LAFAYETTE - The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will officially receive an invitation during a bowl invitation pep rally Monday at 6:05 p.m. to play in the Dec. 17 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, school athletic director Scott Farmer said Saturday night.
Farmer held an informal news conference before the start of the ULL-Cal-State Fullerton basketball game at the Cajundome to discuss Monday’s announcement scheduled at the school’s Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility next to the football practice fields.
The bowl game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be the first postseason football game for the university since the Cajuns played and lost to Tennessee State in the 1970 Grantland Rice Bowl at Baton Rouge’s Memorial Stadium.
An email sent by the ULL sports information department Saturday indicates that doors to the facility will open for the pep rally at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by a highlight film and speeches by Farmer and ULL President Dr. Joseph Savoie.
After that, the email said that the official offer to play in the bowl will be extended by New Orleans Bowl officials.
ULL coach Mark Hudspeth will also speak at the event following the announcement, the email noted,
Farmer said bowl officials and ULL wanted to wait until after the outcome of Saturday afternoon’s Sun Belt Conference game between Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee before announcing the scheduling of Monday’s event in Lafayette.
ASU (9-2, 7-0) claimed at least a share of the conference title by defeating MTSU 45-19 in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
After the game the Red Wolves accepted an invitation to play in the Jan. 8 GoDaddy.Com Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
ULL lost to ASU 30-21 last Saturday in Jonesboro. The Cajuns (8-3, 6-2) play a final regular season game this Saturday at the University of Arizona beginning at 3 p.m.
The team’s eight wins this year are the most since 1993.
Farmer said ULL school officials decided to plan a large event to commemorate the invitation.
“It’s been 41 years since (a bowl) has happened to this school, so we want our fans who have been so loyal to us in the past to be part of this,” Farmer said.
“The chairman and the executive director of the bowl will be in Lafayette to actually extend the invitation to the fans and the football team. We want our fans to see this.”
Farmer said the school also wanted to wait until the conclusion of the Arkansas State game to release the email to media outlets.
“We decided to wait on making any kind of announcement until that game’s conclusion. Arkansas State was made an offer after the game to go to the GoDaddy.Com Bowl, taking care of the decision by the New Orleans Bowl to take us (ULL),” Farmer said.
In a game story released on the official website for ASU athletics, head football coach Hugh Freeze said after Saturday’s win, “We are happy to accept an invitation to the GoDaddy.Com Bowl. It’s a great reward for this program and our fans and I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Freeze said in the story written for the Website.
Farmer said ULL and other SBC schools who are bowl eligible have been speaking with New Orleans Bowl and GoDaddy.Com bowl officials for the past several weeks during a series of telephone conference calls.
ULL will play a yet-to-be-named opponent in the New Orleans Bowl and on Saturday Farmer wouldn’t speculate about which team that will be.
The New Orleans Bowl and GoDaddy.Com bowls have automatic tie-ins with the SBC.
In past seasons, teams from the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA have played Sun Belt teams in the bowl game.
“Right now, I don’t think we have a preference about whom we play. We’re just so excited that it’s us that’s playing. We’re just happy to be part of this experience,” Farmer said.