2014 marks the 14th playing of the New Orleans Bowl. We have compiled some New Orleans Bowl History for you. Originally this was the only Bowl “tie in” for the Sun Belt, but like the Bowl itself, the Sun Belt has grown to three bowls each season.
Be sure to cast your vote in this year’s fan poll!
Conference Tie Ins
The inaugural game featured the Sun Belt Champion and the 5th pick from the Mountain West. That 2001 game Colorado State (MW) beat North Texas (Sun Belt). From 2002 to 2009 the Sun Belt welcomed Conference USA as their opponent. 2010 the Mid American Conference was represented by Ohio University and they fell to Troy State. The 2011 season left Conference USA without an eligible team for the Bowl and the Mountain West sent San Diego State. University of Louisiana at Lafayette defeated SDSU in a game that sparked a three year streak of wins. 2012 and 2013 featured Conference USA teams again.
2013 A Year of Firsts
With victories and huge crowds in 2011 and 2012, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette had become the hometown team. Lafayette is only a couple of hours west of New Orleans the fans made themselves at home in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The 2013 game changed all of that when Tulane was selected to represent the Conference USA in the Bowl. Tulane football had called the Superdome home for almost 30 years for their regular season games. 2013 also brought a new record for attendance. Almost 55,000 fans packed the Dome to watch a great game. Joining Southern Miss, the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns became the second team to win the game 3 times and they did it in consecutive years.
The 2013 game also provided the first occasion when the game MVP was selected from the losing team. Orleans Darkwa the star running back for Tulane rushed for all three Tulane TDs that game. Mr. Darkwa was signed by the Dolphins in 2014 as an undrafted free agent. Kept on for their practice squad, the New York Jets signed him in November 2014 as a running back.
Louisiana’s quarterback, Terrance Broadway, was named the MVP in his second New Orleans Bowl appearance (2012) and will be leading the team again this year. Take a look at this rundown of all 13 RLBowl MVPs in this post from earlier this year.
RLBowl Alumni in the NFL
Sun Belt teams have won 8 of the 13 bowls. Four of those losses were at the hands of Conference USA, (4-6) in New Orleans Bowl play. The 5th loss was to the Mountain West in the 2001 game. Mountain West is an even 1-1, their loss was San Deigo in 2011. The Mid American Conference has only the one appearance by Ohio.
The 2010 game featured Troy State (Alabama) verses the Ohio University Bobcats. This game is responsible for different team records.
- Most points scored 48 points (Troy State)
- Margin of victory 27 points (Troy State)
- Most first downs 30 (Troy State)
- Total Yards 602 (Troy State)
The 2013 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl was the 12 highest attended bowl game of the year. Last year 35 bowls were played and that number has grown to feature 39 games this season.
This year’s game features the Nevada Wolf Pack taking on the three time defending champions, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin Cajuns. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will make history once again as the first bowl game of the season. Kick off is 10:00 a.m. local time in New Orleans. The game will be carried live on ESPN and ESPN Radio. For your second screen follow the game and online contests on Twitter by following the #RLBowl hashtag and @RLCarriers.