No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette (1-0) at Georgia State, Saturday at noon ET (ESPN2).
Line: Louisiana-Lafayette by 17.
Series record: Louisiana-Lafayette leads 4-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
In the Sun Belt opener for both teams, Louisiana-Lafayette seeks to improve on its first AP ranking since 1943. The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming off a 34-14 upset victory at Iowa State, their first road win over a ranked team. Georgia State is starting a new quarterback, but likely won’t be a pushover as it returns eight starters from an offense that was the most prolific unit in program history and eight starters on defense. The Panthers took a stunning win in their season opener at Tennessee last year.
Georgia State’s offensive line against Louisiana-Lafayette’s linebackers. It will imperative for the Panthers to get to the second level of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ defense for Destin Coates, Tucker and Marcus Carroll to have space to run. Georgia State returns four starters on the line, led by senior left guard Shamarious Gilmore, who has started every game the last three years and earned a preseason first-team All-Sun Belt selection. The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by linebackers Joe Dillon, who had 10.5 tackles for minus yardage, eight sacks and 45 tackles last year, sixth-year senior Ferrod Gardner, who had nine tackles, one sack and a quarterback hurry last week, and Lorenzo McCaskill.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Louisiana-Lafayette: QB Levi Lewis last week was 13 of 21 passing for 154 and one touchdown, a 78-yarder to Peter LeBlanc that was the longest completion of his career. Lewis completed 243 passes last year for 3,050 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior, setting single-season school records in all three categories.
Georgia State: QB Quad Brown played in four games last year as a true freshman, including the entire second half against Louisiana-Monroe when Dan Ellington was injured. Brown completed 11 of 28 passes last year for 130 yards. He beat out three freshmen to earn the job.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Ragin’ Cajuns set the program record with 42 rushing touchdowns and 3,604 yards rushing last year. RB Elijah Mitchell gained 46 yards on eight carries last week. Trey Ragas ran 14 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. … Georgia State went 5-1 last year at home. … Coach Billy Napier is in his third season and is 19-10 with Louisiana-Lafayette. … Panthers coach Shawn Elliott is entering his fourth season and is 16-21.