Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette meet in New Orleans Bowl

Southern Mississippi (6-6, Conference USA) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (6-6, Sun Belt), Dec. 17, 9 p.m. EST

LOCATION: New Orleans

TOP PLAYERS

Southern Miss: QB Nick Mullens. The senior has thrown for 2,926 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.

Louisiana-Lafayette: RB Elijah McGuire. The senior has 1,028 yards rushing and seven touchdowns this season. It's his third straight year with more than 1,000 yards rushing.

NOTABLE:

Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles have stumbled at times this season, but also have some quality wins over teams like Kentucky and Louisiana Tech. … Southern Miss ranked 125th out of 128 teams in turnover margin this season, forcing 14 turnovers but giving up 30.

Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin' Cajuns have a long history with Southern Miss and this is the 52nd time the two programs will meet. The Golden Eagles have won the past eight in the series. … Louisiana-Lafayette won three of its final four games to become bowl eligible.

LAST TIME: Southern Mississippi 51, Louisiana-Lafayette 21 (Aug. 30, 2008)

BOWL HISTORY:

Southern Miss: Fifth appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, second straight year in a bowl game, 25th overall.

Louisiana-Lafayette: Fifth appearance in New Orleans Bowl, first bowl appearance since 2014. Seventh bowl game overall, including five of last six seasons.

AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org