Boise State Broncos (9-4) at Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (4-8)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 3, 2016, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns +19.5 -- Over/Under: 63.5
American Sports Network; ESPN 3
The Boise State Broncos will travel to Cajun Field take on the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday, September 3rd, in College Football action.
The Boise State Broncos finished last season with a dominating 55-7 victory over the Northern Illinois Huskies in the Poinsettia Bowl however, had to be disappointed finishing the year with a 9-4 overall record which didn’t include a trip to the MW championship game. Boise State and head coach Bryan Harsin should have big goals for the 2016 season, especially as they return 8 starters on an offensive that ranked 15th in the country in scoring (39.1 ppg) and total yards per game (501.5 yds/game). Leading the way for the offensive will be QB Brett Rypien who had an outstanding freshman year in 2015 averaging 304.5 passing yds/game while throwing for 20 TD and 8 INT. Some of the other weapons for the Broncos this season will be RB Jeremy McNichols (114.42 yds/game; 20 TD) and WR Thomas Sperbeck (6.8 rec/game; 108.6 yds/game; 8 TD). Defensively, Boise State was solid in 2015 as they held their opponents just 20.2 ppg (ranked 18th) on 318.3 total yards (ranked 12th). The Broncos were outstanding against the run as they ranked 5th in the country in rush defense allowing opponents to average just 108.2 rushing yards per game. Boise State will have trouble repeating the defensive performance they did in 2015 as they return only 5 defensive starters and although they took some big hits on the DL and in the defensive backfield, do return a solid LB group led by Ben Weaver and Tanner Vallejo.
The Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns had a tough 2015 season as after posting 4 straight years of 9-4 records, Louisiana Lafayette finished with just a 4-8 overall record and 3-5 conference record. Head Coach Mark Hudspeth will have to make improvements on both sides of the ball this season as the Ragin’ Cajuns ranked just T-83 in scoring offensive at 26.4 ppg while ranking 94th in scoring defensive at 31.8 ppg. Offensively, Louisiana Lafayette will be returning 7 starters from the offensive end including RB Elijah McGuire (87.25 yds/game; 13 TD) and WR’s Al Riles (4.2 rec/game; 68.7 yds/game; 5 TD) and Gabe Fuselier (4.2 rec/game; 29.8 yds/game; 1 TD). Leading the way at QB for Louisiana Lafayette will be ex-LSU QB Anthony Jennings who saw limited time last season at LSU. Louisiana Lafayette will also be returning 7 starters on the defensive end and will look to better prevent the “big plays” that seem to continually hurt the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2015. Leading the way for Louisiana Lafayette will be DB’s Savion Brown (42 tackles; 3 INT) and Tracy Walker (74 tackles; 1 INT) along with LB Tracy Walker (74 tackles). The Ragin’ Cajuns will need to find ways to create more TO’s through the air as Louisiana Lafayette only was able to force 5 INT last season.
The Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on turf and 17-5 ATS in their last 22 games vs. Sun-Belt opponents. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games and 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
Boise State will once again have high expectations coming into this season and looking at their schedule, certainly looks as if they have the possibility of going undefeated on the year. Louisiana Lafayette should be better than what we saw form them last season however, I don’t think the Ragin’ Cajuns will be that much better on the defensive end. As I just don’t see the Ragin’ Cajuns being able to slow down the very potent Broncos offensive in this one, I think Boise State scores at will against Louisiana Lafayette and cover this large spread. Take Boise State to cover.