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R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Jacksonville State vs Louisiana



R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Jacksonville State vs Louisiana. 'The Showdown in the Superdome'.


Broadcast Information

• Kickoff 2:15 PM Eastern time on ESPN

• Ahish Shroff, Andre Ware, and Taylor Davis will have the call

• ESPN Radio: Marc Kestecher, Kelly Stouffer, and Ian Fitzsimmons


What’s at Stake?

The Showdown in the Superdome has upstart Jacksonville State Gamecocks matching up with the Ragin Cajuns of Louisiana. 8-4 Jacksonville State will be making their first-ever bowl game appearance. The Gamecocks weren’t even supposed to be here because they are still considered to be in transition by the NCAA, but as we now know, there weren’t enough 6-win teams to fill all the slots, so luckily, a deserving team gets to participate in a bowl game they rightfully earned.  On the other side sits the Ragin Cajuns. The 6-6 finish wasn’t what their fans or team expected. They had injuries at the QB position that didn’t help their cause but seem to have found their leader just in time for this matchup.


Key Players

QB Chandler Fields – Louisiana

RB Jacob Kibodi – Louisiana

WR Peter LeBlanc – Louisiana

TE Neal Johnson – Louisiana

S Tyrone Lewis Jr – Louisiana

QB Zion Webb – Jacksonville State

RB Malik Jackson – Jacksonville State

WR Perry Carter – Jacksonville State

TE Sean Brown – Jacksonville State

DL Chris Hardie – Jacksonville State

LB Quae Drake – Jacksonville State

Key Match-ups

The most important matchup here is an experienced Cajun team playing within a stadium they know well against a team in this situation for the very first time.  Is the stage too big? Are the Gamecocks ready for a bowl game atmosphere that’s likely to feel more like a home game for the Cajuns?


The Cajuns had dropped 3 straight games and needed a victory over ULM to get to bowl eligibility.  That also gave Fields his first victory of the season. Can they roll that convincing win into this bowl game against a very capable defense on the other side? LB Quae Drake and defensive lineman Chris Hardie will have a lot to say about that. The duo helped JSU hold opponents to just over 23 points on average over their past six games, including games vs the two teams in their conference championship game and P5 South Carolina. Leading rusher Jacob Kibodi who went over the century mark just twice on the season, did manage to rack up a total of 729 yards.

On the other side of the equation, you’ve got QB Zion Webb and RB Malik Jackson leading the way on the ground for the Gamecocks.  Together they managed to put almost 1,500 yards on the ground. Webb is a lot less lethal through the air though, throwing for just 5 TD’s but 6 INT’s on the season. JSU’s success will have to come via the run game as they don’t pose a significant threat through their passing attack.


Prediction

The Sun Belt, in total, placed 7 RBs in the top 50 via total rushing yards for the season, including 5 from the West that went head to head with this Cajun’s defense. They did struggle in those games, going just 2-3 but those offenses were more well-rounded than what the Gamecocks present.  I expect the Cajuns to be ready to defend the run and shut down the rushing attack that is the most dangerous part of this Jacksonville State team.  Forcing them into long yardage third downs will be their kryptonite.  The Cajuns play well in the Superdome from a historical perspective and I expect them to take this one home over an inexperienced Gamecock team who may be a little shell-shocked out of the gate here. 

R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl – Jacksonville State vs Louisiana

Cajuns – 28

Gamecocks - 17

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