For the second straight week, we are treated to Tuesday night football in the Sun Belt Conference, where the superior defense of Arkansas State should prevail over UL Lafayette.
We have another week of Tuesday night college football in the Sun Belt Conference and two of the better teams in the conference collide when the Arkansas State Red Wolves (4-2, 5-1 ATS) pay a visit to the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (3-3, 2-4 ATS) at Cajun Field in Lafayette, LA at 8:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.
The posted line at Pinnacle Sports is Arkansas State -2 for this contest at current odds of -106.
Major Turnover, Nice Results
There has been a lot of turnover at Arkansas State both on the field and on the sideline this year, as besides Blake Anderson being the fifth head coach of the Red Wolves in five years, they also entered the season with 29 freshmen and sophomores on the depth chart. Yet, the three-time defending conference champs again look like a force to be reckoned with at 4-2 overall, 2-0 in conference and 5-1 ATS, only failing to cover on the road vs. the Miami Hurricanes!
UL Lafayette is also a perfect 2-0 as college football picks inside the Sun Belt Conference, but the Ragin’ Cajuns strong suit is running the football and just being home here may not be enough to get them by if that cannot run as well as usual vs. what has been as stout ASU run defense. It is no small coincidence that ULL is 3-0 this season in games where it has outrushed its opponent and 0-3 in games where it has been outrushed.
Possibly Best Defense in Sun Belt
People do not usually equate the Sun Belt Conference and defense, but one reason for Arkansas State’s continued success in the conference is that it has gone against that grain by having one of the best defenses in the conference for several years, and this season has been their best defensive season yet statistically through the early going even with all the young faces!
Arkansas State ranks a respectable 45th in the country overall in total defense yielding 360.2 total yards per game and an amazing 22nd in rushing defense, yielding only 114.7 yards per game on the ground on a scant 3.1 yards per carry. And it is not as if ASU played a soft non-conference schedule either, as besides the one non-cover at Miami, the Red Wolves did cover the spread in a 34-19 loss at Tennessee and they beat Utah State outright at home.
That strong non-conference slate has served the Wolves well in conference play, as most recently they annihilated Georgia State 52-10 on the road when they last played on Saturday, October 11th.
Easy Win Last Tuesday
UL Lafayette is playing for the second consecutive Tuesday and we must admit that we were surprised how easily ULL beat Texas State 34-10 on the road last week. The Cajuns accumulated 528 yards in that contest with 288 of them coming on the ground while holding what we felt was a pretty good Bobcats’ team to 270 total yards.
Still, Lafayette is allowing an average of 426.7 total yards per game this season on 6.2 yards per play overall, which is over a full yard higher than the 4.9 yards per play Arkansas State has allowed despite a difficult non-conference schedule. And the Ragin’ Cajuns’ run-heavy offense averaging 194.8 rushing yards per game may not serve them well here either, given that plays into the strength of the Red Wolves’ defense.
And as we alluded to earlier, when UL Lafayette has not outrushed its opponent, it has not won as the Cajuns rank just 84th nationally in passing offense with quarterback Terrance Broadway having more interceptions (8) than touchdown passes (7).
Finally, the road teams have had nice recent success in this series going 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head meetings, including Arkansas State’s authoritative 50-27 win the last time it visited Lafayette two seasons ago.
Look for that visitors’ success to continue for another year here with Arkansas State stuffing the Ragin’ Cajuns’ running game and emerging triumphant at UL Lafayette on Tuesday.
College Football Pick: Arkansas State -2 (-106)