Tulane-Louisiana Preview

Louisiana-Lafayette has a reputation to uphold at the Superdome,

but this year it’ll have to do it against an opponent that calls

New Orleans home.

Looking for their third straight New Orleans Bowl victory, the

Ragin’ Cajuns meet in-state foe Tulane Saturday with the Green Wave

making their first bowl appearance since 2002 and both teams

battling injuries at quarterback.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (8-4) sandwiched a school record-tying eight

straight wins between season-opening and season-closing two-game

losing streaks. A 30-8 loss to South Alabama on Dec. 7 cost the

Ragin’ Cajuns their first outright Sun Belt title and they settled

for co-conference champion honors with Arkansas State.

“I am not going to let this ruin the entire season,” coach Mark

Hudspeth told the team’s official website. “We are the Sun Belt

Conference champions. Even though we finished tied, we beat the

team head-to-head that we finished tied with and we won eight games

in a row. We won a conference title in just our third year together

and we are going to our third straight bowl. The negative people

can get off the train and the positive ones can join me in New

Orleans because we’re going back to a bowl.”

Quarterback Terrance Broadway missed the final game of the

season with a broken right arm suffered Nov. 30 in a 31-28 loss to

Louisiana-Monroe, and his status for Saturday is uncertain.

Tulane (7-5), however, is preparing for the junior, who threw

for 19 touchdowns and ran for another eight. Tulane coach Curtis

Johnson is also anticipating he’ll have his own starting

quarterback, Nick Montana, who has been slowed by a shoulder

injury.

“We want to be as basic as we can, but we are going to prepare

for Broadway,” Johnson said. “Broadway makes the whole thing go. We

think Nick will be ready, but if he isn’t, then we’ll move onto

Devin (Powell).”

Montana, son of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana,

separated his shoulder in October and aggravated it in the Green

Wave’s last game, a 17-13 loss at Rice on Nov. 30.

Tulane struggled to move the ball at the end of the season,

losing three of its last four while failing to crack 200 yards in

two of those games. They scored 17 points or fewer in four of their

last five.

“Our team was not healthy offensively,” Johnson said. “We took a

beating the last couple of weeks. Our quarterback wasn’t very

healthy since early on in the season. … I think we just need to

get healthy and back up and work on some fundamental stuff. I

thought our fundamentals were slipping with the offensive line and

the receivers. I think that will help us a lot.”

They went 5-5 in games Montana played as the junior completed

53.1 percent of his passes for 1,654 yards, 14 TDs and nine

interceptions. He sat out last year after transferring from

Washington.

The Ragin’ Cajuns had found an offensive groove with Broadway,

averaging 41.7 points in the three games before the injury.

They had similar offensive success in last year’s meeting with

Tulane. Louisiana-Lafayette beat Tulane 41-13 on Oct. 6, 2012, with

Broadway at quarterback.

“I think if you look at what happened last year against them,

they really took us to the woodshed,” Johnson said. “They played

sensational. They have the better record and they’ve been in this

bowl game several years. I think we are pretty desperate for a win

right now, and we are practicing like it. We are going in the right

direction.”

But Broadway or not, Hudspeth wants to see his team’s turnovers

handled. They’ve turned the ball over seven times in the last two

games with no takeaways.

“We had a couple of turnovers that gave them a short field,”

Hudspeth said after the South Alabama loss. “It wasn’t just the

turnovers that we gave them, we gave them the momentum and we never

got it back. We played well enough defensively to win the game, but

we turned the ball over too much.”

The Green Wave, meanwhile, had a plus-12 turnover margin and

turned it over once in their last two games.

While Louisiana-Lafayette beat East Carolina 43-34 in last

year’s New Orleans Bowl, the Green Wave last played postseason

football in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl, a 36-28 win over Hawaii.