Texas State (3-1) at Louisiana (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajun Field (31,000) -- Lafayette, Louisiana.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Texas State 2-0, Louisiana 1-0. Away
Record: Texas State 1-1, Louisiana 1-2. Neutral Record: Texas State 0-0,
Louisiana 0-0. Conference Record: Texas State 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Series
Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats and the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will open
up Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday evening when the squads meet up at
Texas State is off to an outstanding start to the 2013 campaign, and at 3-1 it
is just one win away from matching last season's total. The Bobcats took care
of business against Southern Miss (22-15), Prairie View A&M (28-3) and Wyoming
(42-21), with their only loss coming on the road against nationally-ranked
Texas Tech (33-7).
Louisiana opened its season with a pair of difficult road tests, losing at
Arkansas (34-14) and Kansas State (48-27) to begin the year at 0-2. The Cajuns
have since rebounded with back-to-back wins, dismantling Nicholls State at
home on Sept. 14 (70-7), and claiming a strong road victory over Akron on
Sept. 21 (35-30).
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
The Bobcats have found success this season despite owning one of the Sun
Belt's worst offenses. The unit puts up just 24.8 ppg on 326.8 ypg and
converts fewer than 36 percent of its third-down opportunities, but things are
looking up after a recent switch under center.
With Tyler Arndt (366 yards, zero TDs, INT) proving ineffective through the
first three games, Texas State turned to Tyler Jones against Wyoming, and the
freshman impressed in his first start by completing 14-of-18 passes for 196
yards and a score while rushing for another 56 yards.
More than 63 percent of the Bobcats' plays have been rushing, and both Robert
Lowe (279 yards, five TDs) and Chris Nutall (237 yards, four TDs) have taken
advantage of the ground-heavy approach.
Andy Erickson (116 yards) and Isaiah Battle (108 yards) each have 13
receptions, while Bradley Miller leads the team with 128 receiving yards. The
receivers should expect to be more active in the coming weeks with Jones
taking over at quarterback.
Texas State's bread and butter is its play on defense, as it ranks first in
the league in allowing just 18.0 ppg, and its effort against the run (62.5
ppg) is third-best in the nation behind only Michigan State and Florida.
David Mayo is a multi-dimensional linebacker with 29 tackles, two
interceptions and a sack, while Michael Orakpo wreaks havoc in the backfield
with 5.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Louisiana's offense has picked up the pace in recent weeks, scoring 105 points
over its last two games, and it now leads the league with 36.5 ppg.
Terrance Broadway is an impressive dual-threat option at quarterback,
completing nearly 63 percent of his passes for 818 yards, six touchdowns and
four interceptions, while rushing for 151 yards and four additional scores.
Broadway accounted for 373 total yards and five touchdowns against Akron en
route to winning Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week award for
the week of Sept. 21.
The Cajuns employ a backfield by committee, and while Alonzo Harris (251
yards, two TDs) gets the most work, Elijah McGuire (186 yards, three TDs) and
Torrey Pierce (150 yards, two TDs) have also been productive. All three
average at least 5.6 yards per carry.
Jamal Robinson is Broadway's preferred target in the passing game, as he has
reeled in 19 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns. He had a career-high
eight receptions in a 124-yard, two-touchdown performance at Akron.
Louisiana could stand to improve on the defensive side of the ball, as it
surrenders nearly 30 points per game while allowing foes to convert 45 percent
of their third-down opportunities.
Justin Anderson is a bona fide playmaker in the middle of the field, having
posted 42 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 0.5 sack and an interception that he returned 58
yards for a touchdown against Nicholls State. Overall, the defensive unit has
made up for lackluster play in the early going by creating 10 turnovers.
Texas State may have some limitations on offense, but its outstanding defense
has all but assured that it will be remain competitive in most games, as it
proved at Texas Tech a few weeks back. Broadway and company will have
difficulty finding running lanes against a stacked Bobcats' front, but in
front of the home crowd, the Cajuns should complete enough big passing plays
to earn the victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 23, Texas State 20
10/02 10:36:50 ET
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