Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Cajun Field, Lafayette, LA
Where to watch: ESPN
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Louisiana -11.5; O/U 53
BetMGM: Louisiana -10.5; O/U 53.5
Caesars: Louisiana -11; O/U 53
Georgia State: 4-4 (3-1 Sun Belt)
No. 24 Louisiana-Lafayette: 7-1 (5-0 Sun Belt)
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Georgia State - Louisiana preview and analysis
Georgia State: won 21-14 at Georgia Southern on Saturday
Louisiana: won 45-0 vs. Texas State on Saturday
And suddenly, it’s the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns that are the best team in the Sun Belt Conference.
Fruit baskets are on their way to Appalachian State as we speak.
It all but seems like an easy coast to the conference title game for the Ragins with four games remaining in the schedule. It’s not an easy stretch by any means, but ULL will try to win its eighth straight game when they host the Georgia State Panthers on Thursday.
The 24th ranked team in the country has found its way back into the AP Top 25 after a long, grueling process since losing to the Texas Longhorns on opening weekend.
The Cajuns blanked the Texas State Bobcats on Saturday with the easy cover at home. Starting quarterback Levi Lewis set a program record with his 65th passing touchdown; he finished the game with 228 yards and three touchdowns, while Chris Smith added a rushing touchdown on nine carries for 70 yards.
The record was held by Jake Delhomme, so you know ULL has been dying for such quarterback play as of late.
ULL has not allowed 30 points in a game since losing to Texas on Sept. 4. The offense has scored over 40 on three different times, while the defense has held the opposition to fewer than 20 points on four different occasions.
The Cajuns’ backfield has been a terrific complement to Lewis’ dominance. There’s been Smith averaging 6.3 yards per carry, but backup back Montrell Johnson is averaging 6.0 yards per carry on 12 fewer carries than Smith. Even third-string back Emani Bailey is at a very nice clip of 6.9. Opponents have to literally pick their poison when it comes to this offense.
But as we mentioned earlier, this final leg of the season for ULL is going to be a tough one. It starts with a Georgia State club that has won three straight since starting the season 1-4. Two of those wins have come on the road, at Georgia State and Louisiana-Monroe.
GSU is coming off a 7-point win over the Georgia Southern Eagles last week, thanks to a 23-yard touchdown run from Jamyest Williams with 26 seconds to go. That capped off a 12-carry, 97-yard night for the tailback as he bailed out quarterback Darren Grainger (16 of 27, 141 yards).
For a defense that’s allowed 30 points per game, the GSU defense has responded with giving up 21 points or fewer in the last three games. The starters on defense have come to play; they recorded two interceptions off GSO quarterback Justin Tomlin.
I don’t blame anyone for taking Georgia State with the points. Albeit the teams the Panthers have beaten to get back to .500 aren’t the best, you’d rather want a team playing well with this kind of momentum than falling off. But because of that, the Cajuns will not overlook this game. They’re at home, and the next time they are will be against Monroe. With two tough road games ahead at Troy and Liberty, the Cajuns won’t let that pass. Louisiana-Lafayette by 14
The under is 16-6 in Georgia State’s last 22 games following a conference opponent.
Georgia State is 3-0 ATS following a game after winning the turnover battle by two or more.
The under is 22-9 in ULL’s last 31 games.
Louisiana is 6-1 ATS in its last seven after covering in two of the previous three games.
Passing: Darren Grainger -- 924 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Tucker Gregg -- 552 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Jamari Thrash -- 326 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Blake Carroll -- 4.5 sacks
Passing: Levi Lewis -- 1,655 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Chris Smith -- 621 yards, 8 TD
Receiving: Dontae Fleming -- 266 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Lorenzo McCaskill -- 53 tackles
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