Sun Belt Championship: Appalachian State vs. Louisiana fearless prediction and game preview.
Sun Belt Championship: Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Broadcast
Date: Saturday, December 7
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
Venue: Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC
Appalachian State (11-1) vs. Louisiana (10-2) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Sun Belt Championship
– It’s still possible for Appalachian State to get the New Year’s Six bowl bid and go to the Cotton. If Cincinnati beats Memphis in the American Athletic Conference championship, and if Hawaii stuns Boise State in the Mountain West championship, the door will be open for the CFP No. 21 Mountaineers to slide on into the spot.
– Billy Napier is hardly a household name, but the Louisiana head coach is one of the hottest prospects on the coaching circuit. The former Arizona State assistant needed a – no offense, Rajin’ Cajun fans – step up job first to show off his head coaching chops, and he has more than come through with two big seasons.
– If you like the running game, this is for you. These aren’t ground-and-pound teams – they’re entertaining attacks with the schemes, coaching, and talent to play a fun, tight game. Louisiana’s only losses were to Mississippi State and Appalachian State, and ASU managed to beat North Carolina and South Carolina.
CFN Podcast: Sun Belt Championship Discussion
Why Appalachian State Will Win
– So, what did Appalachian State do the first time around to stuff the Ragin’ Cajun offense on the way to a 17-7 win back in early October? They got into the backfield. Louisiana’s offensive style makes sure that sacks and tackles for loss aren’t a concern, but ASU LB Akeem Davis-Gaither went off for a D that came up with three sacks and six tackles for loss. But …
– That was no aberration. The ASU run defense stopped everyone this year but Georgia Southern and its quirky option attack. Charlotte was the only other team to break the 200-yard mark on the ground – and lost. The D hasn’t allowed more than 90 rushing yards in four of its last six games.
– Appalachian State just doesn’t make a whole slew of mistakes. This is an air-tight team that gets flagged a bit too much, but doesn’t give the ball away, is great at controlling the clock when needing to, and gets great play from the lines. The Mountaineers aren’t going to beat themselves.
Why Louisiana Will Win
The running game hit the wall just once this year. Appalachian State was able to slow down the the Ragin’ Cajun ground game and that was it. They had problems against Mississippi State, but it was able to run for three scores – the ASU game was the only time they didn’t run for a touchdown. 10-0 when running for 200 yards, 0-2 when it doesn’t … ULL has to run for 200 yards.
– It’s not like Appalachian State lit it up in the first meeting. The defense was fantastic against the Louisiana ground game, but the offense sputtered and struggled to takeover. Time of possession turned out to be a big deal – ASU had the ball for close to 35 minutes – the Ragin’ Cajun offense didn’t work, and yet it was still close late. This offense is a whole lot stronger than it showed the first time around.
– Levi Lewis is coming off one of his best games with the program. ULM gave it everything in a 31-30 loss last week, and that’s partly because Lewis hit big play after big play for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Everyone focuses on the ground game, but it’s possible to push this ASU secondary when the opportunities are there. The O should be more balanced than it seems.
What’s Going To Happen
7-0 – that’s what Appalachian State is against Louisiana since 2014. This year’s ASU team might be the best of the bunch, but it’s about to get hit hard by the Louisiana running game that’s about to be a whole lot better than it was the first time around.
This is a special Appalachian State team that’s been able to answer emphatically every time it’s been challenge, except for the one time the Georgia Southern offense worked.
Louisiana’s running game will be a whole lot better this time around, the defensive front will do its part to lock down the Mountaineer offense, and control of the game will flip. Unlike the first meeting, Louisiana will control the time of possession battle, but it’ll also come up with a few home runs to keep ASU off-balance.
Louisiana Stevie Artigue will be the difference. He’ll hit his field goals. ASU’s kicking game will miss in a few key moments.
This will be the game that makes Billy Napier’s star rise even faster.
Sun Belt Championship: Appalachian State vs. Louisiana Prediction, Line
Louisiana 30, Appalachian State 28
Bet on this with BetMGM, or for latest line
Appalachian State -6.5, o/u: 56
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
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Must See Rating: 4
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Sun Belt Championship History, Results
2018 Appalachian State 30, Louisiana 19
Past Sun Belt Champions
2017 (tie) Appalachian State, Troy
2016 (tie) Appalachian State, Arkansas State
2015 Arkansas State
2014 Georgia Southern
2013 (tie) Arkansas State, Louisiana
2012 Arkansas State
2011 Arkansas State
2010 (tie) FIU, Troy
2007 (tie) Florida Atlantic, Troy
2006 (tie) Middle Tennessee, Troy
2005 (tie) Arkansas State, Louisiana, ULM
2004 North Texas
2003 North Texas
2002 North Texas