With nicknames like the Ragin’ Cajuns and the Green Wave, how can fans not be excited to watch this year’s New Orleans Bowl. The Louisiana Lafayette campus is just over two hours away from the Mercedes Benz Superdome, but Tulane’s campus is a mere ten minute drive. The Green Wave play their home games at the Superdome throughout the season and are 5-1 at home. Now in their first bowl game since the Hawaii Bowl in 2002, expect Tulane’s last home game in the Superdome to be their biggest crowd since the early days in Tulane Stadium.
Here’s TC Arizona Sports bowl prognosticator Jon Hotz and his take on the Vegas Bowl and who you should pick.
Let’s Start with Louisiana-Lafayette. Led by junior quarterback Terrance Broadway, the Ragin’ Cajuns finished the season with an 8-4 record and a share of the Sun-Belt Conference Championship. The dual-threat quarterback accounted for 27 total touchdowns but his status in the New Orleans bowl is unclear after injuring his forearm in a rivalry game against UL Monroe on November 30.
Broadway took snaps on Wednesday during ULL’s first bowl game practice, but wore a protective brace on the forearm of his throwing arm. Coach Mark Hudspeth was not very transparent when speaking with the media either, “Realistically, though, we’ve got to see by Saturday, which is still a little time, if he progresses, and to make sure that thing is healed up.”
If their leader can’t go, the Ragin’ Cajuns will rely on their two standout running backs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. Harris is the workhorse of the duo. He has twice as many carries as the freshman McGuire. McGuire is the big play guy with 8.9 yards per carry. The breakout freshman has carries of over 20 yards in 8 of the first 12 games of his collegiate career. The thunder and lightning combination has run for 1,686 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year.
The Green Wave has been rather weak on offense; they are ranked outside the top 100 in both passing yards and rushing yards per game. The offense, quarterbacked by Nick Montana — yes, son of Hall of Famer Joe Montana — is ranked 89th in points scored per game. Montana has only eclipsed 300 yards passing in one game this season and has finished with less than 100 passing yards on three occasions. Tulane has one legitimate offensive weapon in wide receiver Ryan Grant, catching 70 passes for 926 yards and 9 touchdowns.
How did Tulane finish the season at 7-5 and become bowl eligible with such a pathetic offense? Easy, their defense is no joke. In fact, they finished among the top 20 in the FBS in points allowed. The impressive defensive unit is led by defensive end Julius Warmsley and cornerback Lorenzo Doss, both of whom were first team All-Conference USA. Doss was also the named as a Walter Camp second team All-American; the sophomore star intercepted 7 passes taking 2 back for touchdowns. The senior Warmsley was a physical run-stopper for the Green Wave defense, recording 41 tackles and 4 sacks while absorbing blocks to open things up for the linebacking core.
This is a close matchup as evidenced by the 1.5 point spread between the two in-state competitors. Tulane is favored primarily because this game is being played on their home field. This game will be decided by the health of Louisiana-Lafayette’s prolific quarterback Broadway. If he is healthy the Ragin’ Cajuns will win the game, but if not, go with Tulane because their fans will be celebrating on Bourbon St.
You can catch Hotz’s MLB takes on our sister site TC Miami Sports (tcmiamisports.wordpress.com)