Primetime College Football: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features Ohio University Bobcats taking on Troy University Trojans in the 10th annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in the Superdome down in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Troy, 7-5, 6-2 Sun Belt, is making its third straight bowl appearance and the fifth in the last seven years. The Trojans started their season in quest of their fifth straight Sun Belt Conference title, it did achieve, the goal wasn’t as easy as it had been in years past. With a little help from Middle Tennessee, which defeated FIU in the regular-season finale, the Trojans finished tied with the Golden Panthers atop of the league standings.
Head coach Larry Blakeney saw his team get out to a good and healthy start of 4-2 and then suddenly witnessed his squad go into a three game tail spin. Red-shirt freshman quarterback Corey Robinson stepped up and help get things back on course. Robinson threw for 3,339 yards and 24 touchdowns while completing over 62 percent of his throws. Helping Robinson’s maturation process was players like playmaker Jerrel Jernigan who will finish his college career as the schools and conference all-time leader in receptions, yards and all-purpose yards. This year the veteran wide-out led the team with 77 receptions and 774 yards while bringing in 5 touchdowns.
With all the attention diverted to the passing game the rushing attack for Troy quietly puts up solid numbers. The team comes averages 151.3 ypg and is being paced by duo of Shawn Southward, 548 yards, 7 touchdowns, and DuJuan Harris, 498 yards, 5 touchdowns.
Ohio, 8-4, 6-2 MAC, opened the year with a poor September, losing three of its first four games, but once the calendar shifted to October the Bobcats went into its regular season finale with a seven game winning streak and a chance to claim its third Mid-American Conference East Division title in five seasons. However that ended for head coach Frank Solich’s team when it lost to a mediocre Kent State 28-6.
The Bobcats though have an offense that are dedicated to pounding the rock because they have two monsters of tackles to go behind in First Team All-MAC Joe Flading and A.J. Strum. The Bobcats average 169.2 ypg on the ground behind Vince Davidson, who is leading the team with 513 yards and 6 touchdowns. To go along with Davidson is a dual rushing attack from the quarterback position. Phil Bates, who is mainly brought into the game to run the football, has rumbled for 508 yards, while starting quarterback Boo Jackson has rushed for 325 yards and a team best 7 touchdowns.
Jackson however is not much of a threat to throw the ball as he is on completing slightly over 60 percent of his throws and 16 interceptions. As for Bates, his passing numbers are a clear indication why he is brought into games, because the young quarterback completes only 40.9 percent of his throws.
Ohio makes its fifth postseason appearance and is back in a bowl game after last year’s 21-17 loss to Marshall in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. The Bobcats are 0-4 in bowl games. Troy is making their third straight bowl appearance and fifth in seven seasons. They lost 44-41 in double overtime to Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl last season. Troy is 1-1 in the New Orleans Bowl, beating Rice 41-17 in 2006 and falling 30-27 in overtime to Southern Mississippi in 2008 and are 1-4 overall in bowl games. This will be the first ever matchup between the two programs on the the gridiron.
PICK: Ohio University Bobcats