The UL Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns (4-3) take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (4-3) on Thursday night. The kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET. Below we continue our College Football odds series with a UL Lafayette-Southern Miss prediction and pick.
UL Lafayette is 4-3 in a season marked by inconsistency. The Rajin’ Cajuns started 2-0 before dropping their next three games. Since then, they’ve won two games in a row. In their last appearance, the Rajin’ Cajuns handled Arkansas State with ease: 38-18. UL Lafayette is 2-2 in Sun Belt conference play and is currently fourth in the West Division. They’re 5-2 ATS this season and four of their seven games have gone under.
Southern Miss is also 4-3 this season, although they’ve come about it via a much different path. The Golden Eagles lost their first two games of the season but have rallied to win four of their last five. Last week Southern Miss picked up a big road victory over Texas State thanks to a 53-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left. The Golden Eagles are 2-1 in the Sun Belt Conference and are currently tied for second in the West Division. They’re 5-2 ATS this season and four of their seven games have gone under.
Here are the UL Lafayette-Southern Miss college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: UL Lafayette-Southern Miss Odds
UL Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns:+1.5 (-120)
Southern Miss Golden Eagles: -1.5 (-102)
Over: 42.5 (-115)
Under: 42.5 (-105)
Why UL Lafayette Could Cover The Spread
The Rajin’ Cajuns have had an up-and-down season after last year’s historic finish. UL Lafayette finished 16th in the final AP Poll last year – their second-best finish in school history. This year, however, they struggled in replacing the school’s all-time touchdown leader Levi Lewis at quarterback. The Rajin’ Cajuns’ week one starter Chandler Fields went down with an injury three weeks ago and was replaced with junior Ben Wooldridge.
Wooldridge has won two straight games as the starting quarterback for UL Lafayette. He was solid in his first start against Marshall but had the best game of his career last week against Arkansas State. In the victory, Wooldridge completed 21-34 passes for 316 yards and five touchdowns. For the season Wooldridge has completed 63% of his passes and has thrown 10 touchdowns with just one interception. He’ll have a favorable matchup this week against a Southern Miss secondary that gives up 238 yards per game.
Wooldridge and the passing game is not the only aspect of the Rajin’ Cajun offense that had its best showing last week. The UL Lafayette run game was incredible against Arkansas State. They rushed a season-high 50 times for 206 yards. Four different Cajuns carried the ball over 11 times on the day. While they lack a true workhorse back, UL Lafayette will have plenty of options to throw at a Southern Miss defense that gave up negative six yards rushing last week.
Why Southern Miss Could Cover The Spread
Southern Miss is in the midst of its best stretch of the season – and it is no coincidence that has coincided with the team focusing on one quarterback. The Golden Eagles have utilized two quarterbacks this year, but in recent weeks have allowed freshman Zach Wilcke to play full-time. The results have been a mixed bag. On the one hand, the team is 4-1 in their last five games. On the other, Wilcke has thrown multiple interceptions in three straight games.
While Wilcke has struggled in the box score, he’s undoubtedly helped the team win. For the season, the freshman has completed 60% of his passes for 979 yards. He’s thrown seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Wilcke did have his best game against then-15th-ranked Miami, but overall he has really struggled despite the team’s success. However, thanks to the running game and defense, he hasn’t needed to be incredible.
We all know Frank Gore. The legendary pro running back is the NFL’s third-highest all-time rusher and only recently retired this summer. His son, Frank Gore Jr., has the tall task of continuing the Gore legacy at Southern Miss. Already in his third year as a Golden Eagle, Frank Gore Jr. is in the midst of another solid season. He’s run for 568 yards on 4.9 yards per carry and has punched in four touchdowns this season. Gore has also been involved as a receiver – catching nine passes for 83 yards. Gore is coming off his highest-touch game of the season last week and has become a major focal point in the Golden Eagles’ recent stretch. Except for him to get a heavy workload against a UL Lafayette defense that surrendered 120 yards and two touchdowns to Marshall’s Khalan Laborn.
Final UL Lafayette-Southern Miss Prediction & Pick
I like Southern Miss as a slight home favorite in this pivotal conference matchup.
Final UL Lafayette-Southern Miss Prediction & Pick: Southern Miss -1.5 (-102)