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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Georgia Dome (28,155) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Louisiana 4-0, GSU 0-5. Away Record: Louisiana 3-2, GSU 0-4. Neutral Record: Louisiana 0-0, GSU 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 4-0, GSU 0-4. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams on opposite ends of the Sun Belt Conference standings will tangle at the Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon, as the first- place Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns take on the last-place Georgia State Panthers.
After a sluggish 0-2 start, Louisiana has caught fire with seven straight victories, four of which have come in Sun Belt play, as it has opened up a one-game lead over Arkansas State in the standings with a win over the Red Wolves under its belt. The Cajuns outlasted Troy on Nov. 7, 41-36, and they are bowl eligible for the third straight season after having never played in a bowl prior to 2011.
At the other end of the spectrum is Georgia State, which is still winless in its inaugural FBS campaign and is bringing up the rear in the Sun Belt at 0-4. After a two-game road trip, the Panthers returned home on Nov. 2 only to lose to Western Kentucky, 44-28.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between the newly-formed conference rivals.
The Cajuns have found success this season behind their high-flying offense, which puts up a league-best 38.2 points per game. In their latest shootout victory, they scored more than 40 points for the second straight week despite posting a modest 378 yards.
The squad has leaned heavily on the rushing attack this season and to great effect (223.0 ypg). Alonzo Harris is the primary beneficiary, turning 143 carries into 719 yards, and his 12 rushing scores a tied for most in the conference. Elijah McGuire is used sparingly with just 64 carries, but he has shown an explosive burst with 579 yards (9.0 ypg) and six scores.
Terrance Broadway has also demonstrated solid running ability (313 yards, seven TDs), but he is far from a one-trick pony under center. The junior quarterback has completed more than 64 percent of his passes for 1,864 yards, tossing twice as many touchdowns (14) as interceptions (seven).
Jamal Robinson has emerged as Broadway's top target, as he has hauled in 39 balls for 650 yards and six touchdowns, all career-highs for the junior.
Things have been a little more shaky on the defensive side of the ball for Louisiana (26.8 ppg, 387.8 ypg). The unit nearly allowed Troy to get back into the game late the last time out, allowing 469 yards and 36 points.
Justin Anderson has been one of the conference's best linebackers. Not only does he have 95 tackles, more than twice as many as his closest teammate, he has forced three fumbles, recovered two, and picked off a pass. Dominique Tovell clogs the line with 9.0 TFL, while Darius Barksdale and T.J. Worthy both have a pair of interceptions.
Even though Georgia State tied a season-high last week with 28 points, its offense has still been stuck in neutral for the most part this season, ranking last in the league in scoring at just 17.1 ppg.
With the deck stacked against him, Ronnie Bell has found a way to have some marginal success under center with 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns (one rushing), but he is completing less than 50 percent of his passes and has tossed nine picks.
Bell has the good fortune of throwing to one of the most underrated receivers in the nation in Albert Wilson. Even though he oftentimes faces double coverage as the team's only viable playmaker, he still has 50 receptions for a Sun Belt-best 870 yards and six touchdowns. Robert Davis (34 receptions, 481 yards, four TDs) is also in the midst of a decent season.
The Panthers' rushing attack has been spinning its wheels, averaging only 92.9 ypg. Travis Evans leads the way with 363 yards and two scores, but on only 3.4 yards per carry.
If a poor offense wasn't bad enough for Georgia State, it is also plagued by the conference's worst defense (36.9 ppg, 478.2 ypg).
Joseph Peterson has a team-best 67 tackles, while Brent McClendon (two INTs, two FF) has accounted for four of the team's 12 takeaways. Jarrell Robinson and Allen McKay are the only players with multiple sacks (two apiece).
With Louisiana trending upward and Georgia State struggling to get out of its own way, the writing is on the wall in this one. The home field advantage won't mean anything, as the Cajuns are destined to come out victorious once again
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 49, Georgia State 24
11/14 16:03:59 ET
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