UL Lafayette (10-2) takes on Appalachian State (11-1) in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game on Saturday. This is a rematch from October 9, when Appalachian State beat Lafayette 17-7. This game might have a bit more scoring than the first matchup. Both offenses have an edge to exploit against their opponent. As of writing this, 55 percent of the tickets are on Appalachian State as a 6.5-point favorite, and 51 percent of bettors are thinking over 56 points.
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Time: 12:00 PM ET
Location: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, North Carolina
UL Lafayette Analysis
The Ragin’ Cajuns have one of the best offenses in the country. They rank fourth in success rate, eighth in points per play, and 18th in points per game. However, they are going up against a defense that ranks sixth in the country in success rate. This will be a tough matchup for Lafayette, as they only scored seven points in their first game against Appalachian State. Yet, they have a significant edge in explosive rushing plays. They rank 30th in the country in explosive runs where App State ranks 129th, second worst in the country. ULL is top-40 in rushing percentage, so this is going to be something they should exploit, and have success against on Saturday. Also, Lafayette does have the edge on the offensive line as they rank in the top-5 in line yards, and stuff rate.
UL Lafayette doesn’t have the same edge on defense as they do on offense. They rank 16th in points per game, but allow 5.4 yards per play, which ranks 54th, and 76th in defensive success. App State ranks 48th in offensive success rate, so the Cajuns will need to find away to keep their offense off the field as much as possible. Also, ULL has one of the worst defensive fronts in college football, so they will struggle trying to slow down the App State offense. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns have one of the best defenses in limiting explosive plays. They rank 13th overall, but rank 56th in rushing explosiveness. This is something their opponent can take advantage of. Their defense does have issues this Saturday, and will need to rely on their offense to sustain long drives.
Appalachian State ranks 21st in the country coming into the Sun Belt Championship Game. Their offense has seen success this season as they rank 10th in the nation in points per game. They have relied on their passing game, and explosive rushing attack to move the football this season. They do have an edge on the ground over ULL, but are an even matchup in the passing game. However, they do have a much better line than their opponent. This should help them control the line of scrimmage throughout. Their offense ranks 48th in success, and is better than Lafayette’s 76th ranked defense. The Mountaineers have some edges on a mediocre Ragin’ Cajuns defense, and will be able to control the ball with it.
App State’s defense is one of the best in the country ranking sixth in success rate. They have held opponents to 19.8 points per game, which is 19th in the country. However, they are susceptible to explosive plays. They rank 115th in this department, and 129th in rushing explosiveness. This was a huge issue in their upset lost to Georgia Southern earlier this season. Now, Georgia Southern ran the triple option, and ULL does not, but the Cajuns do run the ball quite a bit, and can exploit this defense with their rushing attack. This really is App State’s on true weakness on their defense, but it is a weakness their opponent can attack. If they aren’t able to stop Louisiana’s rushing attack, then it could be a long day for the Mountaineers defense.
Betting Pick: UL Lafayette +6.5
The Ragin’ Cajuns explosive rush offense should have a lot of success Saturday. This has been a huge issue all year for Appalachian State to defend, and will struggle to defend it again this weekend. Also, both teams will be able to run the ball at a decent clip, so the clock will be moving most of the game, which inclines me to take the dog here. Less points should favor ULL, and if they have watched any tape this week, they’ll see they need to run the ball at will on the Mountaineers to have a shot at pulling off the upset.