Sunday, December 22, 2013

Louisiana-Lafayette: 2013 New Orleans Bowl Champions

It was as cruel a way for Tulane's season to end as possible. Green Wave kicker Cairo Santos missed a 48-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left that gave the University of Louisiana-Lafayette a 24-21 victory in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night before a record crowd of 54,728 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
It was UL Lafayette's (9-4) third straight victory in the New Orleans Bowl. And it prevented an impressive rally for victory by Tulane (7-6), which came back from a 21-0 second-quarter deficit.
Led by quarterback Devin Powell, the Wave drove from its 5 to the UL Lafayette 31 to set up Santos' attempt, which went wide left. It was a difficult way for Santos' career to end. He was the Lou Groza Award winner in 2012.
Tulane trailed 24-21 in the fourth quarter and drove from its 25 to the UL Lafayette 39. Facing fourth-and-10 at that point with less than eight minutes to play, Wave coach Curtis Johnson elected to punt instead of sending in Santos for a 56-yard field goal try.
UL Lafayette took over at its 9 then, led by redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Nixon, and drove to the Tulane 49 before it was forced to punt with but 1:42 left.
Cajuns punter Daniel Cadona hit a beauty that put Tulane at its 5 with 1:35 to play.
The Cajuns took a 24-21 lead with 9:56 left in the fourth quarter thanks to a Powell interception.
Pinned at the Tulane 3 after a UL Lafayette punt, Powell dropped to pass. But he was hurried and threw up a poor pass with a lot of air under it that was picked off by Cajuns safety Sean Thomas at the Wave 25. UL Lafayette took over at the Tulane 13 but could do nothing with it, as the Wave defense held.
That brought on UL Lafayette kicker Hunter Stover, who booted a 27-yard field goal, the first attempt of his collegiate career, that gave the Cajuns a 24-21 lead with 9:56 to play.
The Wave rallied from a 21-0 first half deficit and tied the game thanks its defense in the third quarter.
Facing third-and-6 at the UL Lafayette 33, Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway was chased from the pocket and looked to throw it away. But his pass went into the waiting arms of Wave cornerback Derrick Strozier at the Cajuns’ 37. Strozier returned the ball to the UL Lafayette 17.
After a procedure call by Tulane pushed it back to the Cajuns’ 22, Wave running back Orleans Darkwa ran 22 yards to tie the score, 21-21, with 2:34 left in the third quarter.
The Cajuns looked to make it a blowout in the first half as they jumped to a 21-0 lead. UL Lafayette scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives and led 14-0 with 2:10 left in the first quarter.
UL Lafayette drove 65 and 73 yards, pounding the Wave up front with an impressive running game. Freshman running back Elijah McGuire ran 27 yards for the first score with 10:57 left on the Cajuns’ first offensive of the night to give them a 7-0 lead.
Running back Alonzo Harris made it 14-0 with a 15-yard run with 2:10 left in the second quarter as UL Lafayette had 143 yards at the end of the first 15 minutes.
Tulane picked itself up, though, driving from its 40 to the Cajuns’ 18 on the ensuing possession. That’s when UL Lafayette delivered what looked to be a kill shot. Cajuns’ cornerback Corey Trim picked off a pass by Green Wave quarterback Nick Montana and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown.
Trim jumped the sideline-route pass then went the distance to give UL Lafayette a 21-0 lead with 12:31 left in the first half.
But Powell came on after that and engineered a pair of touchdown drives to cut the Cajuns’ lead to 21-14 at the half.
Tulane drove 71 yards in nine plays for their first score of the night, a 1-yard run by Orleans Darkwa with 3:55 left in the second quarter.
But it was a fourth down gamble that breathed life into the Wave. Facing fourth-and-2 at the Tulane 48, Johnson elected to go for it and Powell delivered. He completed a 41-yard pass to Devon Breaux to the UL Lafayette 11. Two plays later, Darkwa scored.
The Wave defense helped set up the next score when cornerback Jordan Sullen picked off a pass by Broadway at the Tulane 35.
On the first play after the interception, Powell again came through with a 49-yard pass to Ryan Grant to the UL Lafayette 16. Darkwa capped the drive with a 7-yard run to cut the Cajuns’ lead to 21-14 with 1:58 left in the first half.
Powell finished the first half completing four of six passes for 109 yards. In fact, Tulane outgained the Cajuns on offense 243-185 in the first half.
Broadway was five of seven passing for 57 yards and rushed for 38 yards in the first half.
Post a Comment