The Louisiana Ragin Cajuns are riding a big wave of momentum after winning two straight and now are getting ready for an incredibly tough stretch of games with a mid-day kickoff against Appalachian State.
Without any further delay, let’s get into the preview!
Last Time Out:
The Cajuns offense exploded for a program record 759 yards of total offense en route to a 66-38 win
over New Mexico State. The Mountaineers had last weekend off after coming away with a dominant 35-9 win over Arkansas State.
The last time these two teams faced off wound up marking the official end of the Mark Hudspeth era when the Mountaineers dominated in Boone, North Carolina with a 63-14 loss for the Cajuns. In fact, the Mountaineers have won every single meeting since joining the conference back in 2014.
Storylines to Watch:
Next Mountaineer Up:
While the Mountaineers dominated the Red Wolves of Arkansas State this past Tuesday, they wound up losing one of their star players in Jalin Moore for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury. With that in mind, it will likely be a next man up situation for App State and it seems like Darrynton Evans would be the favorite to be the starter.
That being said, losing a running back that has racked up 1,000 yards the last two seasons is a huge loss for this team and will put extra emphasis on sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas and the air attack of the Mountaineers.
Sustaining Early Success
One of the big things the Cajuns have done this season is start fast. In fact, they have racked up 66 points in the first quarter alone for an average of 11 points and were only shut out in the ballgame against Alabama. Just last week alone, they put up 28 points in the first quarter against New Mexico State and head coach Billy Napier talked a lot about the fact that this team needs to sustain their early success.
One of the biggest negatives for the Cajuns, even in a win, was the fact that they weren’t able to destroy the last bit of confidence that the Aggies had on Saturday and kept letting them get close to them. Napier wants this team to land that finishing blow after a strong start to help the Cajuns come away with some more wins.
Searching for Statement Win
One of the big knocks on the Hudspeth era was the fact that there was no statement win. Outside of the almost upset against Florida, the Cajuns just got the wins they were supposed to and when the newcomers to the Sun Belt came around, things started to get a little stagnant because the battle at the top got a lot more difficult with App State and Georgia Southern making immediate impacts.
On the surface, beating Appalachian State isn’t a statement like a win against Florida would’ve been but think about the history of this matchup and some of the implications if they can keep rolling. If the Cajuns get the win, these fans are going to be a lot more excited about the team than they were about a month ago when they lost to Coastal Carolina.
Louisiana Will Win If:
The Cajuns can pull off the upset if the defense can cause some pressure on Thomas. As mentioned earlier, the passing game seems to be a more integral part of the Mountaineers offense and the Cajuns will need to get some pressure on Appalachian State’s sophomore quarterback if they want to get off the field quicker.
Appalachian State Will Win If:
The Mountaineers can come away with a win if they can win the turnover battle.The Cajuns turnover margin isn’t horrible (-2), but Appalachian State has shown the propensity to pick off the quarterback and that’s where the Cajuns have been weakest. They rattle the cage of Andre Nunez and Levi Lewis, it’s going to be another long day for the Cajuns at The Rock.