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Arkansas State Red Wolves vs Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns Preview

Red Wolves Look To Lafayette To  Continue Their March Through The ‘Belt

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas State Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas State (6-4, 6-0) at Louisiana (4-6, 3-3) |Nov. 26, 2016 - Cajun Field @ Lafayette, La. - 11:00 a.m. Radio: EAB Red Wolves Sports Network (107.9 FM, flagship) Television: American Sports Network, ESPN3 Live Stats: Live Game Notes: Vegas Line: ASU -5.5 O/U 49


The 44th edition of this mid south rivalry finds two programs going in different directions and not just in the context of this season. The Red Wolves have used a stifling defense to overcome a disastrous 0-4 start to reel off 6 straight wins to place themselves at the top of the Sun Belt standings. The Cajuns are staring down a 2nd consecutive losing season after a string of 4 years (2011-2014) where they challenged for the conference championship and winning bowl games.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Arkansas State
Ja'Von Rolland Jones eyes the Sun Belt sack record.
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

ALL ABOUT THE D: After giving up 144 points in the first four non conference contests, the Red Wolves D has now surrendered only 84 points in 6 conference games(14 pts per game). Senior Chris Odom was named the Sun Belt Defensive POTW after ASU’s 35-3 win over #25 Troy. What did Odom do to do deserve the honor? He forced two fumbles including one he recovered for a touchdown. He tallied three tackles, one tackle for loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry. DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones needs one sack to become the Sun Belt Conference all time sacks leader (26).

SENIOR DAY FOR MCGUIRE, FINALLY!: Well the day has finally come that all Red Wolves fans have waited for, Elijah McGuire’s senior day! There is always an opposing player who seems to be a permanent fixture on campus, and for the Cajuns, it’s star RB Elijah McGuire. On his way out the door, McGuire has rushed for 920 yards on 177 carries averaging 5 yards per carry. He is over 4000 yards rushing for his career.

HOME UNSWEET HOME (KINDA): The Cajuns beat Troy 41-36 on November 7, 2013 at Cajun Field but since then have not won a November home game, dropping four straight. As Lee Corso would say “Not so fast my friend.” The Cajuns have won nine of the last 10 against ASU at Cajun Field though with the Red Wolves lone victory coming in 2012 (50-27).

WHEN LAST WE MET: 10/20/2015 The Red Wolves raced out to a 34-14 halftime lead by a 306 yard rushing performance combined between Michael Gordon (73 yards), Warren Wand (98 yards), and Fredi Knighten (73 yards) eventually holding on for a 37-27 victory. ULL QB Jalen Nixon threw for 253 yards but was only 17-44 with 2 interceptions. The Cajuns went on to lose 4 out of the next 6 games enroute to a 4-8 regular season record while the Red Wolves would win 5 in a row afterwards to finish 9-3 and a Sun Belt championship.

BIG KEY TO THE GAME: The need to create pressure and keep ULL QB Anthony Jennings off balance will dictate this game. Jennings has thrown more INTs(10) than TDs(9) and is not afraid to pull the ball down and run (189 yards and 4 TDs in the last 2 games.) The need can be filled by Rolland-Jones and Chris Odom who have combined for 13 sacks in conference play. The defense has also had 8 interceptions in conference play due to the increased pressure.