DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 7th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: ASU Stadium (30,406) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: SunBeltNetwork. Home Record: ULL 3-1, ASU 2-1. Away Record: ULL 1-3, ASU 0-4. Neutral Record: ULL 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: ULL 2-2, ASU 1-2. Series Record: UL-Lafayette leads, 19-17-1.
GAME NOTES: Sun Belt Conference action will take place this Saturday when the Arkansas State Red Wolves host the UL-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns at ASU Stadium.
The Cajuns head into this contest fresh off a heart-breaking, 20-17 overtime loss to Florida International. It was the second straight setback for ULL, which is now an even 2-2 in league action. The Cajuns, who are 1-3 on the road this season, have struggled away from home since the start of the 2007 season, posting a 5-12 ledger as the visitor.
As for the Red Wolves, they were defeated by Louisville this past weekend, 21-13. It was the fifth loss in the last six games for ASU, which comes into this matchup with a 1-2 mark in league action. It has been a struggle for Arkansas State this season, but both of the team's victories have come at home, which is at least something the team can hold on to for this matchup.
The Cajuns hold a slim, 19-17-1 edge over Arkansas State in the all-time series, and that includes a 38-23 victory this past season for the Cajuns.
The Cajuns have been inconsistent throughout the season offensively, and come into this matchup averaging just 22.0 ppg, behind a modest 349.4 total ypg. The passing game has been up and down throughout the season and that is mainly due to Chris Masson, who has thrown for just 1,518 yards and eight scores against six interceptions. The ground game is producing a solid 151.6 ypg, but the team does not possess a workhorse tailback. Udrea Sails was leading the team with 432 yards on the ground, but a broken leg has sidelined him for the season, which means Yobes Walker (308 yards) will have to lead the way down the stretch. The Cajuns racked up 380 total yards in their recent matchup against FIU, but the team still fell to the Golden Panthers, 20-17 in overtime. Masson threw for 254 yards and one touchdown in the loss, but also tossed an interception. The ground game was bottled up for the most part, as the team rumbled for just 126 yards on 2.9 yards per attempt.
On top of the poor play offensively, the Cajuns have also had trouble on the defensive side of the football, and come into this weekend allowing 411.4 total ypg, and that has led to 30.4 ppg. The team has been unable to stop the run or pass, as opponents are gashing ULL for 175.9 ypg on the ground, while torching the defense for another 235.5 ypg through the air. The Cajuns have been able to force mistakes this season, collecting 18 turnovers, but the team has been unable to pressure opposing quarterbacks, and comes into this weekend with only six sacks. In the loss to FIU, the defense was torched for 250 yards through the air, and finished the game with 395 yards against them. The Cajuns forced four turnovers in the game, but allowed the Golden Panthers to convert on 4-of-5 red zone chances. Daylon McCoy was very busy in the loss, as the linebacker racked up 13 tackles, one forced fumble, two interceptions and one sack.
Mediocrity is the perfect term to use when describing Arkansas State's offense, as the team is producing just 24.0 ppg behind a modest 344.6 total ypg. The ground game has been mildly successful, as the team is churning out 143.0 ypg. Reggie Arnold has done the majority of the damage, as the tailback is leading the team with 454 yards and eight scores. Unfortunately the passing attack has dealt with plenty of ups and downs throughout the season, and that is because Corey Leonard has struggled to find his groove. Leonard has thrown for just 1,352 yards and seven scores against five interceptions. The last time Arkansas State was on the field the team posted 348 total yards, but finished with just 13 points. The ground game was bottled up for just 45 yards on 25 carries, but fortunately Leonard had one of his best showings on the year, throwing for 303 yards and one score. However, he also tossed two interceptions and was sacked three times.
The lack of play offensively has overshadowed the defense's strong efforts this year, as the team is holding opponents to just 19.9 ppg on 342.1 total ypg. The Red Wolves have done a solid job against the run, bottling up the opposition to just 108.0 ypg on a mere 3.3 ypc. However, this unit has been unable to make many big plays and comes into this contest with just 11 takeaways (five interceptions and six fumbles), and also has had a tough time putting pressure on quarterbacks, racking up just 12 sacks up to date. Surprisingly in the team's recent loss to Louisville the Red Wolves were pounded on the ground, allowing the Cardinals to churn out 176 yards and two scores on 4.8 yards per attempt. Arkansas State only allowed Louisville to convert 1-of-4 red zone chances, but the defense did struggle on third downs, as the Cardinals were successful on 9-of-19 third down chances.
The Red Wolves have had trouble offensively this season, but the defense should do well enough this weekend against a poor ULL offense to claim a victory at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 27, UL-Lafayette 17