone). They ended the season going 4-0 SU in addition to being 3-1 ATS while the Ragin Cajuns have been just as solid in winning 6-straight games while also going 4-2 ATS. Covers.com currently favors the Mountaineers by 6.5-points while the total has been set at 56 points. Louisiana-Lafayette has covered the spread in three of the last four matchups in Boone while the under has been the play in six of the last seven meetings between these two solid teams (3-0 in last three).
Louisiana-Lafayette needs all 60 minutes to defeat WarhawksThe Ragin' Cajuns were barely able to hold off the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks at home in their most recent outing as their defense was very much uncharacteristic in allowing over 200 yards rushing in addition to 570 total yards in the slim victory. However, their tenth win on the year was a milestone for the program as this was their first-ever ten-win season in history. QB Levi Lewis passed for 270 yards along with three scores as his favorite target was senior JaMarcus Bradley, who scored once while recording 4 passes for 127 yards to lead the receiving corps.
One can expect the Ragin' Cajuns to unleash a healthy dose of their rushing attack versus the Mountaineers as they are currently putting up 274 yards per game in 2019. The team is led by Raymond Calais and Elijah Mitchell, who each rushed for a total of 209 yards versus the Warhawks. However, Louisiana-Lafayette will certainly need much more productivity in their running game this time around after rushing for only 123 yards versus Appalachian State in a 10-point home loss on October 9th. Lewis was pressured under center all game in being sacked three times while going 13-24 for 135 yards and a pick in the defeat. It will be interesting to see how the Ragin' Cajuns mix things up on the offensive end versus a team that only allows a tad less than 19 points per contest in addition to a shade over 320 yards per game in 2019.
Despite having linebacker Jacques Boudreax along with Lorenzo McCaskill leading the defense for the Ragin' Cajuns, the unit will certainly need to step up in this contest as they will attempt to stop a rushing attack that is putting up 226 yards per game. For the year, the Ragin' Cajuns are allowing 172 yards on the ground per outing.
Evans lead Mountaineers in scores this yearDarrynton Evans is the face of the Mountaineers rushing attack as he has racked up a total of 1380 yards on the season in addition to posting 19 TD's. He was, however, bottled up a bit versus the Ragin' Cajuns in October in ending with 69 yards, total, on 22 rushes (3.0) with no touchdowns. Junior QB Zack Thomas completed only 64% of his passes in this contest while throwing for a total of 147 yards with no TD passes.
Thomas has thrown 10 touchdown passes compared with no picks in his past three starts, however, while Evans has posted six scores in the last three games for the Mountaineers in addition to rushing for 100+ yards in two of these outings. Furthermore, junior receiver Thomas Henigan is coming off a 140 receiving yards performance versus the Warhawks and will attempt to find some openings versus a Ragin' Cajun defensive secondary that allowed 197 yards passing per game to opponents.
Today's #MountaineerMatchups feature 👀 closer at App State's offense vs. Louisiana's defense. Field position played a big role in shaping the style of their regular-season game:#PridePassionPurpose 🏈 #BeatLouisiana https://t.co/vYvxHbKPro— App State Football (@AppState_FB) December 4, 2019
Appalachian State’s ability to prevent the Ragin’ Cajuns from developing a consistent rushing attack will be critical for this matchup. As pointed out, the rushing attack for the Ragin' Cajuns have been dominant all season long; Yet, Louisiana-Lafayette struggled to get the most out of their ground game versus the Mountaineers in October, as pointed out. It will be interesting to see, with all the marbles on the line, if the home team can somehow repeat this type of defensive performance on Saturday.
Trends from Covers.com App State is:
- 21-8 ATS last 29 overall.
- No trends to report
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
While I happen to believe that the Ragin’ Cajuns will be very motivated to pick up a win in this Saturday afternoon Sun Belt championship contest, the Mountaineers are seeking to end the season on a strong note. Besides, they were already snake-bitten earlier in the season versus the Eagles of Georgia Southern at home and are well aware that they must bring the focus and intensity for a matchup versus a familiar foe in the Ragin' Cajuns that have shined in 2019 by scoring 10-wins. Aside from the Mountaineers dominating this series from a head to head standpoint, they destroyed the Ragin' Cajuns in the 2018 Sun Belt championship game by 49 points, as 14-point favorites.
Prediction: Appalachian State Mountaineers -6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
I will side with the under as it has been the play in six of the last seven matchups amongst these two teams. Furthermore, six of the last eight games for the Mountaineers have trended towards the under in addition to being the result in six of the last seven games for Louisiana-Lafayette. In all, one can expect this contest to be very competitive and low-scoring as each team will look to establish themselves in the trenches in order to unleash/prevent the rushing attack from kick-starting. With that being the case, I do not see the total surpassing its limit for this contest.
Prediction: Under 56