Although none of the Sun Belt or Conference USA teams cracked into the top 25’s official College Football Playoff poll this week, there was still some exciting football played within both conferences. Last week, we saw Arkansas State topple Appalachian State to take sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt Conference. Both Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech won to stay at the top the Conference USA standings. This week, both conferences have some intriguing match ups ahead of them.
Sun Belt Conference: UL Lafayette at South Alabama
The UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns are no strangers to Sun Belt supremacy and are looking to make their 5th straight appearance at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns have been struggling a bit this season and need to get their game back on track to achieve their bowl goals. They need to get their running game going this Thursday night to assist with hopes for a victory against the South Alabama Jaguars. The Cajuns two headed attack of Elijah McGuire and Torrey Pierce have a combined 1,088 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season. The South Alabama Jaguars are coming off a high scoring affair against Idaho that saved their season and kept the teams hopes alive on becoming bowl eligible. Consistency from their quarterback and defense will give the Jags a chance to bring some tough competition in this game. Quarterback Cody Clements looks to be on target with his receivers Gerald Everett, D.J. Vinson and Josh Magee – as he has combined for 10 touchdowns on the season with his former UAB teammates. The Jags defense must stop the run in this Thursday’s game. With both these teams defense struggling, expect this game to be a potentially high scoring affair. The team that successfully runs the ball on the offense and stops the runs on defense will be victorious in this game.
Conference USA – FIU at Marshall
Marshall now sits at 5-1 in the East Division, with their only loss in conference coming last week against Middle Tennessee, who is now 3-2 in the East division. FIU comes into this game against Marshall at 3-3 in the East Division and 5-5 overall. A victory against Marshall would make FIU bowl eligible. Marshall needs to win matchup to keep pace with Western Kentucky in the division, but FIU is going make that difficult. The energetic FIU defense is third in Conference USA in sacks. FIU quarterback Alex McGough is also playing strong this year, boosting 21 touchdowns and five picks coming into the game on Saturday. Marshall has the home team advantage though, where they are undefeated, while FIU is only 1-4 on the road. Marshall’s defense must come ready to play in order to remain a competitor in the East division race.
UL Lafayette at South Alabama tips off Thursday night at 6:30 PM (CT) on ESPNU. FIU at Marshall tips off Saturday at 3:30 (EST). Stay tuned to our Twitter feed at @RLCarriers and under the hashtag #RLBowl for game updates. For the latest news and updates on the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl like us on Facebook.