FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajun Field (31,000) — Lafayette, Louisiana.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 1-2, Louisiana 1-1. Away Record: GSU
0-1, Louisiana 0-2. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Conference Record:
GSU 0-1, Louisiana 0-0. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Sun Belt programs aiming to win for just the second time
this season get together in Lafayette on Saturday night, as the Georgia State
Panthers drop in on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
The Panthers enjoyed a break in the schedule last week, giving them time to
reflect on the fact that, since they opened the 2014 campaign with a narrow
38-37 victory over Abilene Christian, they’ve dropped three in a row. In
addition to being downed by New Mexico State and Air Force, GSU also fell hard
to Washington back on Sept. 20 by a score of 45-14 in the first road date of
the season for the program.
Just like the Panthers, winners of just one of the first four outings of the
campaign, so are the Ragin’ Cajuns. Similarly, Louisiana also won the first
game on the slate versus a non-FBS program in Southern University (45-6). From
there, the offensive performances by Louisiana have been, simply put,
The squad was taken out by in-state rival Louisiana Tech early in September by
a 48-20 margin, then came road defeats versus Ole Miss (56-15) and Boise State
(34-9). Louisiana has also had time to ponder its three-game slide, being
handed a bye last weekend.
The Ragin’ Cajuns went to the Georgia Dome last November for the very first
meeting between the squads and captured a 35-21 victory, and in the process
tied the program record for consecutive wins with eight in a row.
For the Panthers, the meeting with Washington back on Sept. 20 started off
promising enough as the team began with a 14-0 lead thanks to TD passes from
Nick Arbuckle to Keith Rucker and Robert Davis in the second quarter. But from
there, the GSU offense was never heard from again and the defense surrendered
one touchdown after another to the home team.
To this point, Arbuckle has had his ups and downs when putting the ball in the
air. Sure, he has thrown nine touchdowns and averaged 328.8 ypg, but at the
same time he has been saddled with eight interceptions, giving opponents that
many more opportunities to load up against the Panthers. Granted, Arbuckle has
the passing attack ranked 14th in the country with 331.5 ypg, but at the same
time the running game has managed only 125.3 ypg and now comes word that
Krysten Hammon, the second-leading rusher with 197 yards and two TDs, has
decided to leave the team for personal reasons.
With Hammon out of the picture, that places even more pressure on Kyler Neal
(209 yards, one TD) to perform and also calls others to pick up the slack.
Defensively, the Panthers tend to start out games rather strong, allowing a
combined 17 points in the first quarter, but from there the performance
becomes more and more questionable. While allowing a hefty 41.0 ppg to rank
118th in the nation heading into action this week, GSU trends towards giving
up more points as games wear on, finally ending with 58 points surrendered in
the fourth frame.
As noted previously, the Ragin’ Cajuns have followed the same downward trend
as Georgia State to this point, the team’s scoring output bottoming out at a
mere nine points versus Boise State on the blue turf a couple of weeks back.
In that meeting, it wasn’t until three minutes had gone by in the fourth
quarter that Louisiana finally made it into the end zone on a seven-yard run
by Elijah McGuire, and even then the team failed to capitalize more as they
missed the extra point.
A big issue with the Cajuns to this point has been their propensity for
turning the ball over, and not forcing their opponents into mistakes. After
five weeks of action in the FBS (four games for Louisiana), the team has a
turnover margin of minus-2.25 per game.
Quarterback Terrence Broadway has been the biggest offender thus far, having
tossed seven interceptions, against only four touchdowns. In the last two
outings versus the Rebels and Broncos, the signal caller has tossed four picks
and has failed to get a ball into the end zone. The team as a whole is posting
22.3 ppg, 100th in the country this week, and if not for the scoring burst
versus Southern the squad would be much further down on the list.
If there is a bright spot to the Louisiana efforts thus far, it has to be the
fact that the squad is one of the more disciplined programs in the country,
placing second in the FBS with a mere 26.5 ypg in penalties, something they
might be able to build off of moving forward.
The Panthers have not looked good on the road this season, which might be
enough of an issue for Louisiana to rise above its problems with turnovers and
put one in the win column this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 28, Georgia State 20