Georgia at Louisiana
Date/time: Saturday, Oct. 21, 8:00 p.m. EST
Location: Cajun Field, Lafayette, Louisiana
2023 record: GSU 5-1 (2-1 SBC), UL 4-2 (1-1 SBC)
Previous meetings: Louisiana is 6-0 against Georgia State all-time; it most recently beat GSU 21-17 in 2021.
A Quick Look at Louisiana
After quarterback Ben Wooldridge left the Ragin’ Cajuns third game of the year with a foot injury, Louisiana’s season appeared over so soon. The only other upperclassman passer on the roster is Chandler Fields, who lost the job to Wooldridge last year (it’s complicated).
Enter Zeon Chriss, a redshirt freshman from Baton Rouge who completed five of nine passes last season.
Chriss leads the Sun Belt in completion percentage and is 11th in rushing yards. He is dynamic, he is electric, and for UL fans, the best part is that he’s young.
Outside of Chriss, the offense is built of a ton of low volume guys. Jacob Kibodi and Dre’lyn Washington do it on the ground, while Robert Williams, Jacob Bernard, and Peter LeBlanc are the the top receivers.
Chriss, Kibodi, and Washington make up the Sun Belt’s best rushing offense.
Defensively, the Cajuns excel at preventing yards after contact and catch, and have more games with three-plus sacks than two or less.
A Quick Look at Georgia State
The Panthers are just one win away from their fourth bowl game in five years, and history says they should clinch postseason football against Louisiana.
GSU has lost only twice ever as a five-win team; both of those losses came in 2010, the school’s first season of football.
Combine this with an offense that looked borderline unstoppable against Marshall, and you’ve got clear skies ahead for Georgia State. That is, if we get the good Georgia State.
GSU looked questionable in each of their first three games – all wins, but all inferior opponents – and in its one loss this year to Troy, the team showed how dependent it is on quarterback Darren Grainger to get the offense running.
Running back Marcus Caroll, the nation’s third-best rusher this year, is the true superstar of the offense, but Grainger’s three turnovers against the Trojans proved that he is the offense’s ride-or-die.
Grainger is an exceptional runner and has an absolute cannon of an arm. He is utilized on designed runs and options, but his foot skills have been used primarily as a means to set up deep play-action passes...until Marshall.
Against the Herd, Grainger threw just two passes beyond 15 yards, both incomplete. This game came directly following a bye, so it is feasible to believe this may have been an adjustment during the break to last the rest of the season.
Defensively, the Panthers will not “wow” you, but play well enough, so long as the offense scores 28-plus.
They allow the second-fewest rushing yards per game in the Sun Belt but have seen the second-fewest opponent rushing attempts this year.
GSU allows the second-most passing yards per game in the conference, but again, has seen the third-most attempts.
Kevin Swint leads the team in tackles for loss and sacks, and is top-10 for both stats in the conference, but realistically his numbers are not wholly outstanding.
This game will be a good one, frankly, because of what it means for either side. Georgia State is atop the race to replace James Madison as the East representative in the conference championship, but not by much. Louisiana is an outsider looking in as of today, but with no losses to West Division teams, they’re still in the race.
Stopping the Panthers’ offense is a tall task, thus far only done by Troy– and Louisiana’s defense is a tier or two below the Trojans.
GSU’s defense is by no means a side of superstars either, but UL has far less firepower.
Expect the Panthers to leave Lafayette bowl-eligible, but be even more prepared for this to be a shootout.