The Ragin' Cajuns will represent the Sun Belt Conference for the Second Year in a Row
NEW ORLEANS (November 24, 2012) – R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Officials today invited Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns to represent the Sun Belt Conference at the 12th annual game on Dec. 22nd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
After being crowned champions of last year's bowl, defeating San Diego State University 32-30 in a down to the wire thriller, the Ragin' Cajuns have officially accepted the invitation to represent the Sun Belt Conference in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl for the second year in a row.
The invitation, officially made by Bowl Officials following Saturday's victory over South Alabama, was accepted by Head Coach Mark Hudspeth and Director of Athletics Scott Farmer with great enthusiasm.
“We are thrilled that the Ragin' Cajuns have accepted our invitation to represent the Sun Belt Conference for the second straight year,” said Bowl Chairman Ron Gardner. “Having a team from the state of Louisiana in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl just makes it all the more fun to showcase our wonderful state and city to other teams and visitors.”
“The Ragin' Cajuns are a great fit to be the Sun Belt Conference representative in this year's R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson. “It is important for Sun Belt Conference teams to be able to play in postseason bowl games close to home where they can maximize ticket sales, lessen travel expenses and provide an opportunity for fans to attend the game.”
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns are currently 7-4 and entered Saturday as one of four teams still in the race for the Sun Belt regular-season championship, along with Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee and ULM. Hudspeth, in his second season in Lafayette, realizes the importance of keeping his team focused in the coming weeks, but also took some time to celebrate the team's second straight bowl appearance. “I could not be prouder of this team. We've fought hard all season, and it's nice to see all of that work pay off. Our players and fans couldn't be happier to be going back to the Big Easy – let's paint the town red, again.”
The Ragin' Cajuns feature one of the Sun Belt's most exciting offenses, led by sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway. Broadway, who in September took over for 2011 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Most Outstanding Player Blaine Gautier, entered Saturday having completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 2,053 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Wide receivers Harry Peoples and Darryl Surgent are Broadway's favorite targets, each with more than 500 receiving yards. Alonzo Harris leads the running game with 634 yards and five touchdowns coming into Saturday, while Broadway had already rushed for 473 yards and six scores prior to Saturday's game.
On defense, linebacker Justin Anderson leads the Cajuns with over 80 tackles and free safety Rodney Gillis has a team-best four interceptions, which ranks second in the conference.
The Cajuns also have a strong kicking game behind the right foot of Brett Baer, who kicked the game-winning 50-yard field goal as time expired in last year's R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Baer leads the Sun Belt in scoring, field goals and punting average.
The Cajuns join North Texas, who played in the first four editions of the game as the Sun Belt's representative, and Southern Miss (2004-05 and 2008-09) as the only schools to play in back-to-back R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowls.
With today's invitation and acceptance, Bowl officials now turn their attention to the Cajuns' Conference USA opponent. With three bowl-eligible teams in the conference and two more teams seeking eligibility on the final Saturday of C-USA's regular season, that picture should become clearer in the coming weeks. Previous C-USA representatives include Southern Miss, Memphis and Rice.
The 2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be played on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. (CST) in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Radio.
For more information on the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, visit www.neworleansbowl.org.