His other Most Valuable Player award helmet sits on a shelf at his apartment, so Terrance Broadway could afford to be generous.
“I think I’m going to leave this one for the school,” Broadway said, proudly holding his second glitter-painted headgear only minutes after Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s senior quarterback left the Ragin’ Cajuns a lot more than that Saturday afternoon, and not just because he became the first multiple winner of New Orleans Bowl MVP honors.
He etched his name in the NCAA bowl record book, and the Cajuns did the same in their 16-3 victory over Nevada on Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. No team in Division I history had ever won the same bowl in four straight seasons, something the Cajuns (9-4) accomplished early Saturday afternoon. The Cajuns defeated San Diego State, East Carolina and Tulane in the last three New Orleans Bowls.
Broadway was also the MVP in the 2012 win over East Carolina, the season he stepped in for an injured Blaine Gautier and led UL-Lafayette to the second of what is now four straight 9-4 seasons.
The Cajuns defense arguably could have been Saturday’s MVP, holding the high-powered Wolf Pack without a touchdown — a first in New Orleans Bowl history and only Nevada’s second game without a TD since 2000. But UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth reminded everyone that the offense’s 14-minute time of possession advantage was a huge help to that defensive effort.
“Part of the game plan was to keep the ball out of (Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo’s) hands,” Hudspeth said, “and to do that, we had to be very efficient offensively.”
Broadway did that and more. The Capitol High graduate completed his first 14 passes, setting an NCAA bowl record for consecutive completions to start a game. The 14 straight completions is also the third-longest in NCAA bowl history, and Broadway didn’t have an incompletion until he threw high to James Butler in the right flat in the final minute before halftime.
“(Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson) knows that if I hit my first couple of passes that I’m going to get in a rhythm,” Broadway said. “That’s why he called a pass the first play of the game.”
That pass went to Butler for 12 yards, one of eight times the two hooked up during Broadway’s 26-of-31 performance that set a New Orleans Bowl record for completion percentage (83.9 percent) and ranked as one of the top 12 efficiency marks in bowl history.
“Me and James really picked things up and found our groove late this season,” Broadway said of his fellow senior, who became a go-to target after Jamal Robinson’s season-ending injury. “He made that one-handed catch on that first drive, so my record is his record.”
Seven plays after that first throw, Broadway found freshman C.J. Bates on a crossing pattern for a 17-yard touchdown less than four minutes into the game. That turned out to be the game’s only touchdown and gave the Cajuns the lead for good.
“Terrance was spot-on, unbelievably efficient,” Hudspeth said. “That’s why we wanted to take the ball first, to get out fast and give him a chance to get going.”
Broadway had three completions for 42 yards in that first drive and hit four more passes on the Cajuns’ next possession, a 13-play march that ended in the first of Hunter Stover’s three field goals. The Wolf Pack never got closer than a touchdown the rest of the way.
“We felt like if we forced them to go 12, 13, 14 plays that we’d have a chance to get off the field,” Nevada coach Brian Polian said. “(Broadway) was efficient, he had a lot of dinks and dunks, but give them credit. They made all the plays and didn’t do the things to shoot themselves in the foot.”
“He controlled the offense extremely well,” Wolf Pack standout defensive end Brock Hekking said. “He’s an athletic guy, he’s shifty back there. He made reads and flat out beat us.”
Broadway was nowhere near his athletic peak one year earlier in his last Mercedes-Benz Superdome appearance. Three weeks before last year’s bowl game, he broke his arm in UL-Lafayette’s home finale against UL-Monroe, and even though he started under center — after being listed as doubtful throughout bowl week — he was nowhere near the quarterback who threw for 19 touchdowns and ran for eight more that season.
Still, his presence helped the Cajuns take a hard-fought 24-21 win over Tulane, one year after his 424-yard total offense effort against ECU that won him his first MVP honor. Even with the injury-ravaged game last year, Broadway wraps up his New Orleans Bowl career with 59-of-82 completions — a 72.0 completion percentage — and 686 passing yards.
“Last year was last year,” Broadway said Saturday. “I put all that aside way back in the spring. I didn’t have any flashbacks or anything like that.”
Broadway himself was a flashback to two years ago. Just before leaving for this year’s New Orleans Bowl, he cut his hair in the same style that he sported for the 2012 game. And right at Saturday’s final horn, he went to the stands and grabbed 2-year-old son T.J. and brought him onto the field for the celebration and trophy presentations, just like he did two seasons earlier.
“That (the haircut) was by design,” he said. “Everybody was talking about 2012 so I figured that was part of it.”
T.J. probably doesn’t remember his father receiving that first MVP helmet. This one?
“He’s of that age now that he sort of understands,” Broadway said. “He always wants to watch football, it doesn’t matter if I have to search for a game from 1960 on TV. For a 2-year-old, that’s big. Maybe he had a memory of being there for the first one, but I know he’ll remember this one.”