The 2023 New Orleans Bowl features the 8-4 Jacksonville State Gamecocks against the 6-6 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Here is the 2023 New Orleans Bowl Preview.
Jacksonville State Gamecocks (8-4)
Jacksonville State won eight games and gets to play in a FBS bowl game for the first time. They defeated two bowl-eligible teams in Eastern Michigan and Western Kentucky. Their only loss to a team that didn’t make a bowl game was against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks score 29.8 points per game, ranking them 52nd in the country. They rush for 232.5 yards (ranked fifth) and pass for 165.6 yards per game (ranked 121st).
Zion Webb has been at quarterback for the Gamecocks this season. He has passed for 1,281 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions on 50 percent completion. The team has three receivers with over 200 receiving yards. Perry Carter has been the top receiver this season with 34 catches for 603 yards and three touchdowns.
Five players have over 200 rushing yards for Jacksonville State. Malik Jackson leads the team with 860 rushing yards and also has seven touchdowns. Webb has helped out from the quarterback position with 638 yards and seven touchdowns. Anwar Lewis and Ron Wiggins have 342 and 283 yards respectively.
The defense allows 20.6 points per game, ranking 26th in the nation. Linebacker Quae Drake leads the team with 86 total tackles. Chris Hardie has impressed with 7.5 sacks. Kekoura Tarnue has four passes defended and three interceptions in the secondary.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (6-6)
Louisiana won their last game of the season to qualify for a bowl game. They defeated two bowl-eligible teams: South Alabama and Texas State. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost to two teams who finished under .500 in Minnesota and Southern Miss.
The offense has played well, averaging 32.2 points per game. They pass for 221.8 yards (ranked 72nd) and rush for 183.5 yards per game (ranked 32nd).
At quarterback, the Ragin’ Cajuns have played three different players. Zeon Chriss has passed for 1,222 yards to lead the team, while Chandler Fields and Ben Wooldridge have 914 and 508 passing yards respectively. The Ragin’ Cajuns have six receivers with over 200 receiving yards on the season. Jacob Bernard and Peter LeBlanc have each been great with 473 and 449 receiving yards respectively.
Three players have contributed in major ways to the rushing attack. Jacob Kibodi leads the team with 729 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Dre’lyn Washington backs him up with 442 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Chriss has been dynamic from the quarterback position with 492 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively, Louisiana concedes 28.17 points per game, ranking them 84th in the country. They allow 213.2 passing yards (ranked 48th) and 160.9 passing yards per game (ranked 84th). Linebacker K.C. Ossai leads the team with 77 tackles. Jordan Lawson and Cameron Whitfield are tied for the team-high with seven sacks. Safety Tyrone Lewis has three passes defended and three interceptions.
Louisiana’s rushing attack will be able to have success against Jacksonville State. That will open things up for Chriss to hit receivers deep, something he has excelled at this season. The Ragin’ Cajuns can come away with the win.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 27 Jacksonville State Gamecocks 23
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