College Football New Orleans Bowl Picks: East Carolina Pirates vs Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Saturday, December 22, 2012, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
East Carolina Pirates vs Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Opening Line: ULL -4 1/2
Current Line: ULL -4 1/2
Opening Total: 63
Current Total: 65
Opening Money Line: ULL -250 / ECU +210
Current Money Line: ULL -210 / ECU +180

Louisana-Lafayette takes on East Carolina in the New Orleans Bowl. ULL is a 5 point favorite in what should be a high scoring affair.

The 8-4 East Carolina Pirates take on the 8-4 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in the 2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The Ragin’ Cajuns lead the series 6-4, but they haven’t played since 1990. East Carolina won that game 20-10 to snap a four game losing streak against ULL, then known as Southwestern Louisiana.

East Carolina is 8-9 all-time in bowl games. The Pirates have lost 3 straight bowl games including the 2010 Military Bowl 51-20 against Maryland. ULL won the New Orleans Bowl last year 32-30 against San Diego St. It was the first bowl game in the history of the program.

East Carolina is coached by Ruffin McNeal. The Pirates finished tied with Central Florida in the Conference USA Eastern Division. However, UCF beat East Carolina 40-20 and had the tiebreaker. The Pirates also had losses at South Carolina 48-10, North Carolina 27-6, and at home against Navy 56-28. ECU has home wins over Appalachian St 35-13, UTEP 28-18, Memphis 41-7, Houston 48-28, and Marshall 65-59 in double overtime to close out the regular season. The Pirates also have road wins at Southern Miss 24-14, UAB 42-35, and Tulane 28-23. ECU has won 3 straight games. The Pirates are 6-6 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season.

East Carolina is averaging 408.6 yards per game on offense, including 272.8 passing and 135.8 rushing yards. The Pirates are 93rd in rushing nationally out of 124 teams. East Carolina is outscoring teams 31.2-30.7 this season. The Pirates are -2 in turnovers with 22 giveaways. ECU averages 47 penalty yards per game and has allowed 28 sacks this season. The Pirates are 87/188 on third and fourth down conversions and 45/49 scoring in the red zone with 35 touchdowns. On defense, East Carolina is allowing 418.7 yards per game including 272.9 passing yards and 145.8 rushing yards. The Pirates are #110 in pass defense. ECU has forced 25 sacks and 20 turnovers. Pirate opponents are 80/188 on third and fourth down conversions and 42/52 scoring in the red zone with 32 touchdowns. The Pirates have 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Quarterback Shane Carden has 248 of 371 passes (66.8%) f0r 2,838 yards with 21 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 82 carries, 73 yards and 8 touchdowns. He took over as the starter after the first two games for Rio Johnson. Johnson threw for 425 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, but hasn’t played since the first two games.

Running back Vintavious Cooper has 191 carries, 1,030 yards with 7 touchdowns, along with 24 catches, 226 yards and a touchdown. Reggie Bullock has 63 carries, 283 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 42 yards. Michael Dobson has 62 carries, 190 yards and a touchdown, along with 23 catches for 194 yards. Receiver Justin Hardy has 83 catches, 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns. Justin Jones has 24 catches, 341 yards and 3 touchdowns. Andrew Bodenheimer has 31 catches, 306 yards and 3 touchdowns. Danny Webster has 30 catches, 290 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Lousiana-Lafayette is coached by Mark Hudspeth. The Cajuns finished in a three way tie for second place in the Sun Belt Conference at 6-2 with Lousiana-Monroe and Middle Tennessee. All three teams were behind 7-1 Arkansas St. ULL has losses at Oklahoma St 65-24, North Texas 30-23, Florida 27-20 and at home against Arkansas St 50-27. The Cajuns have home wins over Lamar 40-0, Florida International 48-20, Tulane 41-13, Western Kentucky 31-27 and South Alabama 52-30, along with road wins at Troy 37-24, ULM 40-24, and Florida Atlantic 35-21 to close out the regular season. ULL has won 3 straight games. The Cajuns are 7-5 ATS and the total is 5-5-1 this season.

ULL is averaging 443.6 yards per game including 256.2 passing yards and 187.3 rushing yards. The Cajuns are outscoring opponents 35-28 this season. ULL is even in turnovers this season with 20 giveaways. UL-Lafayette has allowed 12 sacks this season and averages 49 penalty yards per game. The Cajuns are 64/160 on third and fourth down conversions, and 49/52 scoring in the red zone with 40 touchdowns. On defense, ULL is allowing 427.8 total yards per game, including 283.9 passing yards and 143.9 rushing yards. The Cajuns are #115 in the country against the pass. ULL has forced 26 sacks this season and 20 turnovers. Cajun opponents are 76/189 on third and fourth down conversions and 36/41 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns.

ULL quarterback Terrance Broadway is 185/283 passing (65.4%) for 2,526 yards with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 104 carries, 661 yards and 8 touchdowns. Blaine Gautier was the starter at the beginning of the season, but lost his job after missing several games due to a hand injury Gautier has 524 passing yards with 5 touchdowns and no interceptions, along with 16 carries for 77 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns.

Running back Alonzo Harris has 149 carries, 761 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Effrem Reed has 84 carries, 411 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 66 yards. Torrey Pierce has 47 catches, 253 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Receiver Harry Peoples has 61 catches, 774 yards and 5 touchdowns. Darryl Surgent has 33 catches, 559 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Javone Lawson has 36 catches, 540 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is out with an arm injury. Jamal Robinson has 20 catches, 514 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Tight end Jacob Maxwell has 18 catches, 178 yards and 4 touchdowns. Six ULL defensive players are on the injury report.

East Carolina is 6-0 ATS after allowing 40 points or more, 4-0 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, 7-1 on turf, 6-1 after failing to cover, 4-1 after gaining more than 450 yards, 5-2 after passing for 280 yards or more, and in neutral site games, 6-14 in non-conference games, 2-6 after allowing 450 yards or more, 1-8 after a straight up win, and 0-5 against teams with winning records.

Louisana-Lafayette is 8-2 ATS against teams with winning records, in non-conference games, and after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 4-1 overall, 14-4 on turf, 9-4 after accumulating less than 170 passing yards, 6-13-2 against Conference USA teams, and 1-4 after gaining more than 450 total yards.

Both teams have won 3 straight games. Expect a shootout as both pass defenses are among the worst in the country. East Carolina hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record this season, and all four losses came by 20 points or more. I think ULL gets the win, as this is a virtual home game in nearby New Orleans.

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