Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football vs. Texas State: Scouting report, score prediction
The Ragin’ Cajuns have won six straight games, including four consecutive Sun Belt Conference games, since losing their season opener at Texas.
UL is 14-0 under coach Billy Napier against West teams and 8-0 all-time against Texas State.
The Cajuns are coming off a 28-27 win Oct. 21 at Arkansas State. The Bobcats (2-5, 1-2) have dropped two straight and four of five, including last Saturday’s 28-16 loss at Georgia State.
If UL follows its game plan from last season, it should be well-balanced. But it’s worth paying attention to Cajun running backs.
Against Arkansas State, Smith had 24 carries for 238 yards, including touchdowns of 6 and 74 yards, and Johnson ran 17 times for 150 yards, including TDs of 99 and 3 yards. In his previous game, Johnson had 103 yards and a touchdown and Smith had two TDs in a 41-13 win over Appalachian State.
Johnson’s 99-yard touchdown was the longest TD run by a Sun Belt player since Jordan Parker had a 98-yarder for Middle Tennessee State, now in Conference USA, against Troy in 2012.
The 238 rushing yards against A-State by Smith were the fifth most in UL history and the most since Elijah McGuire had 223 against South Alabama in 2016.
UL has proven it can put up points on Texas State, averaging 37.4 in eight meetings, all since 2013. It has scored at least 31 in three straight games against the Bobcats and six of the eight.
The Cajuns produced 31 first downs and 614 yards of total offense, including 332 yards passing, in a wild win last season. But they had four turnovers, including three lost fumbles, and 11 penalties for 122 yards in the same game, so ball security is imperative.
Texas State’s Brady McBride
“Mobile quarterbacks have given us some issues,” Napier said.
“It’s the unannounced play, right? It’s the scramble for a first down, it’s the ability to extend a play so you’ve got to stay in coverage longer. Certainly that will be a big part of the strategy, is how do we keep this guy (McBride) from breaking the pocket and (creating). … He’s got a knack for doing that.”
McBride, a transfer from Memphis, has thrown for three touchdowns twice this season.
McBride has two especially productive targets: Javen Banks and Marcell Barbee.
Each Texas State receiver has 28 catches and four TDs in seven games this season.
Levi Lewis still needs three touchdown passes to pass Jake Delhomme (64) for first on UL’s career leaders list.
Lewis, who threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns at Texas State last season, passed Terrance Broadway on UL’s career passing yards leaders list at A-State. He’s now second behind Delhomme (9,216) with 7,713.
UL 35, Texas State 21: The Cajuns haven’t made it easy on themselves lately, winning two of their last three, at Arkansas State and South Alabama, by two points or fewer. But there’s ample reason to suspect UL can make it nine straight against the Bobcats in a series that has been lopsided since they joined the Sun Belt.