2022 New Orleans Bowl Preview

A Battle Of Opposites

Traditionally the New Orleans Bowl always features a strong match-up of teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt. This year’s contest is no exception as two really good squads in South Alabama and Western Kentucky face off in the Caesars Superdome. Let’s give you some history of the game and introduce you to both teams. In addition, we’ll make our score prediction with our 2022 New Orleans Bowl Preview.

A Word From Our 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. R+L Carriers is a Global Freight Transportation and Logistics company that’s been in business since 1965. They recently signed an agreement that keeps them as the title sponsor through 2026.

Louisiana leads the way with six appearances while North Texas and Southern Mississippi have played in five. Now that we have given you some history of the game let’s get into the preview portion of our 2022 New Orleans Bowl Preview.

Scouting The Jaguars

Under coach Kane Wommack South Alabama comes into Wednesday sporting a 10-2 record and winners of five straight. However, the Jaguars were oh-so-close to being undefeated. Back in Week 3 they nearly knocked off UCLA on the road. In fact, they led 31-23 late in the game before a furious Bruin rally.

A few weeks later the Jaguars dropped a 10-6 battle to league-champion Troy. In fact, with all respect to Coastal Carolina, South Alabama was the second-best team in the league. Unfortunately, they’re in the same division as the Trojans.

Quarterback Carter Bradley leads the attack throwing for 2,966 yards on the year with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The main man in the backfield is La’Damian Webb.  The sophomore finished fourth in the Sun Belt with 1,019 yards and second with 13 touchdowns.

When Bradley throws the ball he has three receivers with more than 50 receptions. Wide receiver Caullin Lacy has 58 catches for 759 yards and six scores. Jalen Wayne leads South Alabama with 794 yards and nine touchdowns. The third receiver Devin Voisin has 53 receptions for 74 yards and four scores.

While they have a good offense the Jaguars’ calling card has been defense. On the season they only give up 19 points a game, ranking them 14th in the country. In addition, their 87 yards rushing allowed is second in football. Safety Jaden Voisin leads the team in tackles with 76. Jamie Sheriff has a team-high six sacks. Another safety, Yamarus Banks, has five interceptions.

Continuing our 2022 New Orleans Bowl Preview let’s shift our focus to Western Kentucky.

Looking At The Hilltoppers

Tyson Helton’s club comes into Wednesday with an 8-5 record and 6-2 in Conference USA. Their calling card is an explosive offense. The Hilltoppers average nearly 36 points a game which ranks 18th in college football. Throwing the ball it’s even better as their 339 yards put them second.

Leading the way is quarterback Austin Reed. The former Division II player from North Florida transferred in and put up some great numbers. So far in 2022 Reed has thrown for 4,249 yards and 36 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions. He led the league in passing completions, yards, and touchdowns. The senior flirted with the transfer portal and then came back.

He has five receivers with at least 200 yards to pass to in the bowl game. Malichi Corley is the leader with 90 catches for 1,181 yards and nine touchdowns. His yards and receptions lead Conference USA.

Three running backs have at least 200 rushing yards for the Hilltoppers. Kye Robichaux leads the team with 496 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Davion Ervin-Poindexter is right behind him with 492 yards and three touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, WKU’s defense gives up 23.4 points a game ranking 44th in the country. Linebacker JaQues Evans led the team with 101 total tackles and eight sacks. However, he’s now in the transfer portal. Derrick Smith’s now the leading tackler with 90 to go along with three sacks and an interception. Kaleb Oliver and Upton Stout lead the secondary with three interceptions each.

Bowl And Series History

South Alabama is bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. All-time the Jaguars are 0-2 on bowls losing the 2014 Camellia Bowl to Bowling Green and the 2016 Arizona Bowl to Air Force.

Western Kentucky is playing in its fourth straight bowl. Overall the Hilltoppers are 5-3 in bowls and last season got a big win over Appalachian State 59-38 in the Boca Raton Bowl. The two schools have met once in history with the Jaguars winning 31-24 over the Hilltoppers. This is both teams’ first trip to this game.

Now that we’ve previewed both teams let’s give you a prediction as we wrap up our 2022 New Orleans Bowl Preview.

Who Wins On Wednesday?

As we mentioned at the beginning, on paper this is a game of contrasts between great offensive and great defensive teams. However, as good as the Hilltoppers’ offense is they are 7-0 when they force two or more turnovers and 1-5 when they don’t. South Alabama’s calling card is defense but other than Dorian Thompson-Robinson they’ve not faced this good of a quarterback.

Many of the recent New Orleans Bowls have been blowouts even with the great matchups. This one feels like it goes to the wire with the Jaguars’ defense being the difference.

South Alabama 31-24

Thanks for checking out our 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 title game on January 9th.



More Posts

Send Us A Message