New Orleans Bowl Preview Louisiana vs Marshall

New Orleans Bowl Preview: Louisiana vs Marshall | NCAAF Expert Analysis & Predictions

Sun Belt champion and No. 23 Louisiana looks to finish off the best season in school history on Saturday when the Ragin’ Cajuns face Marshall in the New Orleans Bowl with UL a solid favorite on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet Louisiana vs. Marshall NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Saturday, 9:15 PM ET
  • Where: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: Louisiana -5 (total 55)

Series History

With five total New Orleans Bowl appearances, Louisiana is tied for the most wins in the game’s history. The Ragin’ Cajuns played back-to-back New Orleans Bowl games from 2011 to 2014 and again in 2016, losing 28-21 to the University of Southern Mississippi. This will be Marshall’s first appearance in the New Orleans Bowl. The Thundering Herd have played just one game in the Superdome, a 31-10 victory over then-Conference USA member Tulane on October 10, 2009. It’s the first meeting between Louisiana and Marshall.

Why Bet on Louisiana?

Louisiana (12-1) won the Sun Belt title game 24-16 over App State on Dec. 4. It was the Ragin’ Cajuns 12th-straight victory, extending their record-breaking streak and bagging the most wins a single season in program history. The win was also the 40th of head coach Billy Napier’s illustrious career. However, it was the last for Napier as he’s now the head coach at Florida.

Michael Desormeaux is the new head coach. A record-setting quarterback for Louisiana from 2005-08, Desormeaux has been on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ staff for the last six seasons and served as the Co-Offensive Coordinator during the 2021 campaign. With his help, the offense ranked third in the Sun Belt in both scoring offense (31.2) and total offense (397.6) during the historic 2021 campaign and helped the team secure a program record 12 wins.

Game MVP Levi Lewis came up huge through the air and on the ground, throwing for 210 yards and touchdown while adding a 56-yard touchdown rush in the first quarter. Louisiana improved to 8-2 when Lewis throws a touchdown and rushes for a touchdown in the same game. Running back Emani Bailey was also a bright spot for the team, toting the ball 14 times for a career-high 117 yards and his sixth rushing touchdown of the season.

Louisiana is 40-5 over the last four seasons when scoring more than 20 points. After scoring 42 points at Liberty, the team is 15-0 when scoring more than 40 points since 2018. The Ragin’ Cajuns own a 16-3 record in one-possession games since the start of the 2018 season.

The Cajun defense ranks 11th nationally in scoring defense, holding opponents to 18.3 points per game. Over its last four games, Louisiana is +12 in the turnover margin. Since 2018, the team is 20-2 when forcing two or more takeaways in a game.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are one of six teams in the nation with 12 or more wins, joining Cincinnati (13), Alabama (12), Georgia (12), Michigan (12) and UTSA (12). Louisiana owns an official bowl record of 5-3 and has been victorious in its last two bowl games.

Why Bet on Marshall?

Marshall (7-5) lost its regular-season finale 53-21 to Western Kentucky on Nov. 27. Herd running back Rasheen Ali continued his record-breaking season, rushing 24 times for 99 yards to set the school record for rushing yards by a freshman. Doug Chapman previously held that mark, rushing for 1,238 yards in 1996.

Ali leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (20) and is second in total touchdowns (22), points scored (32) and points per game (11.0). Ali’s rushing touchdown total is now No. 4 on Marshall’s all-time single-season list behind Jackie Hunt’s 26 in 1940 and 23 (twice) by Chris Parker in 1993 and ’94. Ali is also currently tied for ninth on C-USA’s single-season rushing touchdowns list.

His 22 total touchdowns scored are now No. 6 on Marshall’s all-time single-season list. Ali has also caught 45 passes this season – the third-most in a season ever by a Marshall running back. Ahmad Bradshaw caught 56 passes in 2005 and Robert Surratt snared 55 in 1984.

Quarterback Grant Wells had a touchdown pass against WKU and sits in 13th on the all-time Herd list with 34 career passing TDs. With 76 passing yards against the Hilltoppers, Grant Wells has now thrown for 5,524 yards in his career. He needs 92 more yards to crack the Top 10 (Bernard Morris, 5,616) on the Herd’s all-time list.

Marshall is 27-5 (.844) when it has a turnover margin of +2 or better since 2010. Marshall has won nine in a row when winning the turnover battle by three or more. The Herd are 29-7 (.806) when they have zero turnovers, and the Herd have won 16 of its last 19 when it does not make a miscue. Marshall has won 20 of its last 24 when winning the turnover battle.

Marshall enters the 2021 bowl season featuring a .750 winning percentage (12-4) in all NCAA-sanctioned bowl games, the highest mark nationally among programs that have made at least seven appearances.

Game Trends

  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite.
  • Ragin’ Cajuns are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. CUSA.
  • Thundering Herd are 2-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Thundering Herd are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up loss.
  • Thundering Herd are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in December.

Expert Prediction

  • Louisiana 27, Marshall 23
 
 

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