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2023 New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana

Get the latest insights on the 2023 New Orleans Bowl. Discover the intriguing matchup between Jacksonville State and Louisiana, including predictions, stats, and historical perspectives.

Key Takeaways
  • Jacksonville State, transitioning from FCS to FBS, clinches their first bowl appearance since 1997 in their debut Division I football year.
  • Louisiana, with a 6-6 record, enters the New Orleans Bowl, having played in this game the most of any school.
  • Critical Matchup: Jacksonville State’s dominant running game vs. Louisiana’s 41st-ranked national defense.

The Stage is Set in New Orleans

As 2023 winds down, college football fans are set for the thrilling bowl season. The 2023 campaign begins with 7 games on Saturday, featuring a notable matchup between a newcomer and a seasoned bowl team in the 2023 New Orleans Bowl.

R+L Carriers, a Global Freight Transportation and Logistics company, remains the title sponsor since 2006, extending its commitment through 2026. The Bowl’s history dates back to 2001 with Colorado State’s victory over North Texas (45-20).

The Rise of Jacksonville State

Under coach Rich Rodriguez, Jacksonville State finished the regular season with an 8-4 record (6-2 in Conference USA). Their first year transitioning from FCS to FBS football marked a milestone, becoming the first team since 1997 to make a bowl in their inaugural Division I football year.

The Gamecocks excel in their running game, evident in their impressive performances, gaining 522 and 484 yards in games in 2023.

Quarterback Zion Webb is a key player with 638 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 1,238 passing yards. Malik Jackson leads the rushing attack with 860 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Perry Carter, with 34 receptions for 603 yards and 3 touchdowns, is a significant contributor to their passing game.

Scouting the Ragin’ Cajuns

Louisiana, led by coach Michael Desormeaux, sports a 6-6 record (3-5 in the Sun Belt). They had several quarterbacks due to injuries, with Zeon Chriss emerging as the leading passer with 1,222 yards and 11 TDs. Jacob Kibodi is their leading rusher with 729 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Bowl And Series History

This game marks Louisiana’s 11th bowl appearance with a 7-3 record, including their 7th time in the New Orleans Bowl, the most of any school. Conversely, this is Jacksonville State’s first bowl appearance, with a historic win against Louisiana back in 2000.

Who Wins On Saturday?

The New Orleans Bowl often features some of the best early-season games. A critical factor for Saturday’s game is the 31-point mark: Louisiana is 6-0 when scoring above 31 points, while Jacksonville State has allowed more than 31 points only once this season.

Prediction: Jacksonville State is expected to continue their remarkable story in what promises to be an exciting game.

Betting Insights and Game Trends

  • Jacksonville State Gamecocks (-3, 59.5) vs. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, December 16, 2:15 p.m. ET.
  • Jacksonville State’s first year in Conference USA was successful, finishing third. Their losses came to notable teams like Coastal Carolina, Liberty, South Carolina, and New Mexico State.
  • Louisiana’s performance varied, with 7.02 yards per play in their 6 wins and 5.53 YPP in their 6 losses.
  • Jacksonville State’s defense ranked 15th in yards per play allowed (4.88), and Louisiana’s defense ranked 41st nationally.
  • Both teams played nearly identical strengths of schedule, with Louisiana at 127th and Jacksonville State at 129th per Jeff Sagarin’s ratings.

Betting Tip: Louisiana +3, considering Jacksonville State’s potentially inflated defensive stats.