2020 New Orleans Bowl Preview

2020 New Orleans Bowl Preview: Louisiana Tech looks for a seventh straigh bowl victory when they face Georgia Southern.

First-Ever Matchup In the Bayou

Almost every year the New Orleans Bowl provides one of the better early-season games. The bowl matches up teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt. This year’s battle between Georgia Southern and Louisiana Tech should be no different. However, this year’s game will feature a battle of backup quarterbacks. Let’s look at the sponsor and preview both teams with our 2020 New Orleans Bowl Preview. In addition, we’ll have a score prediction at the end.

A Word On the Sponsor

The inaugural New Orleans Bowl came in 2001 when Colorado State beat North Texas 45-20. R+L Carriers has been the title sponsor of the game since 2006. Three schools Louisiana, North Texas, and Southern Mississippi have appeared in the most games with five each. Now that we’ve given you a little history let’s start our 2020 New Orleans Bowl preview by looking at Georgia Southern.

Scouting the Eagles

Under head coach Chad Lunsford Georgia Southern comes into the game sporting a 7-5 record. In addition, it went 4-4 in the Sun Belt Conference. They faced two Top 25 teams in 2020 losing 20-18 to Louisiana and 28-14 to Coastal Carolina. On offense, they have been led by senior quarterback Shai Werts. On the season he’s thrown for 937 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions. He has also rushed for an additional 638 yards and eight scores. However, he injured his shoulder in the season finale against Appalachian State and is doubtful for Wednesday’s game. If he can’t go then look for senior Miller Mosley to get the nod. He’s thrown for 131 yards in limited time.

The Eagles boast a multi-faceted rushing attack with three other players including Werts gaining over 400 yards. Although, two of them aren’t available for the bowl. J.D. King has 625 yards and five touchdowns but he is out due to a knee injury. In addition, Wesley Kennedy III and his 447 yards and six touchdowns won’t be playing due to suspension. This leaves Logan Wright as the main man in the backfield. He has 576 yards rushing on the season. When the Eagles do throw the ball Malik Murray, and his 20 receptions, are the main target.

On the other side of the ball linebacker Rashad Byrd leads the team with 68 tackles and an interception. Cornerback Derrick Canteen has one interception and a fumble return for a touchdown. On the season Georgia Southern ranks 19th in the nation allowing 333 yards a game. However, they are very opportunistic as they’re fourth in the country with 14 interceptions. With so many injuries on offense, the defense might have to win it for them.

Continuing on with our 2020 New Orleans Bowl preview let’s look at Louisiana Tech.

Looking at the Bulldogs

Under head coach Skip Holtz Louisiana Tech heads to New Orleans with a 5-4 record. The Bulldogs finished third in Conference USA’s western division with a 4-2 record. Among those wins are two over bowl teams beating North Texas and eventual league champion UAB. Much like Georgia Southern the Bulldogs head into the game with a backup quarterback. Starting signal-caller Luke Anthony suffered a gruesome ankle injury late in the fourth quarter in the season finale against TCU. In his place, Aaron Allen gets the start. Appearing in nine games the sophomore has thrown for 561 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.

Sophomore Isreal Tucker leads the rushing attack with 525 yards and four scores. Along with Allen, Justin Henderson has added another 252 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs like throwing the ball with three receivers having more than 30 receptions on the year. One of the best names in college football, Smoke Harris, leads the way with 35 receptions for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Adrian Hardy leads the squad in receiving yards with 440 to go along with 33 catches. The third receiver over 30 catches is Cee Jay Powell with 31.

On the defensive side of the ball freshman linebacker Tyler Grubbs leads the way with 84 tackles. Behind him, defensive back Bee Jay Williamson leads the team with three interceptions and a forced fumble. Much like their opponent, the Bulldogs are also very opportunistic with nine interceptions on the season. That ranks them 30th in the nation. In addition, they have returned two for touchdowns.

Bowl History

This will be the Eagles’ fourth bowl game since moving up to the FBS level in 2014. Georgia Southern sports a 2-1 record beating Bowling Green 58-27 in the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl and Eastern Michigan 23-21 in the 2018 Camellia Bowl. However, last season the Eagles suffered their first bowl loss 23-16 to Liberty in the Cure Bowl. This is the first appearance in the New Orleans Bowl.

Wednesday’s game marks Louisiana Tech’s 13th bowl game in history. They have an 8-2-1 record all-time and have won six in a row. That’s the longest current streak in college football and fourth-longest in bowl history. The last six have all come under Holtz. A season ago the Bulldogs knocked off Miami 14-0 in the Independence Bowl. This is the second trip to the New Orleans Bowl beating Arkansas State 47-28 back in 2015. This will be the first time in history the two schools have met.

Now that we’ve looked at both teams let’s give a prediction in our 2020 New Orleans Bowl preview.

Who Wins On Wednesday?

As mentioned in the beginning both teams come into the game with backup quarterbacks. Georgia Southern will try to control the ball on the ground while Louisiana Tech will air it out. However, it remains to be seen how well Allen meshes with his talented receivers. Both teams feast on turnovers so the team who wins that battle wins the game. In the end, the Bulldogs know how to win bowl games and make it seven in a row in a very close game.

Louisiana Tech 24    Georgia Southern 20

Thanks for checking out our 2020 New Orleans Bowl preview here at Last Word On College Football. Don’t forget we’ll have previews and recaps for every game leading up to the championship on January 11th.

 

Embed from Getty Images