The Tulane Green Wave play the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans on Saturday night.
Tulane finished the regular season 7-5 overall and 5-3 in Conference USA. The Green Wave won’t have to go far to make their first bowl appearance in 11 years as Tulane plays on its home field, the Superdome. Tulane, under second-year coach Curtis Johnson improved from 2-10 to 7-5 and contended for the Conference USA title this season. Tulane avoided any distractions by locking up Johnson, who has upgraded the talent base substantially, through 2020 with a generous contract extension. Junior college transfer QB Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, has played better down the stretch, throwing four touchdowns passes and no interceptions in his last two games. Senior WR Ryan Grant caught 70 balls for 926 yards and 9 touchdowns this season for the Green Wave. The rushing attack averages 3.6 yards per carry this season. Tulane, which is scheduled to move to a new on-campus stadium next year, has dropped three of four but is playing solid defense. The Green Wave allowed 30 points over its last three games and tied for 19th nationally in scoring defense at 21.2 this season. Tulane has a great kicker in Cairo Santos, who has made his last 10 field goals inside 50 yards and could be the difference-maker in this game on Saturday.
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The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns finished 8-4 overall and 5-2 in the Sun Belt Conference this year. The Ragin’ Cajuns are making their third straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl after defeating East Carolina last year and San Diego State in 2011. Louisiana hopes to get back dual-threat QB Terrance Broadway, who fractured a small bone in his forearm in the November 30th loss to Louisiana-Monroe and underwent surgery. Without the dynamic junior, the Ragin Cajuns produced a season-low 212 yards in the final behind three redshirt freshman quarterbacks. Louisiana should be confident heading into this matchup as the beat Tulane 41-13 at home last year. If Broadway can’t play, QB Brooks Haack is likely to start after going 21-of-35 for 224 yards with a touchdown and an interception returned for a touchdown in five appearances this season. On defense, LB Justin Anderson is the anchor, finishing with 123 tackles this season after producing 12 tackles in the regular-season finale. The Ragin Cajuns defense is allowing 394 yards and 26.9 points on average this year.
Tulane has won four out of the last five meetings between these two teams dating back to 1997. However, these two teams played last year and Louisiana won by 28 points at home. The biggest question leading up to the game is whether or not Louisiana’s QB Broadway will play or not. If Broadway plays and is at 100% than I think ULL has a good chance of winning this game. If he does not play then Tulane, who has improved tremendously this season, will come away with the win. Tulane will be at home with the crowd behind them. I think coach Johnson will have his team prepared and I’m going to side with the Green Wave in this one.