There are three bowl games Saturday and the first to feature a ranked team is No. 19 Louisiana, the co-champion of the Sun Belt Conference, as the Ragin’ Cajuns face UTSA (Texas-San Antonio) of Conference USA in the First Responder Bowl from Dallas. The Cajuns are solid favorites on the NCAAF odds.
How to Bet Louisiana vs. UTSA NCAA Football Odds & TV Info
- When: Saturday, 3:30 PM ET
- Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas
- TV: ABC
- Stream: ESPN app
- Radio: Tunein.com
- Opening NCAAF Lines: Louisiana -14 (total 57.5)
It’s the first-ever meeting between Louisiana and UTSA. Both schools are making their first appearances in the First Responder Bowl. In the Coach Billy Napier era, the Ragin’ Cajuns own a 1-0 record over Conference USA opposition, the lone win coming on Oct. 23 when the team defeated UAB, 24-20, in Birmingham.
Why Bet on Louisiana?Louisiana (9-1) was supposed to play unbeaten Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt title game on Dec. 19 but that was canceled for COVID-19 reasons so the league declared co-champions even though Louisiana lost to Coastal Carolina during the regular season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have one of the Sun Belt’s top running backs in Elijah Mitchell, who was named first-team All-Sun Belt. He rushed for 751 yards and seven touchdowns. His yardage total ranks 29th nationally and third in the league, while his seven scores ranks 47th nationally and fourth in the conference. Mitchell, who is fifth in career rushing scores (40) among active FBS running backs, ranks fifth in that category in program history while ranking sixth in school history in career rushing yards.
Chris Smith was also named first-team All-Sun Belt. Smith is one of the most electric kick returners in the nation, boasting 572 kick return yards and two scores. On the season, he ranks seventh nationally in return yards and is one of four FBS returners with two kick-return scores.
QB Levi Lewis was second-team All-Sun Belt, throwing for 2,128 yards, the 24th most nationally and third most in the Sun Belt, and 17 touchdowns, the 27th most in FBS. He enters the bowl game in second in program history with 52 career touchdowns and fourth in program history with 6,140 career passing yards.
Louisiana got great news this week when in-demand coach Billy Napier turned down Auburn. Earlier this month, Napier also expressed his desire to remain at Louisiana amid interest from South Carolina, who eventually hired Shane Beamer as its next coach.
The postseason bowl appearance will be the 10th in program history and the third-straight under Napier. Louisiana holds an official record of 5-2 in bowl games.
Why Bet on UTSA?The Roadrunners are 7-4 overall and finished second in Conference USA’s West Division with a 5-2 mark. UTSA ended the season with three straight victories and is one win shy of matching the program standard (8-4 in 2012).
First-year head coach Jeff Traylor directed the team to its second-ever bowl appearance. The Roadrunners are 0-1 all-time in bowl games. The team previously played in the 2016 New Mexico Bowl.
UTSA’s star is running back Sincere McCormick (great name), who was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. McCormick, who also collected first-team all-league accolades, leads C-USA and ranks second in the FBS with a school-record 1,345 rushing yards to go along with a program-record 11 rushing touchdowns this fall. He is a four-time C-USA Offensive Player of the Week.
McCormick has twice broken his own school record for rushing yards in a game, including 251 yards in the win over North Texas in his last outing. He owns the top two and five of the top 10 rushing games in C-USA this season and he has 31 runs of 10-plus yards, including 16 of 20-plus and four of 50-plus yards.
UTSA has two great kickers in punter Lucas Dean and placekicker Hunter Deplessis. Dean leads C-USA and ranks fourth nationally in punting with a UTSA-record 46.3-yard average. He has logged 27 punts inside the 20-yard line, including 15 inside the 10 and seven inside the 5, and he owns 21 punts of 50-plus yards.
Duplessis was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award this season. He leads C-USA and is 11th nationally with 16 field goals made. He is 16 of 18 field goals and 37 of 38 on extra points this season, and he ranks second in the league and 23rd in the FBS in field goals per game (1.45) and third in the conference and 12th in the nation in field-goal percentage (.889).
This will be UTSA’s first bowl appearance since the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 17, 2016, in Albuquerque. The Roadrunners lost that one 23-20 to New Mexico.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
- Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Roadrunners are 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Roadrunners are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games following a straight up win.
- Louisiana 33, UTSA 21
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