Louisiana vs. Appalachian State

No. 21 Louisiana vs. Appalachian State | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on December 2, 2020

It’s the regular-season finale on Friday night for Sun Belt Conference West Division champion and No. 21 Louisiana when it visits East Division foe Appalachian State. The game is big enough that ESPN has picked it up, elevating it from ESPN2 and changing the start time.

How to Bet Louisiana at Appalachian State NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: App State -2.5 (total 53)

Last Meeting

In 2019, these teams met in the Sun Belt title game and App State won 45-38 at home. Darrynton Evans (now in the NFL) scored three touchdowns and the Mountaineers won the Sun Belt title for a fourth straight year. Evans was named the game’s MVP for the second season in a row. Zac Thomas threw for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Daetrich Harrington and Marcus Williams added touchdown runs. The Mountaineers racked up 416 yards on offense, including 267 on the ground. Levi Lewis threw for a Sun Belt championship game-record 354 yards and four touchdowns for Lafayette in the loss.

App State leads the all-time series 8-0.

Why Bet on Louisiana? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Louisiana (8-1) comes off a 70-20 destruction of rival UL Monroe last Saturday. The 70 points scored by the Ragin’ Cajuns marked the most points scored by either team in the series and Louisiana’s most points since posting 77 against Texas Southern on Sept. 14, 2019. The 50-point margin of victory also marked a series high.

QB Levi Lewis threw for 147 yards and three scores, while rushing five times for 55 yards and two touchdowns, the first time in his career he has rushed for two scores in a single game. With his three touchdown passes, Lewis passed Terrance Broadway to move into second place in all-time career passing touchdowns with 51, while becoming one of five Ragin’ Cajuns to account for five total scores in one game in the last 20 years.

Running back Elijah Mitchell’s rushing TD was the 40th of his career, making him one five Ragin’ Cajuns with 40 or more career rushing scores, while also becoming the sixth player in program history to eclipse the 3,000-yard mark. Louisiana finished the night with 511 total yards, 344 of which came on the ground, improving it to 14-1 when recording more than 500 yards.

It was the fourth time since 2000 that Louisiana has won a game by 50 or more points and was the ninth game in program history Louisiana has scored 70 or more points in a single game. Louisiana improved to 12-0 against Sun Belt West Division opponents under head coach Billy Napier.

Lewis was one of 35 quarterbacks in the nation named to the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Class of 2020. During the 2020 season, Lewis has thrown for 2,027 yards, good for 20th nationally, and 16 touchdowns, good for 22nd nationally, while carrying the ball 37 times for 233 yards and five touchdowns. He has thrown for over 250 yards in four games this season and has thrown at least two touchdown passes in five games.

Lewis currently ranks second in program history in career passing touchdowns (51) and fourth in career passing yards (6,039), joining Louisiana legend Jake Delhomme as the only two Ragin’ Cajuns quarterbacks who have thrown for more than 6,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.

The Ragin’ Cajuns will take on Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C., on Saturday, Dec. 19 in the Sun Belt title game. Louisiana’s 8-1 record is the program’s best start to a season since 1976, when it opened the year with eight straight victories.

Why Bet on Appalachian State? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

App State (7-2) will finish second behind Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt East Division. The Mountaineers come off a 47-10 home win vs. Troy last weekend.Zac Thomas tied his career high of four touchdown passes while throwing for 279 yards, App State finished with 554 total yards thanks to 275 more on the ground and Steven Jones returned an interception 34 yards for an early touchdown to highlight a defensive effort that limited the Trojans to 231 total yards and 125 passing yards — 177 below their season average. Of their 106 rushing yards, 47 occurred on the game’s final drive.

A week after suffering their first league loss, the Mountaineers possessed sizable advantages in total yards (225-25) and first downs (11-0) by the time they had built a 28-0 lead one play into the second period.

Thomas completed 22 of his 29 pass attempts and posted four TD passes for the fourth time — including each of the last two games against Troy. The four touchdown grabs in the game came from Malik Williams (career-high 113 receiving yards), Thomas Hennigan (now No. 5 in school history in career receiving yards), Henry Pearson and Caleb Spurlin (the only FBS player with multiple sacks and receiving TDs this season).

App State still has not lost back-to-back games since 2017, when the Mountaineers fell on the road at UMass (Oct. 28) and ULM (Nov. 4). Thomas (30-5 as a starter) is No. 2 in active FBS QB wins behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (32-1). App State has won 19 of its last 20 games played in November or December.

App State is 48-6 in its last 54 games vs. Sun Belt teams since the 2014 FBS jump. Since 2014, the Mountaineers’ 85.7 winning percentage (48-8 overall) against league foes is No. 4 nationally behind Ohio State (93.3%, 56-4), Clemson (91.8%, 56-5) and Alabama (91.8%, 56-5).

Friday will be App State’s third game of the season on the primary ESPN channel, a school record, and it will be the school-record seventh regular-season national TV appearance. The Mountaineers are 35-10 all-time in games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, including a 4-1 mark this year.

The current forecast for Friday night calls for a low of 29 degrees and possible snow flurries.

Game Trends

  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 conference games.
  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog.
  • Mountaineers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games as a favorite.
  • Mountaineers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
  • Road team is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • App State 33, Louisiana 31
 
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