Louisiana-Monroe stayed close with LSU for most of its game last week. The Warhawks will try to do the same thing on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Louisiana. The Rajin’ Cajuns have already booked their spot in the Sun Belt title game and are currently on a 10-game winning streak.
Rodriguez making third start since returningLouisiana-Monroe was hoping to become bowl eligible this season, but a four-game losing streak since Oct. 30 has dashed those hopes. The Warhawks opened the year with a 4-3 record, moving within two games of bowl eligibility. They were 3-point underdogs in a 27-19 loss to Texas State and they were 3-point favorites in a 27-24 loss to Arkansas State two weeks ago. Louisiana-Monroe pushed a disinterested LSU team for most of last week’s game, but the Tigers ended up escaping with a 27-14 win. The Warhawks easily covered the 29-point spread.
🍂 𝗛𝗔𝗣𝗣𝗬 𝗧𝗛𝗔𝗡𝗞𝗦𝗚𝗜𝗩𝗜𝗡𝗚 🦃 pic.twitter.com/znwbHEhKP1— ULM Football (@ULM_FB) November 25, 2021
Louisiana-Monroe has struggled offensively this season, ranked No. 113 in yards per game (329.4). Junior quarterback Rhett Rodriguez was the starter early in the year, but he suffered a punctured lung in a win over Troy at the end of September. He missed more than a month of playing time before returning in the loss to Arkansas State. Rodriguez completed 12 of 22 pass attempts for 157 yards and one touchdown at LSU last week. Wide receiver Boogie Knight has caught a team-high 43 passes for 541 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Andrew Henry has rushed 127 times for 490 yards and four scores. They will be facing a Louisiana defense that ranks No. 42, allowing 351.9 yards per game.
Louisiana led by strong rushing attack, defenseLouisiana opened the season with a 38-18 loss at then-No. 18 Texas, but it has rattled off 10 consecutive wins since then. The Rajin’ Cajuns are coming off one of their most dominant performances of the season, blowing out Liberty on the road as 4-point underdogs. They have been favored in every other conference game outside of a 41-13 win over Appalachian State in early October. Louisiana clinched its spot in the Sun Belt championship several weeks ago, but that has not been an issue in its performances since then.
That defense, though. 👀 pic.twitter.com/xji4ygkrPF— Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® Football (@RaginCajunsFB) November 24, 2021
The Rajin’ Cajuns rank No. 65 in total offense, averaging 408.8 yards per game. Quarterback Levi Lewis has completed 61.4% of his passes for 2,274 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has done a nice job of ball control, throwing just four interceptions. Wide receiver Michael Jefferson has caught 13 passes for a team-high 332 yards, averaging 25.5 yards per game. Running back Chris Smith has rushed 134 times for 803 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Montrell Johnson has added 130 attempts for 714 yards and 11 touchdowns. They are going up against a Louisiana-Monroe defense that is No. 117, allowing 458.2 yards per game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Louisiana-Monroe took advantage of an LSU team that was not fully motivated last week, easily covering the big spread. The Warhawks have another chance to cover the spread against a team that might not be completely motivated this week. Louisiana has already clinched its spot in the Sun Belt title game and is a big favorite on Saturday, so a lackluster performance would not be entirely surprising. Louisiana-Monroe has covered the spread in its last five road games against the Rajin’ Cajuns. Rodriguez’s return from his punctured lung is not being fully accounted for in this spread.
Full-Game Total Pick
Louisiana has been an under team throughout the season. It does not have an explosive offense, but it controls the tempo with a strong rushing attack. The Rajin’ Cajuns are also great on the defensive side of the ball, which is why they have gone under in eight of their 11 games this season. Louisiana-Monroe is also a run-heavy team and its defense is coming off a strong performance last week. I expect a lackluster effort from Louisiana in the fourth quarter of a game that does not mean that much to them.