Saturday, December 21, 2013
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl preview
By Sam Khan Jr.
A preview of Saturday's R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl between Tulane (7-5) and Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4) at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN):
Who to watch: Tulane cornerback Lorenzo Doss is tied for second in the national rankings with seven interceptions. He already has 12 in his career, and he's just a sophomore. A first-team All-Conference USA selection, Doss also returned two interceptions for touchdowns. ... Louisiana-Lafayette senior linebacker Justin Anderson leads the Ragin' Cajuns with 123 tackles and 10 tackles for loss this season. He ranks in the top 15 nationally in tackles per game (10.3) and solo tackles per game (5.9). He was a first-team All-Sun Belt selection. ... Tulane senior Ryan Grant leads the team in receptions (70), receiving yards (926) and receiving touchdowns (nine) and is looking to become the first Tulane player to have consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons since 1987.
What to watch: Keep an eye on the quarterbacks. Ragin' Cajuns junior Terrance Broadway broke his arm on Nov. 30 but has practiced and might play. If he can't go, redshirt freshman Brooks Haack will start for Louisiana-Lafayette. Tulane starting quarterback Nick Montana is the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. Nick Montana has started 10 of 12 games, missing two in the middle of the year with an injury, but leads the team with 1,654 passing yards and 14 touchdowns with nine interceptions. The backup, Devin Powell, has appeared in seven games and started the two Montana missed.
Why to watch: The Ragin' Cajuns continue to rise under coach Mark Hudspeth. They have improved their standing in the Sun Belt in each of the past three seasons, going from third in 2011 to second in 2012 to a Sun Belt championship this year. The 45-year-old coach is 26-12 since taking over in Lafayette. Meanwhile, Tulane is a nice story, as well, making the postseason for the first time in 11 years. Curtis Johnson is in his second year as coach of the Green Wave and is already making an impact, taking the team to a winning record for the first time since 2002. Also, the site of Saturday's game – the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – has long been Tulane's home stadium, but this will be the Green Wave's finale there as they open Yulman Stadium, their new on-campus home, next year.
Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 31, Tulane 27.