Time and Date: 7:30 PM ET - November 10, 2022
Broadcast Network: ESPN2
Location: Cajun Field - Lafayette, LA
Records: Louisiana 4-5 (2-4), Georgia Southern 5-4 (2-3)
Line: Louisiana -3.5*
Point Total: O/U 61.5*
All-Time Series: Louisiana leads the all-time series 4-1. The Cajuns last won in Statesboro 28-20 in 2021.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Georgia Southern Outlook
The Eagles come into Thursday night’s road contest still trying to wash off the stink of a 14-point blown lead and loss to South Alabama from last Saturday.
While the Southern defense looked like it had finally gained a pulse following wins over James Madison and Old Dominion, the Eagles run defense proved it can still cost the team wins, as La’Damian Webb singlehandedly dragged the Jaguars to a 38-31 win this past weekend.
No matter how this season pans out for GS, the team needs wholesale changes on the defensive side of the ball considering they are fielding a bottom-five total defense (484 YPG allowed) and a bottom-three run defense in the nation (223 YPG allowed). Both personnel and potentially position coaches need to be upgraded if the team wants any hope of being better next season, as the unit has showed no progression from game one to game nine thus far.
Offensively, the Eagles scored enough first half points to give them a pair of 14-point leads last week but squandered all of that momentum by doing next to nothing in the second half. A trio of offensive drives culminating in 48 total yards to close the game led to no points and allowed South Al to pick up the win.
It seems that Georgia Southern struggles to put together full offensive showings this season, either starting slow and then catching on or just mailing in the second half of games like the team did last week. Either way, it’s a flaw that desperately needs to be fixed, but won’t be by the end of this season.
The Cajuns haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire offensively either. New UL starting quarterback Ben Wooldridge has been okay statistically this season with 12 touchdowns to just four picks, but has not generated enough offense to keep the team in games.
Last week against Troy mirrored what Georgia Southern did on the same day, as Louisiana climbed to an early 17-0 lead against the west-leading Trojans before not scoring a single second-half point and watching the game slip away in a 23-17 defeat for the Cajuns.
The running game should be able to find holes in the Eagles’ porous run defense, but the question remains: Will Wooldridge be able to meaningfully contribute to putting points on the board? We know Southern can score.
Defensively, Louisiana has been solid this season, giving up just 346 yards per contest, but the offense has not been able to sustain drives, leaving the Cajuns stop unit on the field for long stretches of time and forcing the defense to have to give up fewer than 21 points to win games.
In my radio spot from earlier this week, I likened this contest to the stoppable force (Louisiana offense) meeting the moveable object (Georgia Southern defense). I think that while Chris Smith and the other Cajun running backs should find plenty of space, I don’t know that UL scores enough points to take this one.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 28, Louisiana 24