The Texas State (1-3, 0-0) will travel to face the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (1-3, 0-0) in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both schools Saturday evening. Louisiana-Lafayette has won the last two meetings, including a 34-10 romp on the road on October 14, 2014 as a 2.5 point underdog in the most recent meeting.
Texas State was clobbered 59-14 on the road by Houston two weeks ago; they are coming off a bye last week. Louisiana-Lafayette was flattened 43-14 by Louisiana Tech last week for their second straight defeat. Kickoff from Cajun Field in Lafayette, Louisiana is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN3. Louisiana-Lafayette is currently a 4 point favorite with the over/under set at 72 points in this contest.
Texas State has had major issues defensively and that continued with the loss to Houston as they allowed at least 56 points for the third time in four games. The Bobcats allowed 689 yards to the Cougars as they were outgained by 288 yards in the contest. Texas State also committed four turnovers while failing to record a takeaway. One of those turnovers was a pick six that added insult to injury for the Bobcats as they were outscored 52-7 after tying the game 7-7 in the first quarter.
The Bobcats are well above average offensively as they are 29th in passing (278.2 yards) and 30th in rushing offense (207 yards) per game; they are averaging 35 points a game. Texas State can’t stop a Pop Warner team as they are 128th by allowing 49.5 points per contest. Two quarterbacks for Texas State have completed 106 of 160 passes for 1,113 yards with seven touchdowns and two picks. Tyler Jones, the starter at quarterback, leads the Bobcats on the ground with 282 yards and four scores. Robert Lowe (43 carries, 243 yards, 3 TD) and Chris Nutall (28 carries, 126 yards, 4 TD) are the top two backs in the system. Jafus Gaines leads Texas State with 19 receptions for 233 yards and a touchdown; C.J. Best (17 grabs, 152 yards) and Demun Mercer (14 catches, 203 yards, 2 TD) are other targets for Jones to look to. Two kickers have combined to hit 14 of 16 extra points and just 3 of 6 field goal attempts this season.
Louisiana-Lafayette jumped to a 7-0 lead but that was the extent of the good news for them on the afternoon. They allowed the next 36 points before finding the scoreboard again in the game and ended up getting pasted. The Ragin’ Cajuns were outgained 428-331 in the game and were hurt by three turnovers; one of which was a pick six as the first half expired, putting Louisiana-Lafayette in a 29-7 hole at intermission.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are putting up 193.5 yards per game through the air while they are 24th in the nation in rushing offense by chalking up 217 yards per contest. Louisiana-Lafayette averages 26 points per game but is currently 102nd in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 33.8 points per game. Two quarterbacks have nearly split the reps this season but they’ve had issues as they have completed 57.3 percent of their passes for 774 yards with two touchdown passes and six interceptions. Elijah McGuire is the feature back for Louisiana-Lafayette with 69 carries for 415 yards and six scores. Torrey Pierce chips in 184 yards and three scores on 30 carries this season. Gabe Fuselier leads the Ragin’ Cajuns with 17 receptions for 131 yards and a score; McGuire has grabbed 13 passes out of the backfield while Jamal Robinson has 12 catches for 178 yards on the year. Stevie Artigue has booted 11 of 12 extra points and both his field goal attempts.
Louisiana-Lafayette is 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven conference games, 4-1 ATS in their last five after a straight up loss by at least 20 points and 16-5 ATS in their last 21 after allowing at least 40 points. Texas State is 2-5 ATS in their last seven in October and 1-4 ATS in their last five on turf.
This one is a battle of two teams that have been lambasted in recent weeks. Texas State hasn’t stopped anyone this season; when you give up at least 56 points three times in four games, you have to wonder if they can stop anyone. The Bobcats can’t win shootouts and they’ll end up on the wrong end of the scoreboard here; Louisiana-Lafayette wins by double figures.