The New Orleans Bowl: A Ragin' Cajun Tradition
While the FCS schools are spending this month determining an undisputed champion, the bowl season begins next week.
First up -- set for 11am est on Sat 20 Dec -- is the New Orleans Bowl.
Nevada from the Mountain West will meet Louisiana-Lafayette from the Sun Belt.
The Wolfpack earned their trip to the Crescent City with a 7-5 overall record, going 4-4 in conference. They had a big wins against BYU and Washington State and played Colorado State and Arizona tough, losing each by a touchdown. The Ragin' Cajuns started 1-3 before finishing 8-4 overall and 7-1 in the Sun Belt, placing second to Georgia Southern. The Eagles, though, were ineligible for the conference title this season due to the transition procedures involved in moving to the FBS.
Nevada will be playing a road game in this one, as the Ragin' Cajuns are only a two-hour ride to the Superdome. The 'Pack is led by quarterback Cody Fajardo, who's thrown for 2375 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 990 yards and 13 more touchdowns. Fajardo is hoping the Wolfpack can duplicate their effort in the team's final regular season game against rival UNLV, whom they smashed, 49-27. Fajardo threw three touchdown passes and ran for 143 yards and another touchdown. Don Jackson and James Butler are the other big rushing threats, while Rich Turner led team in receptions.
Applachian State was the only team to beat UL-Lafayette in conference play, as the Cajuns return to the New Orleans Bowl for the fourth consecutive season. They've won the previous three, defeating Tulane, East Carolina, and San Diego State. Terrance Broadway is the quarterback, and he threw for 2070 yards and 12 touchdowns. UL-Lafayette has a potent rushing attack led by Elijah McGuire, who compiled 1165 yards and 14 touchdowns. Alonzo Harris added 737 yards and 12 touchdowns while Broadway -- when he wasn't slinging -- rushed for 630 yards and three touchdowns.
Both teams have decent kickers and special teams, but each defense has been porous this season. You never know how teams will respond to the long layoffs before a bowl game, but this is a time where seniors like Fajardo and Broadway can finish in style before enjoying that swag.