Start Time: 2:00 PM EST, Saturday, November 7
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Records: Louisiana: 3-4. Georgia State: 2-5. Louisiana leads the overall series 2-0.
Live Stats: here.
Line: Louisiana -2. Over/Under: 63.
Louisiana Outlook: The Ragin Cajuns are lucky to be at 3-4 following a comeback win versus ULM last week.
The ability to run the football is a huge part of the identity of the Ragin' Cajuns. Led by running back Elijah McGuire, they are the #11 most successful rushing attack in the nation. They are also #11 nationally in only getting stuffed on 14.6% of all rush attempts. Despite this, they have been unable to get McGuire on track with every defense daring them to pass the ball. Even the most talented running backs in the nation cannot run versus eight and sometimes nine man boxes.
Teams have good reason to dare Louisiana to win with the pass as they are not good it. Starter Jalen Nixon was so bad in the first half of the ULM game that the coaching staff had no choice other than to put in Brooks Haack. Haack, despite getting very few passing opportunities, was solid in leading the Ragin' Cajuns to a comeback win. With the passing game only averaging 196.3 yards per game, expect to see both quarterback get their chance to impress.
The Louisiana defense either has one of best coaching staffs at adjusting at halftime, or they are waiting way to long to acclimate to the game. The defense is giving up just over five points per game in the second half versus Sun Belt competition. That would be great if not for the fact that they have given up 72 first half points in those three games. Run defense is the achilles heel for Louisiana in giving up 189.3 yards per game on the ground.
Players to watch on the Louisiana defense include: Tracy Walker, Dominique Tovell, and Zachary DeGrange.
Georgia State Outlook: Even at 2-5 on the year, it is still possible for the Georgia State Panthers to find their way to six wins.
There are teams that struggle to run the ball, teams that are bad at running the ball, and then there is Georgia State. They are among the worst in the nation in rushing for 88.6 yards per game at a 3.0 yard per carry average. All of the advance statistics scream that the Panthers are completely ineffective in the run game. The combination of Kyler Neal and Demarcus Kirk have been unable to get on track all season.
Behind the strong arm of Nick Arbuckle, the Panthers have the best passing game in the Sun Belt. Even though he has over 2,300 yards passing on the year, Arbuckle only has 13 passing touchdowns, showing an inability of Georgia State to finish drives. The combination of Robert Davis and Penny Hart at wide receiver is pretty much the entire passing game. The duo have a combined 78 catches for 1,170 yards and seven touchdowns. They are targeted on 44.1% of all pass attempts.
The good thing for a team heading to Atlanta is that the Panthers offer little to no resistence on defense. They are giving up 4.7 yards per carry and over 200 yards per game on the ground. In addition, they are giving up 273.5 yards per game in the air. That is good for 481.1 yards per game of total offense given up by the Georgia State defense. It has been tough to watch the Panthers on defense this season.
Players to watch on the Georgia State defense include: Joseph Peterson, Alonzo McGee, and Tarris Batiste.
Prediction: The only way that Georgia State can win this game is if they get into a shootout. The Ragin' Cajuns defense has been good for the most part versus the pass and poor versus the run, a perfect setup to stop the Panthers. Louisiana 38, Georgia State 24.