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New Orleans Bowl
Pick with Analysis
Louisiana-Lafayette probably isn't too happy that they get to face a Tulane team that will be playing at its home stadium, the Superdome. At least the Ragin' Cajuns are only two hours away, so it's not as big of deal as it could be. The line for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl isn't available in some places as LA-Lafayette still doesn't know if quarterback Terrance Broadway will be able to play due to injury. You can still find the Green Wave as small favorites in some books.
Broadway broke a bone in his forearm back on Nov. 30 and that could ultimately decide the game. Without Broadway in their last game, the Ragin' Cajuns scored a season-low eight points and recorded their fewest yards against South Alabama. Broadway is a dual-threat QB that has 19 passing TDs to go along with eight rushing TDs. Without him, they will either turn to last week's starter Brooks Haack who started in their last loss and went 5-for-14 for 49 yards and one INT, or Jalen Nixon who came in for fourth quarter duty when the game was out of reach. Both are freshman.
Despite finishing the season with two losses, LA-Lafayette still led the Sun Belt with an 8-4 overall record and 5-2 in the conference. No matter who's at quarterback, they will try and get the ground game going behind Alonzo Harris (868 yards, 13 TDs) and Elijah McGuire (818 yards, seven TDs). Obviously, Broadway would be a major boost and is worth a couple points in this spread.
As for the Green Wave, they have lost three of their last four games (all coming on the road), but still finished with a 7-5 record. This is actually their first bowl appearance in 11 years so that's something to be excited about.
Tulane is led by a defense that gave up just 21 points per game, although failed to hold down better opponents. In similar opponents Tulane lost 41-39 to South Alabama earlier in the year and beat UL-Monroe 31-14 back in September. LA-Lafayette lost to both of those teams, but that was without Broadway.
The Green Wave are led by Joe Montana's son Nick. His numbers aren't great, completing 53 percent of his passes for 14 TDs and nine INTs, but it's been enough. When he has a guy like Ryan Grant (70 receptions, 926 yards, nine TDs) to pass to, sometimes it isn't that hard. Their run game isn't outstanding, but they will run a lot no matter how it's going. Orleans Darkwa has 780 yards and nine touchdowns in his senior season.
If the Rajin' Cajuns don't get Broadway back, it's going to be very tough for them to score on this defense that has only allowed 30 points total in the past three games. LA-Lafayette's defense isn't great either, so it's unlikely they win the game on the defensive end.
These teams actually played last year with Lafayette dominating to a 41-13 home win, outgaining Tulane by more than 200 yards, with 294 yards on the ground. Keep an eye on Broadway's status before touching this game. And if it comes down to a close game, Tulane gets the nod as kicker Cairo Santos is one of the best in the nation.
The Green Wave are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games on turf and have covered in seven of their last eight games. This is the Ragin' Cajuns third straight bowl game. They are 11-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games and haven't covered in five straight overall. These teams used to be in the same conference, but that was back in the 90's.
This is a game we really aren't interested in whether Broadway plays or not. There are far better opportunities on the board this bowl season. We'd give the nod to Tulane though, by roughly a TD
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