Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS, 4-2 O/U) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS, 3-2 O/U)
NCAAF: Thursday, October 19, 2017, Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, Arkansas, 7:30 pm ET
Spread: Arkansas State -12.5; Over/Under: 65
It’s a matchup of Sun Belt foes in the Razorback State. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are on the road to take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves Saturday night. Louisiana won their second straight with a 24-7 home win over Texas State last Thursday. Arkansas State whipped Coastal Carolina 51-17 at home to pick up their third straight win last Saturday. Louisiana has a 20-13 advantage in the all-time series between the teams, including a 24-19 win at home in the last meeting on November 26, 2016.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Seek Third Straight Win
Louisiana got back to the .500 mark with a solid defensive effort and enough offense to get past Texas State. The Ragin’ Cajuns improved to 2-1 in Sun Belt action with the victory. Louisiana took a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and wasn’t seriously challenged in the contest as their lead was single digits after the opening quarter for only about three and a half minutes. The Ragin’ Cajuns held a 367-325 advantage in total yards and forced three turnovers while not committing one of their own. Both teams finished with 19 first downs while Louisiana was edged 30:05 to 29:55 in time of possession.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are 61st in the FBS as they put up an average of 237.8 yards per game through the air and 60th in rushing offense with 171.8 yards per contest. Louisiana is 35th in the country in scoring offense as they average 34.5 points per game but they stand 120th in scoring defense as they give up 39.7 points per contest. Jordan Davis has hit 63 of 107 passes for 676 yards with five touchdowns against four interceptions while adding 102 yards plus two scores on the ground. Andre Nunez is 57 of 88 for 732 yards with four scores against one interception plus 16 rushing yards and a score. Trey Ragas (82 carries, 525 yards, 7 TD) and Elijah Mitchell (42 carries, 257 yards, 4 TD) provide a solid 1-2 punch in the ground game. Keenan Barnes has a team-leading 31 receptions for 434 yards plus two scores. Ryheem Malone (25 receptions, 341 yards, 2 TD) and Michael Jacquet (19 catches, 156 yards) are good receivers as well. Stevie Artigue is 19 of 22 on extra points and three of four on field goals with a long of 38 while Calvin Linden is five of six on extra points and missed his lone field goal attempt.
Arkansas State Red Wolves Look for Home Win
Arkansas State had little problem dealing with Coastal Carolina and rolled to a third straight victory after starting the year 0-2. The Red Wolves improved to 2-0 in Sun Belt action with the one-sided victory. Arkansas State broke open a 17-7 game at the half by scoring 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to take total command of the contest. The Red Wolves had a 475-426 edge in total offense, picked up 27 first downs to the Chanticleers’ 23 and forced the game’s lone turnover. Those numbers helped offset a 31:53 to 28:07 disadvantage in time of possession.
The Red Wolves enter this contest 10th in the FBS in passing offense with 331.4 yards per game through the air and 108th in rushing offense with 123.2 yards per contest. Arkansas State is 14th in the nation in scoring offense with 39.8 points per contest and 72nd in scoring defense by allowing 26.4 points per game. Justice Hansen is 122 of 188 passing for 1,587 yards with 19 touchdowns against six interceptions. Logan Bonner is nine of 20 passing for 70 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Warren Wand is the leader in the ground game with 49 carries for 285 yards plus four scores. Jamal Jones (28 carries, 127 yards) is next in line should Wand go down or need a breather. Chris Murray has 21 receptions for a team-high 347 yards and four scores. Blake Mack (team-high 22 receptions, 281 yards, 6 TD) and Kendrick Edwards (20 grabs, 216 yards, 2 TD) are secondary targets in the passing game. Sawyer Williams is 23 of 26 on extra points and six of seven on field goal attempts with a long of 43 yards.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall
- Red Wolves are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 home games
- Red Wolves are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in October
- Red Wolves are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games
Arkansas State has won three straight games as their offense has really come to life. Hansen has tossed 19 touchdown passes on the year, helping offset the run game for the Red Wolves. Louisiana has been good offensively but their defense has been carved up early and often this season, hence their triple-digit ranking in scoring defense. The Ragin’ Cajuns will have their hands full trying to keep up with the Red Wolves on the road: look for Arkansas State to come up with a victory here.
Pick: Arkansas State Red Wolves
This one has the makings of a shootout given the potential of both offenses to pile up yards and points seemingly at will. The Ragin’ Cajuns seemed to get a jolt from Nunez’s first start under center as they picked up the victory in a game that saw their defense actually show up. Arkansas State lit up the scoreboard as Coastal Carolina was no match for the explosive aerial assault of the Red Wolves. The Ragin’ Cajuns and their massively bad scoring defense has a major challenge in front of them here.
The over is 3-1-1 in the Ragin’ Cajuns last 5 Thursday games. Arkansas State has seen the over go 9-2 in their last 11 games in October, 22-7-1 in their last 30 conference games and 12-5 in their last 17 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game. Given the offenses in this contest and the suspect defensive units on both teams, this one should end up going over the total. After all, that’s why they call it the Fun Belt.