2014 New Orleans Bowl schedule and coverage: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Nevada
The first bowl game of the season pits the Sun Belt against Conference USA.
The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is the first bowl of the postseason, matching the top pick of the Sun Belt against a foe from Conference USA. Founded in 2001, last year’s matchup saw in-state rivals Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane face off at home, with record-breaking attendance as a result. The Ragin’ Cajuns have been selected four times in a row now for the local game, earning a bid over Arkansas State, winners of three straight conference titles (ULL brought home a share of one in 2013). This year it will be Louisiana-Lafayette against Nevada, according to ESPN.
Date and time, ET: Saturday, Dec. 20, 11 a.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: New Orleans, La.
Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (73,208 capacity, expandable to 76,468)
Last year’s score: Louisiana-Lafayette 24, Tulane 21
Last year’s attendance: 54,728
Last year’s TV rating: 1.3
Last year’s payout for each school: $500,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: Two-way tie between Southern Miss and North Texas (4)
Team with the most all-time wins: Two-way tie between Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette (3)
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (8-4, 7-1 Sun Belt)
Under Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette has been one of the most consistent programs in the country. The Ragin’ Cajuns have posted an 8-4 record in each of his four seasons at the helm, winning their bowl game in the previous three (their first three bowl games in program history). Will that trend continue this season?
Lafayette scheduled a tougher non-conference schedule than usual this season, losing to Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Boise State. They nearly ran the gamut in Sun Belt play, however, losing a shocker to Appalachian State to rob them of a share of the conference title.
Last bowl game: 2013 New Orleans Bowl, 24-21 vs. Tulane
All-time bowl record: 3-0
Head coach’s bowl record: Mark Hudspeth, 3-0
Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5, 4-4)
After a disappointing first season under first-time head coach Brian Polian, the Wolf Pack are returning to the postseason. Nevada finished 7-5, with an even 4-4 record in the Mountain West. Polian’s team set the tone for the season with an upset win over Washington State in early September. Four of Nevada’s five losses came by seven points or less, but a win over rival UNLV at the end of November healed all wounds.
The Wolf Pack feature a pair of soon-to-be 1,000-yard rushers, with quarterback Cody Fajardo (997 yards) and halfback Don Jackson (932 yards) within striking distance entering bowl season. Fajardo has also thrown for 2,374 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Last bowl game: 2012 New Mexico Bowl, 49-48 loss vs. Arizona
All-time bowl record: 4-9
Head coach’s bowl record: Brian Polian, first bowl