The 2021 New Orleans Bowl will be a top-tier group-of-five showdown featuring Louisiana’s No.23 and Marshall as the programs face off for the first time. This will be Marshall’s first appearance in the game, while Louisiana will make their sixth appearance in the contest after playing there for five of six seasons between 2011 and 2016.
The Ragin ‘Cajuns recently rose to power from the Group of Five and have just won a Sun Belt championship, while the Thundering Herd is a historically rich program that has just finished a 7-5 regular season under management. from first-year coach Charles Huff. A Marshall win would give him momentum to cap Huff’s debut campaign after a series of closing losses this season. A victory for Louisiana would revive Michael Desormeaux’s tenure as head coach.
Desormeaux replaces Billy Napier, who left after the Sun Belt title game to take over in Florida after guiding the Ragin ‘Cajuns to three straight double-digit winning seasons to cap a successful four-year run. If this is the first meeting between the programs, it will not be the last since Marshall will join the Sun Belt for the 2023 season, at the latest.
Louisiana vs Marshall: Need to know
Turnover problem: Louisiana led the Sun Belt and placed third nationally in revenue margin with a +13 score this season, while Marshall placed near last nationally. in this category with a score of -5. But while the Thundering Herd can limit catastrophic mistakes, they are quite capable of scoring points as they rank 10th nationally in total offense.
Woes of the red zone: Another key trend to watch out for in this game is the performance of the red zone. The Ragin ‘Cajuns rank 99th nationally in red zone attacking, making play of a Marshall team that ranks ninth in red zone defense. Marshall is only 73rd nationally in total defense, but the Thundering Herd have held their opponents scoreless in 10 red zone trips this season. Marshall’s red zone offense was not great, but the Thundering Herd converted red zone moves to touchdowns more frequently than Louisiana.
Freshness factor: Running back Marshall Rasheen Ali is tied for the top of the nationwide floor assists table with 20 and has scored half of them in the second quarter of games. The rookie redshirt has been a stallion for the Thundering Herd. However, the fourth quarter is the one where he has received the fewest races and scored the fewest touchdowns this season. Part of this is probably based on the circumstances of the games and situational play calls. But the point is, while Marshall relies heavily on Ali, Louisiana is more balanced in the distribution of their carries. The Ragin ‘Cajuns have three full-backs who have amassed over 500 rushing yards. If it is a close game in the fourth quarter, the freshness factor could play a role.
How to watch the New Orleans Bowl live
Game: New Orleans Bowl
Dated: Saturday December 18 | Time: 9:15 p.m. ET
Site: Caesars Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ESPN | Direct: fuboTV (Try for free)
New Orleans Bowl prediction, pick
Featured Game | Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Louisiana Ragin ‘Cajuns
Don’t let these teams’ records fool you into thinking Louisiana is a barrier to outright winning. Seven of his 12 wins are eight points or less, while four of Marshall’s five losses are seven points or less. The Thundering Herd have a great offense led by Ali, and they can win this game if they limit their turnovers. Don’t underestimate the impact of Louisiana without Napier on the sidelines, either. Prediction: Marshall (+5)
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