Louisiana-LaFayette vs Nevada: 2014 New Orleans Bowl Preview

Chris Maurice previews the upcoming R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl match up between the Louisiana-LaFayette Ragin’ Cajuns and Nevada Wolf Pack

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Mississippi

Sep 13, 2014; Oxford, MS, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway (8) hands the ball off to Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Alonzo Harris (46) during the game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. (Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports)

NEW ORLEANS (C+P) — The University of Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns and the Nevada Wolf Pack are meeting at 10 in the morning Saturday, Dec. 20 in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome for the official kickoff to the 2014-2015 College Football Bowl Season: the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

The Wolf Pack and their fans will have a long ways to travel, but they believe they can pull off the upset come Saturday. Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo is on fire, averaging 6.1 yards per carry with five games of more than 100 rushing yards. Fajardo is the player to watch as he takes the field for his last college game.

Nevada may not boast the sturdiest defense in the FBS (79th nationally in scoring defense); however, the Wolf Pack has forced 26 total turnovers in 2014, the 23rd best in the country. If Nevada wants to upset the reigning New Orleans Bowl champs, they will need their defense to show up in full force.

Sep 20, 2014; Boise, ID, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth during the second half against the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium. (Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports)
Sep 20, 2014; Boise, ID, USA; Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth during the second half against the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium. (Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports)

ULL is no stranger to this scene; in fact, this will be ULL’s fourth consecutive appearance in the New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns are coming into this game hot: ULL has won seven of their last eight games, and they are certainly looking to win their fourth consecutive New Orleans Bowl—actually, ULL is one of only six FBS schools to win a Bowl game in each of the last three seasons, joining football powerhouses Texas A&M, Oregon, Florida State, Michigan State, and South Carolina.

Because the game is played in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, ULL also enjoys a home field atmosphere, especially compared to their challengers from Nevada. ULL will certainly try to use the location to their advantage: the Ragin’ Cajuns give up an average of 6.0 yards per play, 99th in the nation; so having home field advantage can’t hurt. The Cajuns also fall short this season in their overall scoring defense which comes in at 78th in the nation.

The Cajuns make up for their below average defense with an offense that head coach Mark Hudspeth has trained very well in the art of preventing turnovers. ULL is coming into the postseason with only 13 total turnovers this season (tied for 11th in the nation).

No doubt ULL is primed and ready for this game. The teams seem equal, but something has to give. Should be an exciting beginning to the 2014 Bowl Season.

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