East Carolina Pirates vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Dec. 22, 12 p.m., ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome Stadium (New Orleans, La.)
Line: Louisiana-Lafayette -6
Louisiana-Lafayette and a large contingent of fans get to make the short trip to New Orleans after winning three-straight games to get to 8-4. East Carolina shares the same record and just missed out on playing for a Conference USA championship.
Sexiness: Natalie Sather
As a NASCAR driver competing in the Camping World Truck Series, Natalie Sather is not a household name. This is much like the two teams in the New Orleans Bowl. Go ahead; try to name at least two players from both teams.
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Aces: Sophomore quarterback Shane Carden delivered big time for coach Ruffin McNeil. He threw for 2,878 yards and 21 touchdowns as the Pirates rank 35th in the nation with a passing average of 279 yards per game.
Deuces: The Pirates defense gives up 30.7 points a game and the unit finished the season by allowing 59 to a 5-7 Marshall team. It will be interesting to see if East Carolina can slow down the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Wildcard: Lafayette will do its best to defend the pass so East Carolina will need Vintavious Cooper to step up big time. Cooper rushed for more than 1,000 yards and provides just enough balance to the offense.
Aces: QB Terrance Broadway is a dual-threat player that many people have never heard of before, but the guy can really play. He has thrown for 2,526 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for 661.
Deuces: RB Alonzo Miller provides another dynamic to the offense and don’t be surprised if this guy has the best performance for ULL. He rushed for 774 yards and five scores so far this season.
Wildcard: ULL doesn’t have to travel far to get to New Orleans and their fans snatched up their allotment of tickets. ECU will have some fans there, but the edge goes to the Ragin’ Cajuns.
So you don’t forget...: There should be a lot of points scored in this game as the defenses are only slightly better than what Arizona or West Virginia throws out on the field. If you like to bet, Lafayette is 8-2 against the spread facing opponents with winning records. Just saying.
Crystal Ball: There are a lot of people who will tell you that it is bowl games like this one that make the bowl season meaningless. I’d argue it’s just the opposite. For these two programs, playing in this game is very important. Winning this game is something they will brag about for the next 12 months. Expect a hard-fought contest.
Score: East Carolina 34, Lafayette 28