Appalachian State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Wednesday’s matchup between the Mountaineers and Ragin’ Cajuns in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Game Preview
When: Wednesday, October 12 – 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA
Appalachian State and Louisiana-Lafayette enjoyed a break in the action last weekend. This Wednesday, they get a rare chance to showcase in front of a national audience. The Mountaineers remain on target to make a run at the Sun Belt title in 2016, opening the conference schedule with a 17-3 win over Georgia State on Oct. 1. The bye has afforded a much-needed respite for injured players, like star RB Marcus Cox. The Cajuns are excited to play at home for the first time. Mark Hudspeth’s kids have hit a crossroad in their season, needing to chart a new path following back-to-back multi-overtime road losses at Tulane and New Mexico State.
What To Know About Appalachian State
App State is a very talented team that hasn’t quite clicked yet. After making national headlines for nearly taking down Tennessee in the opener, the Mountaineers were trucked by Miami, sprung defensive leaks in a win over Akron and failed to inspire in the disposal of Georgia State. QB Taylor Lamb, his production down considerably from 2015, has been a microcosm for the team’s erratic behavior. Sure, Cox has been missed, but sophomore Jalin Moore has filled in exceedingly well, rushing for 406 yards over the last two games. Long term, App State will be fine on D, thanks to stoppers like linebackers Eric Boggs, John Law and Kennan Gilchrist.
What to Know About Louisiana-Lafayette
The Cajuns boast a handful of really good individual parts. Elijah McGuire is one of the Sun Belt’s premier running backs. QB Anthony Jennings began his career at LSU. And the D leads the league in sacks and tackles for loss, thanks to pressure from DE Trev Miller and linebackers Otha Peters, Joe Dillon and Tre’maine Lightfoot. But the team needs to learn how to deliver in key spots … and defend the pass better. Louisiana-Lafayette stands last in the conference in pass defense, even struggling against the weaker quarterbacks on the schedule.
Offense: Appalachian State. While the backs will take center stage in a terrific battle, the Mountaineers sport the more consistent quarterback.
Defense: Appalachian State. The Cajuns’ issues versus the pass undermine how well they defended the run in September.
Special Teams: Louisiana-Lafayette. Steven Coutts is an all-league punter, and Stevie Artigue has already hit 10 field goals.
Coaching: Push. Very good coaching battle between the proven veteran, Hudspeth, and the up-and-comer, App State’s Scott Satterfield.
Intangibles: Louisiana-Lafayette. Both teams are rested. The Cajuns will be energized by their first appearance in Lafayette since Sept. 17.
Matchup To Watch
Lamb vs. the Louisiana-Lafayette secondary
Lamb is the key to Appalachian State’s success, regardless of whether Moore or Cox is shouldering the ground load. Lamb needs to start fast, stretch the field and take advantage of a Cajun secondary that’s been soft in coverage, particularly when opponents cross the 50-yard line.
Spread: Appalachian State -11
Over/Under: No line (as of posting)
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Prediction
Interesting matchup, particularly for staffers at Doak Walker Award HQ, where running backs are evaluated. The backs, McGuire and either Cox or Moore, will shine. But Appalachian State’s edge will be most visible at quarterback and on defense. No, Lamb hasn’t been prolific, but Jennings has been slow to develop in his debut in Lafayette. And the LSU transfer will have a difficult time solving a veteran Mountaineer defense ready to shoulder more of the load if necessary. App State will survive on the road in a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest.
Appalachian State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Score Prediction: Appalachian State 28, Louisiana-Lafayette 23