December 16, 2023 College Football Bowl Game – R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Jacksonville State vs Louisiana
12/16/2023 2:15 PM EST
New Orleans, LA
Jacksonville St v. Louisiana – What Lies ahead?
Bowl season is all about motivation and if your best players are available. In this matchup, there are minimal players opting out (if any) and up to this point there has not been any impact players entering the portal. Jacksonville St finished their first year in FBS at 8-4 and finished 3rd in the C-USA. Due to their not being enough bowl eligible teams, the Gamecocks got the nod to head to New Orleans. The opponent will basically have a de-facto home game as their campus is about two hours away from the Superdome.
Louisiana finished 6-6 on the season and needed a win in the last game of the season to become bowl eligible. They were 5th in the Sun-Belt West and are playing in their 6th straight bowl game. No stranger to the New Orleans bowl as this is the 7thappearance. They have had a revolving door at Quarterback after the injuries to Ben Bryant and Zeon Chriss. Junior QB Chandler Fields took over and has looked serviceable. He’s accurate (70% comp.) and only has two interceptions since taking over the starting role.
Who Wins the New Orleans Bowl
If you are betting man (or woman), I hope you grabbed the Gamecocks earlier in the week when they were slight underdogs. Since the opening of the betting lines, money has poured in on the Gamecocks, pushing them to a field goal favorite. Has it gone too far? Slightly but I think Jacksonville State wins the game by more than a field goal. I think motivation is there for both teams but the Gamecocks playing in their first bowl game ever under a coach who’s played in eleven bowl games in his career Is the side I’m going with.
Gamecocks are 7-3 against the spread this year and undefeated (3-0) when they are laying more than a field goal. Louisiana is 5-7 against the spread on the season and in close games they have struggled, finishing 2-4. So, in a closer type of game, the Gamecocks have an edge, especially with the success they have running the ball. Louisiana’s strength is their secondary which is negated in this matchup because the Gamecocks do not look to pass the ball at all. In fact, they are top five in rush attempts in the country.
Can Louisiana Contain the Gamecocks Rush Attack?
The Gamecock offense is predicated on its high tempo, heavy rush attack coming from multiple players including veteran QB Zion Webb. The Gamecocks offense ranks top five in rush yards per game and have FIVE players who have at least 200 yards on the ground. Louisiana has faced good rush offenses but nothing like what they are going to see this weekend. Teams like ODU, Southern Miss, and Troy all had 100+ yard rushers and controlled the tempo, which ultimately led to them losing all three games.
Turnovers has played a big part of the Gamecocks success as well, as they rank top five in turnovers forced. Louisiana offensively is more balanced but have more success on the ground. This plays into JSU’s hands as they are a top 25 unit against the run. Making the Rajin Cajuns one dimensional could lead to more turnovers and setting up the Gamecocks with short fields.
In summation, I think the combination of rushing offense and ability to create turnovers will result in a comfortable victory for the Gamecocks. One big advantage JSU has is their ability to stay on the field and sustain drives. They are top 25 in third-down offense while the Rajin Cajuns are bottom ten in third down defense. You are going to see multiple players touch the ball and have success out of the backfield, and I think that wears down this Cajuns defense. I have this as a 28-13 win for the Gamecocks as they claim their first bowl victory in their first season in the FBS.
THIS IS AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DELONTE SMITH
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