Saturday college football! Bowl season kickoff, FCS semifinal and more!

Five bowl games! The other half of the FCS semifinals! The Division II national championship! We’re gonna make it through December after all! Full weekend schedule right here!

The first game of bowl season is finally here, and Louisiana-Lafayette meets Nevada in the New Orleans Bowl late Saturday morning. The Ragin’ Cajuns have won the New Orleans Bowl every year under fourth-year head coach Mark Hudspeth, and will try to do so again against the Wolf Pack.

Louisiana-Lafayette started the season 1-3 with non-conference blowout losses to Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Boise State, but rebounded strong once conference play came around. The Ragin’ Cajuns put together a 7-1 record against Sun Belt competition, most notably beating Texas State, Arkansas State and South Alabama in a tough three-game stretch. Their lone conference loss came to Appalachian State, costing them a share of the Sun Belt title.

Nevada is back in the postseason for the first time under Brian Polian — the school went 4-8 last year, but seven wins in 2014 marked its spot in the New Orleans Bowl. The Wolf Pack’s season was even better than the record shows: All five of their losses came against Power 5 competition or the top of the Mountain West (Arizona, Boise State, Colorado State, Air Force and Fresno State) with all but one (Fresno State) by one possession. Nevada recorded solid wins over Washington State, BYU and San Diego State, and will try to add to its resume with a win here.

How to watch, listen, and stream

Game time: 11 a.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Radio: Here’s a list of affiliates for Louisiana-Lafayette. Here’s one for Nevada.

Online streaming: WatchESPN.

The numbers

Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked. Louisiana Lafayette went 8-4 this season, and Nevada was 7-5. The Wolf Pack won the only game between the two schools back in 1995.

Vegas: Nevada opened as one-point favorites. The over/under is set at 61.5.

Weather forecast: High of 64 with possible rain.

Two things at stake

With a win, the Ragin’ Cajuns would finish 9-4 for the fourth straight season under Hudspeth.

After mixed results through two years under Polian, a win for Nevada would signal an upward trajectory.

One big matchup

Louisiana-Lafayette rushing offense vs. Nevada rushing defense. The Ragin’ Cajuns found much of their offensive success on the ground this season, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and scoring 31 of their 45 offensive touchdowns on rushing plays. They’re led by Elijah McGuire (7.8 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns) and Alonzo Harris (4.6 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns), but quarterback Terrance Broadway is also a mobile threat.

Further reading

For more on Louisiana-Lafayette and the rest of the Sun Belt, head over to Underdog Dynasty. For coverage of Nevada and the rest of the Mountain West Conference, check out Mountain West Connection.

December 20, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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