Date: Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Location: Joan C. Edwards Stadium - Huntington, West Virginia
ESPN FPI: Marshall 74.0%
Betting Line: Marshall -7.5, O/U 47.5
Series History: The first meeting between these two teams came at the end of last season in the New Orleans Bowl. Louisiana won that game 36-21 in Michael Desormeaux’s debut as head coach.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&C’s apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details
Both of these teams entered the year with high expectations, but have hit a few speed bumps along the way. The visiting Cajuns, defending Sun Belt champs, were picked by most outlets, including many of the UDD staff to repeat as champions of the West division. Now at 0-2 in the league and 2-3 overall, Louisiana’s quest for that title needs some help.
Meanwhile, Marshall was expected by quite a few to make some noise in the SBC East. While do have a victory against a then top ten Notre Dame team, their body of work since has been somewhat disappointing. That includes losses to Bowling Green and Troy and a win against FCS foe Gardner-Webb. That’s 3-2 overall and 0-1 in league play.
A key factor in this matchup will be the rushing attacks. Khalan Laborn, a transfer from Florida State, is third in FBS with 146.2 yards per game. He also has the highest yardage total in the Sun Belt with 731 yardsMarshall has almost double the rushing production of Louisiana with 1122 yards on the ground compared to the Cajuns’ 590. Junior Chris Smith leads Louisiana in that category with 264 yards and 47 carries. He can break off long plays when he needs to, as evidenced by putting up a run of at least 47 yards in each of the last four seasons.
Defensively for Marshall, the front seven has plenty of hype around it. However, the last few weeks have allowed the defensive back duo of Micah Abraham and Steven Gilmore to stand out. Both have three interceptions each on the year. The Herd are top three in the SBC in both passing and rushing defense.
Louisiana haven’t been as successful on defense. However, defensive lineman Andre Jones is having a decent campaign with 3.5 sacks through five games. Kick returner Eric Garror has also been fun to watch in the first half of the season with two Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Special Teams Player of the Week awards this year. Garror now holds the school’s record for punt returns for touchdowns.
This should be one of those contests where whoever does a better job of taking care of the ball and controlling time of possession will come out on top. Marshall feels like a little bit safer of a pick in large part due to the talent in their backfield. Marshall 28-21