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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, October 23, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajun Field (31,000) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: Arkansas St. 3-1, Louisiana 3-0. Away Record: Arkansas St. 1-2, Louisiana 1-2. Neutral Record: Arkansas St. 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Conference Record: Arkansas St. 2-1, Louisiana 2-1. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 21-18-1.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Sun Belt Conference foes currently sporting 2-1 league records meet on Tuesday night, as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns entertain the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Arkansas State have won back-to-back games for the first time this season, beating FIU (34-20) and South Alabama (36-29) to move to 4-3 overall. The Red Wolves have played well away from Jonesboro over the past two seasons as they are riding a five-game road winning streak against conference opponents, although they haven't beaten the Cajuns in Lafayette since 1992.
Louisiana opened the season with wins in four of its first five games before losing on the road to North Texas last Tuesday night, 30-23. The Cajuns are happy to be back home as they have one of the SBC's best home field advantages at Cajun Field. They have won eight straight games in Lafayette, with their last home loss coming in November of 2010.
These two programs have played a very tight series dating back to 1953, with Louisiana holding to a slim 21-18-1 lead
Arkansas State possesses one of the best offenses in the conference, averaging 31.3 points and 448.7 yards per game, including a Sun Belt-best 215.1 rushing yards per contest. It does a great job protecting the quarterback as well as the offensive line hasn't allowed a sack in four of seven games.
Ryan Aplin is one of the top quarterbacks in Sun Belt history and he ranks third among all active FBS players in career yards with 10,569. This season has been no different for the senior signal-caller, as he has passed for 1,591 yards with 11 touchdowns against only two interceptions while rushing for another 244 yards and three scores.
Alongside Aplin in the rushing game, David Oku has played well at running back, carrying the ball 125 times for 544 yards and seven touchdowns. Rocky Hayes has also made an impact with limited touches, gaining 231 yards on only 21 carries (11.0 ypc).
Freshman receiver J.D. McKissic (46 receptions, 493 yards) has stepped up his play of late, scoring a touchdown in three of the last four games (all ASU victories). Josh Jarboe has also been a reliable receiver with 31 catches for 321 yards and three scores.
Arkansas' defense has not held up to its end of the bargain this season, allowing nearly 29 ppg. The unit surrendered 29 points to South Alabama in its last game, which is the second-lowest scoring team in the conference.
Nathan Herrold has a team-high 69 tackles and also has an interception and two forced fumbles. Tim Starson has seven tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, but as a team the Red Wolves have just nine sacks total.
Among Sun Belt teams, only ULM scores more than Louisiana (35.5 ppg), although it is coming off a game against North Texas where it only recorded 12 first downs.
Quarterback Terrance Broadway has played even better than the man he replaced in the injured Blaine Gautier, and he's coming off 349 yards of total offense and two touchdowns last week. He's completed more than 60 percent of his passes on the season for 877 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for another 219 yards and four scores
Alonzo Harris and Effrem Reed split time in the backfield and have been effective, as both average 5.1 yards per carry while combining for 657 yards and six touchdowns.
Javone Lawson (321 yards), Harry Peoples (315 yards) and Darryl Surgent (273 yards) each average more than 50 receiving yards per game. Lawson and Peoples are tied for the team lead with three touchdown receptions apiece.
The defense has been suspect in allowing more than 422 yards of total offense per game, but with a scoring defense of 25.3 ppg, it surprisingly ranks second in the Sun Belt.
Rodney Gillis has accounted for four of the team's 13 turnovers with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Cordian Hagans has 2.5 of the team's nine sacks.
In a showdown that features pair of quarterbacks that can make plays both within and outside the pocket, this midweek matchup is sure to have plenty of fireworks. Arkansas State seems to be hitting its stride offensively, but it still has plenty of issues on the defensive side of the ball, which will come back to haunt the Red Wolves in a hostile road game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 34, Arkansas State 31
10/23 10:30:19 ET
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