Plenty of people are expecting offensive fireworks in the Dome, but I’m not so sure. The early kickoff might lead to a sluggish start, and both teams’ committal to the ground game might result in lengthy, time-consuming drives. The team who does the best job holding on to the ball should win, and judging by the Cajuns’ success in that department lately, they should come out on top again in New Orleans.
UL-Lafayette 28, Nevada 24
The Cajuns have won close for three straight bowls, so the odds may be stacked against them. More importantly, Nevada has the throwing game to bedevil a UL-Lafayette secondary that has struggled at times. Expect another nail-biter to start the bowl season.
Nevada 31, UL-Lafayette 28
Saturday’s R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be a matchup of two teams that emphasize establishing the running game with several options. Both teams are over 500 rushing attempts on the season and each boast three players with more than 600 rushing yards. The difference will come with how effective quarterback Cody Fajardo, Nevada’s leading rusher, is in the running game. UL-Lafayette hasn’t allowed a quarterback to gain more than 61 rushing yards in any game this year, so the Cajuns have the advantage.
UL-Lafayette 38, Nevada 34
The only question about this one is whether the Wolf Pack, playing a game that kicks off at 8 a.m. Reno time, will still be wiping the sleep from their eyes in the first half. But since there no clocks in the casinos back home, they’ll probably adjust.
Nevada 42, UL-Lafayette 24
Ralph Russo, Associated Press: UL-Lafayette 28, Nevada 24
Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com: Nevada 35, UL-Lafayette 31
Pat Forde, Yahoo!Sports: Nevada 35, UL-Lafayette 32
Dennis Dodd, CBSSports.com: Winner: UL-Lafayette
Mike Huguenin, NFL.com: UL-Lafayette 27, Nevada 24
College Football News: Nevada 38, UL-Lafayette 34
George Schroeder, USA Today: Winner: UL-Lafayette
Erick Smith, USA Today: Winner: Nevada
Ryan Fowler, FoxSports.com: Winner: UL-Lafayette
John Halpin, FoxSports.com: Winner: Nevada
Andy Staples, SI.com: Winner: UL-Lafayette
Pete Thamel, SI.com: Winner: UL-Lafayette
Neil Greenberg, Washington Post: 61-percent win probability for Nevada
Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star: Winner: Nevada