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New Orleans Bowl: Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin` Cajuns Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/21/13

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin` Cajuns (8-4) at Tulane Green Wave (7-5)

College Football: Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)

The Line: Tulane Green Wave -2 -- Over/Under: 49 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

Storyline:  The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl features Louisiana-Lafayette going for its third New Orleans Bowl title in as many years up against  a Tulane team looking to put a stamp on the rise of its football program after more than tripling its win total of the past two seasons.

The Breakdown: The Ragin’ Cajuns started their 2014 campaign with consecutive blowout losses to Arkansas and Kansas State before a complete about face, winning the next eight in a row and seven by sizable double-digit margins. The season, however, ended in much the same way it began—consecutive losses to a higher grade of opponent than the majority on the slate.

New Orleans Bowl: Tulane Green Wave vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin` Cajuns Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/21/13

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana-Lafayette had a pretty good thing going there for a while with dual threat junior QB Terrance Broadway, who broke his throwing arm in the 4th quarter of the Ragin’ Cajuns 31-28 loss to Louisiana-Monroe Nov. 30. Broadway, whose status for the game is listed as doubtful, posted some strong numbers in his 10 starts this season, throwing for 2,276 yards and 19 TDs, while rushing for 421 yards and 8 TDs.  Redshirt freshman Brooks Hacks stepped in for the final game of the regular season and completed 21 of 35 for 224 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick.  Without Broadway, though, the key for Louisiana-Lafayette will be its 26th-ranked running game, which averages 207.6 yards per outing and is led by the RB tandem of junior Alonzo Harris (868 YDs, 13 TDs) and freshman Elijah McGuire (818 YDs, 7 TDs). Junior WR Jamal Robinson (50 RE, 812 YDs, 8 TDs) is also another player to watch. At 6-4, 205 he could cause some matchup problems.

Tulane, meanwhile, started the season alternating between wins and losses before winning four in a row, beginning with an impressive 31-14 result at Louisiana-Monroe—one of the Ragin’ Cajuns 4 losses incidentally. The Green Wave sputtered to a 7-5 finish, though, dropping three of their last four games.

Tulane comes in with one of the best scoring defenses in the FBS, allowing 21.2 points per contest for 19th best in the country. This unit is stout, led by All-Conference USA selections senior DE Julius Warmsley (41 tackles, 15 for loss) and sophomore CB Lorenzo Doss (32 tackles, 7 INTs). On the offensive side, the Green Wave boast a QB with one of the best pedigrees in college football in junior Nick Montana (1,654 YDs, 14 TDs, 9 INTs), son of hall-of-fame QB Joe Montana. Montana, who’s listed as uncertain for the game, struggled with a shoulder injury this season, missing several games and clearly suffering through others as he had three outings in which he failed to reach 100 yards passing.  Freshman Devin Powell, who stepped in and threw for 458 yards, 5 TDs and 4 INTs, will get the start if Montana can’t go. Other players to watch on the offensive side include senior RB Orleans Darkwa (780 YDs, 9 TDs) and senior WR Ryan Grant (70 REC, 926 YDs, 9 TDs).

Rick’s Pick: The line in this one is currently set at -2 for Tulane with a 49 point total and with the status of both starting QBs up in the air, two largely unproven QBs could go here. These teams average a combined 59.7 points per, but LA-Lafayette’s 34.6 average has a lot do with Broadway. All things considered, the under looks like the play.

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Under 49

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