College Football

Louisiana Battle Between Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette in New Orleans Bowl

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The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (9 p.m. EST, ESPN) helps kickoff another college bowl season, with four bowl games being played on Saturday, December 21. For the third year in a row, Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) out of the Sun Belt Conference will play in the game at the Superdome in New Orleans. The Rajin’ Cajuns opponent will be Tulane (7-5) out of Conference USA. The Green Wave plays its home games in the Superdome, so it will feel like a home game for them, although the folks from Lafayette will bring a big contingent of their own fans along with them.

Tulane is all about its defense, which ranked 19th in the country in scoring defense. The Green Wave will face an offense that can really rack up some points on the scoreboard. The Rajin’ Cajuns average almost 35 points per game, but the Sun Belt isn’t quite as challenging as C-USA, so those numbers could be a little inflated.

Starting QB Terrance Broadway, a speedster from nearby Baton Rouge, may not be able to go for Lafayette due to a broken arm he suffered in a game against Louisiana-Monroe. Broadway transferred from Houston and has experience facing the Green Wave, having started in a game against them back during the 2010 season when replacing starter Case Keenum, who was injured for most of that year. Broadway was an inexperienced freshman at that time, and the Green Wave defeated Houston on the road. Not having Broadway might not matter much because the Cajuns rely on a punishing ground attack led by Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire, who helped UL-L achieve the 26th best rushing offense in the FBS Division of the NCAA. If the Cajuns get their ground attack in high gear it could be a long night for the Green Wave defense.

UL-L lost two games to major conference teams in Arkansas and Kansas State, but then reeled off eight straight wins. The injury to Broadway may have cost them at the end of the season, losing their final two games.

Tulane’s offense isn’t its strong suit. QB Nick Montana, the son of famed NFL signal caller Joe Montana, has suffered from a number of nagging injuries throughout the season. He completed 53 percent of his passes, with 14 touchdown throws and nine interceptions. One bright spot for the Green Wave attack is Ryan Grant, a wide receiver who pulled in 70 receptions and scored nine touchdowns on the year.

Tulane enjoys a 21-5 advantage in the series between these two Louisiana rivals. They are making their first bowl appearance since the 2002 season. Both teams have won their last two bowl games.

PREDICTION: Without Broadway, the Rajin’ Cajuns will struggle against the Green Wave defense, and Tulane should generate just enough offense to nip the team from 125 miles west on I-10: Tulane 19, Louisiana Lafayette 14.