Game Time: 8PM ET, Wednesday October 9th 2019
Location: Cajun Field, Lafayette, Louisiana
Radio: Appalachian Sports Network
Previous Meeting: App State won 30-19 in 1st Sun Belt Championship Game
All Time: App State 6-0 all time vs UL
Spread: UL -1, O/U 69.5
The next step in the quest for a conference championship game berth has arrived for Coach Drinkwitz and the Mountaineers. Not only does this team have Sun Belt title hopes but also NY6 hopes start to grow as App State maintains their perfect record on the year. App State heads to Cajun country a 1 point underdog along with just a projected 35.8% chance to win according to the ESPN FPI.
Keeping a chip on their shoulder could be the exact thing this group needs to find that next level of success. Zac Thomas has started to come into his own in the new look Drink offense and has started to grow into an even more well-rounded QB. Darrynton Evans has shown why he is one of the better running backs in the country this year with 9 touchdowns in 4 games to go with 471 yards.
Thomas Hennigan has suddenly became the favorite target of Zac Thomas this year as Hennigan has registered 21 receptions for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns and also been about as sure handed as they come. The offense is averaging 47 points per game along with 429 yards of total offense per game.
Defense has been the main concern in 2019. Flashes of the previously stout defenses were shown against UNC but other than that fans have been wanting to see more from Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof’s side of the ball. This is a Cajun offense that has been stellar in running the football but run defense is the the bright spot for this App defense as they only give up 165 yards on the ground per game.
Two names to note: Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell. They are the two-headed monster that is the UL offense. Levi Lewis is a really good QB but this is a running team and they have 2 dynamic guys that can get it done. Lewis has been accurate this year, completing 65% of his passes through 5 games for 980 yards and only 2 interceptions.
Two other guys jump off the page as far as go to receivers go. Ja’Marcus Bradley leads the team in catches with 22 for 352 yards and 4 TDs. Not far behind in the catch department is Jamal Bel with 21 grabs for 241 yards. Although Bel doesn’t have any touchdowns yet, this is a kid that the Cajuns can move down the field with.
The Cajun defense has only surrendered about 21 points per game and have held teams under 200 yards per game in both rushing and passing. Jacques Boudreaux has been a tackling machine on defense with 33 total tackles, 17 of them solo. One key note to watch is the kicking game for UL as kicker Stevie Artigue has only hit 2/6 FG for 33% with a long of 27 yards. If it comes down to a field goal it could be interesting.
From the start of the season this was a game I saw as a trap game for App State and obviously most of America thinks so too. Both teams have had extra time to prepare and heal up any small injuries. Under the bright Wednesday night lights anything can happen and the Sun Belt needs whoever wins this game to win the conference championship for any hope of a NY6 appearance.
I think this game will be a shoot-out and it will go down to the last possession. This is a chance for App State to put something together as a win this week would keep the dream of a special season alive.
App State 44 Louisiana 41