Tulane Green Wave (7-5) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (8-3)
Dec. 21, 9 p.m. ET, New Orleans (ESPN)
TULANE GREEN WAVE BREAKDOWN
He won’t win coach of the year, but Curtis Johnson has done a remarkable job in just his second season at Tulane. The New Orleans native took over a program that hadn’t had a winning season since 2002, and now it is headed to only its fourth bowl game in the past 30 years.
At quarterback is a name you might have heard of. Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, transferred to Tulane last December after a year in junior college.
Montana has thrown for 1,654 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His favorite target has been senior wide receiver Ryan Grant, who leads the team with 70 receptions for 926 yards and nine touchdowns.
But the turnaround has been predicated by the defense. Tulane has gone from the bottom of the conference to the top in both yards per game and points per game. Cornerback Lorenzo Doss is tied for second in the FBS with seven interceptions. -- Greg Ostendorf
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE RAGIN' CAJUNS BREAKDOWN
Louisiana-Lafayette was cruising right along on the heels of eight straight victories until hitting the skids and losing each of the past two weeks. The Ragin’ Cajuns could have won the Sun Belt Conference championship outright but were blasted 30-8 by South Alabama on Saturday.
That’s after losing 31-28 at home to Louisiana-Monroe the previous week. Lafayette will make its third straight New Orleans Bowl appearance and hopes to have starting quarterback Terrance Broadway back for the game. He broke his forearm in the loss to ULM, and redshirt freshman Brooks Haack started in his place in the loss to South Alabama and struggled.
Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said Broadway’s injury wasn’t a “severe break” and that the Cajuns are optimistic he’ll be back for the Dec. 21 bowl game. They had scored more than 30 points in seven of their previous eight games before stumbling these past two games. -- Chris Low