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The feeling is mutual.

Over the past decade, Arkansas State University playing Louisiana-Lafayette has become a sort of conference rivalry game, with the Ragin' Cajuns holding a 6-4 record in the past 10 meetings.

Arkansas State's last victory over Louisiana-Lafayette came in 2017 when the Red Wolves beat the Ragin' Cajuns 47-3. Louisiana-Lafayette has taken the last two contests 47-43 in 2018 and 37-20 in 2019.

And since the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game started in 2018, the Red Wolves finished second behind the Ragin' Cajuns in the West Division both seasons.

"We don't like them, they don't like us," ASU Coach Blake Anderson said. "But that only matters if we go down there and play good ball. I mean we can be as mad at them as we want to, but if we don't put points on the scoreboard at the end of it, it doesn't do us any good. We've got to keep it in perspective."

ASU (3-4, 1-3 Sun Belt) will be the underdog today, with Louisiana-Lafayette entering as 14 1/2-point favorites at home. Led by senior quarterback Levi Lewis, the Ragin' Cajuns (5-1, 3-1) are the favorites to come out of the Western Division to face either Coastal Carolina or Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game.

Through six games, Lewis has thrown for 1,380 yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, while also running for 2 scores. Facing a struggling ASU defense at 11 a.m. today, Lewis could have a field day.

"They've got a quarterback that's tremendously difficult to get on the ground," Anderson said. "[He's] super quick, and he's really like having another running back because if they run him, he is dynamic. He seems to bail them out all the time when they need it most."

Anderson is quick to point out that Lewis will not be ASU's main concern. Instead, it's the offensive and defensive lines where Louisiana-Lafayette is clearly the bigger group.

"They're physically the biggest team in the league. They've got size on every street corner down there. They've recruited well, they're really big at every position," Anderson said. "Both lines of scrimmage we're going to be giving up size in a lot of areas so we're going to have to do a great job with technical skills, again, doing what we're best at. But it'll start up front. If we can hold point and make it tough for them to run the ball and try to take some of that away from them, then that would benefit us. If we can find a way to run the ball effectively, that will, too.

"It all starts up front on both sides of the ball. It's going to take every bit we've got to hold point with them."

Arkansas State needs to get its run game going, which ranked 90th out of 103 teams after last week, averaging only 105.7 yards per game. And it needs to stop Lafayette's run game, which ranked 29th, averaging 193 yards -- ASU is 67th in the country in run defense, allowing 178.6 yards.

As for the rivalry, Anderson doesn't think much of it. He's focused on only his team.

And if they can go out and upset a team of Louisiana-Lafayette's caliber, great. But he wants to see his group improve above anything else.

"We've got to play consistent, good, sound, football to give ourselves a chance where we don't beat ourselves," he said. "And if they beat us -- you play head-to-head, you play a great game, somebody's more talented than you and they beat you, that's something you can look back and learn a lesson and you can put your head on a pillow and sleep well at night.

"But if you're not playing well and you're beating yourself, that's where the frustration is."

Today’s game


WHEN 11 a.m. Central

WHERE Cajun Field, Lafayette, La.

RECORDS Arkansas State 3-4, 1-3 Sun Belt Conference; Louisiana-Lafayette 5-1, 3-1



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