Arkansas State Red Wolves (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns (4-2 SU, 2-4 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Tuesday October 23rd, 2012. 8:00PM Eastern
Where: Cajun Field Lafayette, L.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ASU.+4.5/ULL -4.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
For the 2nd straight week, the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns will entertain college football fans in early week action when they host the Arkansas State Red Wolves from Cajun Field this Tuesday night. Last Tuesday, the Ragin Cajuns held a 13-6 lead on the road at North Texas but the defense wore down in the 2nd half giving up multiple big plays to the Mean Green in a 30-23 loss. It was Louisiana-Lafayette’s first loss in the Sun Belt this season but they can keep their conference hopes alive with a bounce back win over the Red Wolves this week.
Gus Malzahn’s Red Wolves withstood a valiant effort from South Alabama (36-29) last week to improve to 4-3 SU and 2-1 in the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves put the football on the ground 3 times in the game against South Alabama resulting in 3 turnovers and the normally stout offense (448ypg) was held to just 316 total yards. Overall it was just an ugly performance for the Red Wolves and they will have to play much better over the next few weeks as the competition level picks up.
For Coach Malzahn, he has the luxury of having a smart quarterback in his stable which he may rely on heavily over the next few weeks. Senior QB Ryan Aplin has completed 64% passing this season for 1,591 yards with 11 scores and just 2 picks. In the last two weeks, Aplin has hit 32 of 45 passing for 426 yards without any turnovers. This week Aplin will get the chance to showcase his talent against one of the worst pass defenses in the country. The Ragin Cajuns defense has given up 292 yards per game against the pass this season (112th in FBS) and the defense gave up a few costly plays through the air last week that directly led to the loss against North Texas. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how well Aplin can move the football against this Ragin Cajun’s defense through the air this Tuesday night.
However, Arkansas State also has some concerns surrounding their own defense. The Red Wolves have allowed just less than 30 points per game this season and given up 376 yards per game. In actuality, the Red Wolves defensive problems may be a bit of a self-imposed problem. Arkansas State’s offense is normally a quick striking group and the defense rarely has the opportunity to rest from long drives. In the last two games, the Red Wolves have been dominated in the time of possession battle giving up 74 minutes of ball control compared to just 46 minutes of offense. The Ragin Cajuns defense wore down last week as a result of being on the field too long and something tells me the time of possession battle may be very important again this week.
Offensively, Louisiana-Lafayette is not extremely strong on either side of the ball. The Ragin Cajuns average just 404 (62nd in FBS) yards per game on offense and give up 422 yards per game on defense (81st in FBS). Still, the offense is often able to be effective by staying balanced with the run and pass. QB Terrance Broadway is completing 60.2% passing for 877 yards with 5 scores and 2 picks this season. Running backs Alonzo Harris and Effrem Reed are both averaging 5.1 yards per game on the ground this season with 6 combined touchdowns. Since Broadway is not the type of quarterback that you want throwing the football on every play, it will be really important that the Ragin Cajuns offense gets their running game going this Tuesday night. If that happens, it will give the offense many more options later in the game to keep the Red Wolves’ defense off balance.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Ragin Cajuns wore down last week but I do not see that happening again this week. They should have no problem getting their defense some rest this week and keeping the pressure on Arkansas State’s defense. I like Louisiana Lafayette in this one and here are a few angles that should give you more confidence. Arkansas State is 0-5 SU in their last 5 trips to Lafayette and just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against the Ragin Cajuns. Take ULL -4.5!
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