On Saturday, the Sun Belt Conference will get some clarity in the race for the conference champion as the Appalachian State Mountaineers host the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. For the Cajuns, they need a win to become bowl eligible. For the Mountaineers, a win will keep them tied for first place in the conference and give them a share for the title. Kickoff inside Kidd Brewer Stadium is at 2:30 PM ET.
Head-to-head all-time, App State has swept the Ragin’ Cajuns by winning all 3 games. During that span, App State has won by a combined total of 87 to 23. Last year, App State won 24-0. In 2015, App State hosted ULL and won that game 28-7.
The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns (5-6, 4-3 Sun Belt) are coming off a disappointing 34-24 loss to Georgia Southern. A victory last week would’ve made ULL bowl eligible, but they struggled at home against a team that only had 1 conference win at the time. This week, ULL will have their hands full against one of the conference’s perennial top teams.
Appalachian State (7-4, 6-1 Sun Belt) is already bowl eligible and is playing for a share of the conference title, which would be their second in a row. The Mountaineers have won two games in a row after dropping two games in a row, which one of them was a Sun Belt conference game against ULM.
The spread opened with App State favored by 15 points and it has remained unchanged. The Over/Under opened at 57.5 points and has gone up to 59.5 total points.
App State is clearly the better team here. Their 13-2 conference record over the last two seasons speaks volumes compared to ULL. Defensively, App State has one of the top units in the conference. They allow 23 ppg in conference play and give up 357 total ypg. The Mountaineers are solid against the pass as they only give up 212 ypg, but they are prone to a rushing attack as they give up 145 ypg. However, with ULL’s struggles at the QB position, I believe that Appalachian State will focus on shutting down the run and beat up on whichever quarterback starts for the Ragin Cajuns.
ULL has one of the worst defenses in the conference as they give up 482 total yards per game and 37.9 ppg. The Cajuns give up 225 rushing yards per game and App State gains 202 rushing yards per game. This is where the Mountaineers will take control of this Sun Belt battle.
Last week, App State rushed for 323 yards against Georgia State and was led by Jalin Moore who rushed for 239 yards and a touchdown. He has 802 rushing yards on the season and 7 rushing touchdowns. QB Taylor Lamb has also chipped in 452 yards on the ground for the season and 4 TDs, making this duo a dangerous tandem for ULL to stop.
As a passer, Lamb has 2,364 passing yards and 23 touchdown throws with just 6 interceptions. He’s a dual threat QB that can beat you with his arm or legs. I believe he will be the key in this game. Lamb will team up with Moore to pound the ball against a terrible ULL run defense and then he will make plays with his arm when needed. This could be a repeat of last weekend’s game where App State didn’t even need to throw the ball because they amassed over 300 yards rushing.
For the Ragin Cajuns, I think they come into this game with a clear disadvantage on defense, which will hurt their offense because they will have to play from behind almost all game long. This will eventually cause ULL to abandon their running game that averages 187 ypg to rely on their passing game, which is not that good. Jordan Davis has the most success on the season and that’s nothing to brag about. Davis has 1,281 yards, 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a rating of 119.2. Freshman Levi Lewis has played more over the last month, but his numbers are equally unimpressive with just 281 yards, 2 td’s and 1 interception.
App State is 4-2 ATS in their last 6 home games and they’re 3-0 ATS all-time against ULL. The Ragin Cajuns are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as an underdog of 10.5 to 21 points and they are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games when playing on 6 days of rest or less.
As mentioned, it doesn’t matter which QB plays for ULL, App State’s defense will put the pressure on them by taking away their running game. Conversely, App State will run all over ULL and Lamb will outduel his counterparts. I expect App State to win this one by nearly 3 touchdowns as they have a lot more to play for and have played better all season long. App State wins 38-20.