Over halfway through the college football season, it is pretty evident which top players are poised to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft. It is extremely rare to have two players on one college team at the same position selected in the same draft, but three is nearly unheard of.
But Louisiana-Lafayette has a trio of top-tier running backs who are all projected to be taken in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft in April. Trey Ragas, Raymond Calais, and Elijah Mitchell all present a different rushing style and each have managed to perform well.
And going against Arkansas State this week, one of the nation’s worst rushing defenses, it could be an opportunity for all three to be on top of their game.
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns vs Arkansas State Red Wolves
Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, Arkansas
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: UL-Lafayette (-7 at -105)
Over/Under: 67.5 (O: -115 | U: -105)
UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
All three of Ragas, Calais, and Mitchell average over six yards per carry and have been among the most consistent backs in the country. Despite all three enduring a tough game last weekend against 24th-ranked Appalachian State, the trio has still shown enough to be regarded as one of the best backfields in college football.
Mitchell has been the workhorse, rushing 80 times this season for 470 yards, including just one play where he lost yards. Though his yards per carry, 5.9, is the fewest out of the three, he has been rewarded for his efforts with nine rushing touchdowns — sixth-most in the FBS.
Ragas leads the team in rushing yards with 580 on 63 carries, good for a nation-leading 9.1 yards per carry.
Defensively, Louisiana allows just 20.7 points per game, including limiting the 10th-highest-scoring offense to just 17 points last weekend.
Arkansas State Red Wolves
Stopping the run in something the Red Wolves have struggled with all season. Near the bottom of FBS, Arkansas State allows 215.3 rushing yards per game this season — 117th in FBS.
As a whole, the Red Wolves defense is second-to-last in total yards allowed per game ahead of only Massachusetts. Additionally, the defense allows 6.4 yards per play this season meaning opponents have no issues moving the ball against Arkansas State, resulting in 38.7 points allowed per game.
Offensively, the Red Wolves can more than hold their own averaging 430 yards per game and ranking in the top 50 in points per game with 33.7. With QB Logan Bonner out for the year, freshman Layne Hatcher has stepped up big throwing for 800 yards in two starts.
Both teams are offensively-inclined with a strong ability to move the ball, something that translates into points. Both teams have trended over in the past few weeks, but face a tough task of doing so again with a total near 70.
However, with a weak defense and a strong offense like Arkansas State’s, look for a high-scoring affair won by the visitors on Thursday.
Pick: Take the Ragin’ Cajuns to cover the spread and take the over. UL-Lafayette could cruise in this one, 48-28.