While the New Orleans Bowl is considered one of the lowest on the ladder, it will be a huge deal Saturday for new FBS member Jacksonville State of Conference USA as it plays the first bowl game in school history against Louisiana of the Sun Belt, which plays in this game often. 2023 New Orleans Bowl Betting & Expert Analysis Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana | MyBookie Sportsbook Bowls Odds, 2023/24 CFP College Bowl Game Lines
How to Bet Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana NCAAF New Orleans Bowl Odds & TV Info
When: Saturday, 2:15 PM ET
Where: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans
Opening NCAAF Lines: Jacksonville State -3 (total 56.5)
It will be just the second meeting between Jax State and Louisiana on the gridiron, with the Gamecocks winning the only previous meeting by a score of 28-14 on Nov. 11, 2000.
Why Bet on Jacksonville State Gamecocks?
Jacksonville State finished 8-4 overall this season and 6-2 in Conference USA in its first season as an FBS program under coach Rich Rodriguez. JSU and fellow new FBS member James Madison were not originally eligible for bowls due to the transition but there weren’t enough teams to fill the 82 bowl slot so both schools got in.
Jax State is one of just five teams since 1970 to win at least eight games in its first season against an FBS schedule. Only two (10 by Marshall in 1997 and nine by Ga. Southern in 2014) have won nine or more games. Offensively, the Jags average 232.5 yards, ranking second in Conference USA and fifth among all FBS programs in rushing offense. The team has 32 rushing TDs, second among CUSA teams and tied for seventh among all teams in FBS.
Defensively, end Chris Hardie has 22 sacks in his Jax State career, second only to Darius Jackson’s school-record 27.5 from 2014-17. The school has 36 sacks overall as a team, tied for 11th-most of any team in the FBS. Senior safety Jeremiah Harris has played 57 games in his Jax State career before the New Orleans Bowl, tying Stevonte Tullis (2017- 22) for the most in school history. Harris is a big reason why Jax State has 86 tackles for loss, most in CUSA and tied for 17th-most among all FBS teams. Harris has 255 total tackles career, seventh-most in school history and four behind Rashad Smith (259 from 2010-13) for sixth.
Derek Carter is one of the Gamecocks’ top cover corners in 2023. He leads the team and is tied for third in CUSA in pass break-ups with eight – three more than the closest player on the Gamecocks. He is tied for sixth among all CUSA players in passes defended with eight and had a season-high eight tackles twice – at Coastal Carolina and vs. Western Kentucky.
Offensive lineman Clay Webb was named to the 2023 Walter Camp All-America Team. Webb helped pave the way for an offense that has run for at least 140 in every game but one in 2023, including seven games with more than 200 yards and a CUSA-record 522 rushing yards against LA Tech.
Jax State had two First-Team All-CUSA players, with running back Malik Jackson named to the offense and Hardie named to the defense. Jackson is a redshirt senior in his first season with the Gamecocks after transferring from ULM. The leading rusher on the No. 5 rushing offense in FBS and in a running back group that spreads the carries around, he has less than 23 percent of the Gamecocks carries but has over 30 percent of their rushing yards. He is ranked second in CUSA in rushing yards per game with 78.18 and is third in the league in rushing yards with 817 despite missing a game and being limited in two others. His seven rushing touchdowns rank third among all CUSA players and he leads Conference USA and ranks ninth in the nation in rushing yards per carry at 6.47.
Hardie led a team that leads CUSA and is 10th nationally in sacks and is the team leader in sacks with 8.5, which also ranks 18th nationally. He is CUSA’s individual leader in total sacks with 8.5 and in sacks per game with 0.71 and the Gamecocks’ leader in tackles for a loss with 16.0, pacing a defense that leads CUSA and ranks 13th nationally in total tackles for a loss.
|NCAA New Orleans Bowl Betting
|Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns
|Jacksonville State Gamecocks
Why Bet on Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns?
The matchup will be Louisiana’s seventh trip to New Orleans for the postseason contest since 2011. With the invitation, the Ragin’ Cajuns will be appearing in their 13th bowl game and own an official record of 7-4.
Louisiana (6-6) saw AJ Gillie and Neal Johnson voted to the All-Sun Belt Third Team this season with Kendre’ Gant, Peter LeBlanc, K.C. Ossai and Nathan Thomas garnering All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention. Gillie started all 12 games at left guard and tallied 41 knockdowns. He posted a season-high grade of 94 at Minnesota and earned a grade of 93 in the win over Texas State. As a key member of the offensive line, Gillie helped the Ragin’ Cajuns offense rank second in the SBC in rushing offense and third in scoring.
LeBlanc started in all 12 games and ranks second on the team in receptions (29), yards (449) and touchdowns (4). He had a career game at Arkansas State where he hauled in six passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Ossai appeared in all 12 games, started 11, and ranks as the team’s leading tackler with 77. He blocked a field goal at UAB and posted a season-high nine tackles and forced a fumble to seal the victory over Texas State.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have the crowd edge and generally play well in New Orleans, but they will miss star linebacker Gant, who recently entered the portal. Gant finished the 2023 season with 64 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries.
QB Chandler Fields has ridden the wave from entrenched backup to embattled in competition playing time then earning the starting position before suffering an injury that marred him once again in the depth chart. During the year, he fell to No. 3 on UL’s depth chart at one point. But in the regular-season finale he led a 52-21 win over rival Louisiana-Monroe that clinched a program-record sixth straight bowl game.
Fields had one of the highest completion percentages in team history at 90%, completed his last 15 throws and accounted for three touchdowns and 284 total yards in his Cajun Field finale. Louisiana lost three straight games where it could’ve clinched a bowl spot, leading to the must-win scenario in the ULM game.
Fields, who came in for freshman Zeon Chriss after he suffered a season-ending lower leg injury at Arkansas State, played well down the stretch for the Ragin’ Cajuns and despite tough losses against Southern Miss in overtime and Troy late in the fourth quarter. But the junior put together a near-perfect performance to help the team beat ULM.
“I can tell you we didn’t lose any because of him,” Coach Michael Desormeaux said. “Chandler has played his tail off for our team. Our kids have played around him in spots and there were some times we could’ve done some things better around him and didn’t. He gave us a chance every game he started.”
Desormeaux said he’s hopeful starting safety Courtline Flowers and starting center Landon Burton are healthy enough to play in the bowl after missing time to end the season.
NCAAF New Orleans Bowl Expert Prediction
Jacksonville State 27, Louisiana 24
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