UL-Lafayette defeats Tulane 24-21 in New Orleans Bowl _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Koby Carrigee, left, and Coy LeBlanc, right, UL-Lafayette alumni, fire up the fans prior to the first half of the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The crowd of 54,728 was the largest in New Orleans Bowl history.

Ragin Cajuns gave up a 21-0 lead before junior Hunter Stover made the first field goal of his career on a 27-yard field goal with 9:56 remaining to lift UL-Lafayette to a 24-21 victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Tulane running back Orleans Darkwa set a New Orleans Bowl and a Tulane bowl record with three rushing touchdowns.

The game had a record crowd of 54,728, marking the third consecutive year the game has posted an attendance record.

With the score tied at 21, UL-Lafayette safety Shawn Thomas intercepted a pass by Tulane quarterback Devin Powell at the Green Wave 26-yard line in the fourth quarter. The ball was moved to the 13, because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Tulane on the play.

Ragin Cajuns' placekicker Hunter Stover hit a 27-yard field goal four plays later to give the team a 24-21 lead with 9:56 left. It was the first field goal of Stover's career.

Tulane's Cairo Santos missed a game-tying 48-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

UL-Lafayette (9-4) did most of its damage in the first half. The Ragin Cajuns led 7-0 when running back Elijah McGuire scored on a 27-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Running back Alonzo Harris sped through the middle of the Tulane defense for a 15-yard touchdown to make the score 14-0.

UL-Lafayette increased its lead to 21-0 when cornerback Corey Trim stepped in front of a pass from Tulane quarterback Nick Montana and returned it 82 yards for a touchdown with 12:31 left in the first half.

Darkwa scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:55 remaining to make the score 21-7.

The Green Wave cut the lead to 21-14 when Darkwa scored on a 10-yard touchdown run with 1:58 left. He tied the score and set the New Orleans Bowl record on a 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.