Louisiana opened the college football season nationally ranked in both of college football’s major polls. After dropping its season-opener versus Texas, the Ragin’ Cajuns bounced back with a win last weekend versus Nicholls State to improve to 1-1. Meanwhile, Ohio is trying to bounce back from a pair of losses. The Bobcats lost their season-opener versus Syracuse and were unable to complete a comeback versus FCS Duquesne last weekend, falling to 0-2 on the year.
Can Ohio bounce back with an upset win on the road versus Louisiana on Thursday night?
Rourke looking to lead Bobcats to first winOhio will take the field this weekend looking for a bounce-back effort following a disappointing 28-26 loss at home against FCS Duquesne last weekend. Sophomore quarterback Kurtis Rourke completed 14 of 22 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions while adding another score on the ground in the loss. O’Shaan Allison rushed for a team-high 76 yards while Ty Walton caught a team-high six passes for 44 yards and a touchdown on the day.
Rourke leads a Bobcats offense that comes in averaging a paltry 17.5 points per game. Ohio has managed just 326/5 total yards, including just 190 yards per game through the air through two contests. The 6-foot-3 sophomore has completed 70 percent of his passes but is averaging just 6.2 yards per attempt with one touchdown and one interception through two games.
After not committing a defensive penalty in the season-opener versus Syracuse, the Bobcats were hurt by penalties in the second half versus Duquesne. Six defensive penalties prevented the defense from getting a meaningful stop. Head coach Tim Albin will have to find a way to clean things up on a short week. Albin is in his first season as head coach after serving as Ohio's offensive coordinator for the past 16 years under Frank Solich. Solich retired in July due to health issues after 55 years in football.
On defense, the Bobcats come into this game ranked 78th in the nation in total defense at 372.5 yards per game. Ohio has given up 5.28 yards per play and it has been gashed on the ground for an average of 225.5 rushing yards per game, 118th in the FBS. The defense has also yet to produce a turnover this season.
Ragin' Cajuns survive late push from Nicholls StateLouisiana survived a close call in a 27-24 win over Nicholls State last weekend. Levi Lewis completed 19--of-33 passes for 304 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions on the night. Michael Jefferson led the team in receiving with three catches for 84 yards and a score while John Stephens Jr. hauled in the other touchdown pass on the night.
Last season, Levi Lewis passed for a record 3,050 yards, rushed for 195 yards, threw for 26 TDs, and only 4 interceptions.— Sidelines - Louisiana (@SSN_Louisiana) June 28, 2020
His development as a QB was clear to see during the LendingTree Bowl.
All Cajun fans should be excited about this guy. #GeauxCajuns #cULture pic.twitter.com/jfYinno9Q4
Lewis has been solid but unspectacular to open his senior season. The 5-11 signal-caller has thrown for 586 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions through the first two games of the season. Coming into the year, he had thrown 45 touchdowns and only 11 picks over the past two seasons while adding a combined eight rushing touchdowns on the ground. He leads an offense that is expected to be one of the best units in the Sun Belt this season. However, Louisiana comes into Thursday’s matchup averaging just 22.5 points per game and only 83 yards per game on the ground.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will have to find a way to improve defensively before the start of Sun Belt play. Through two games, Louisiana ranks 115th in the nation in total defense and 86th against the run at 161 yards per game. Last week against Nicholls State, the defense surrendered 511 total yards, including 359 yards through the air.
- Bobcats are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 Thursday games.
- Bobcats are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog.
- Bobcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. S-Belt.
- Ragin' Cajuns are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS loss.
- Ragin' Cajuns are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite.
- Ragin' Cajuns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
There should be some value on Ohio in this spot. The Bobcats have dropped two in a row to open the year but will be hungry for a win to avoid an 0-3 start. Meanwhile, Louisiana’s offense stalled in last week’s win over FCS Nicholls State, scoring just three points in the second half. The Ragin' Cajuns played well on defense until the final quarter when they gave up touchdowns on back-to-back drives with the game already out of reach. After squeezing out a three-point win as 26-point favorites, it’s hard to trust the Ragin’ Cajuns to get the job done in this spot. Take Ohio to cover the spread on the road in this non-conference battle on Thursday evening.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for 57 points but that number seems a bit low here on a short week of rest. Ohio scored 26 points last week after tallying just three field goals in the opening week loss to Syracuse. Meanwhile, the Ragin’ Cajuns come in scoring just 22.5 points per game but that number should continue to trend up as the season wears along. Ohio has given up at least 28 points in back-to-back games and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Louisiana top that number here. Take this game to go over the projected total on Thursday night.