College Football: Aztecs Have Big Edge in R+L Carriers Bowl

Al Dannity | Updated Dec 16, 2011

The Ragin’ Cajuns are back in bowl play for the first time since 1970 but Al Dannity doesn’t expect a winning return. The R+L Carriers Bowl pits the perennial losers against an emerging power in the form of San Diego State and Al likes the Aztecs to have a big day.

Lindley’s best shot There’s been some solid NFL talk around Ryan Lindley, senior quarterback with San Diego State. Scouts like the tools he brings to the game and he had some impressive performances this season. While far from explosive, Lindley showed poise and put up good numbers against for of the Aztecs five toughest opponents in the regular season. His displays against Michigan, Boise State, Washington State, and Air Force showed NFL teams he has potential to make an impact at the next level. The notable exception was his horror show against TCU. Lindley went 15 of 41 and gave up 3 interceptions.

On Saturday night the senior quarterback has his last chance to make an impression before the combine. Right now he’s a seventh round pick that teams might take a flyer on. An impressive display against a porous Louisiana-Lafayette defense could move him into the discussion as a middle round pick.

Ragin’ redemption It’s been 41 years in the making but finally the Ragin’ Cajuns are bowling again. Louisiana-Lafayette’s last bowl game came in 1970; a 26-25 loss to Tennessee State in the Grantland Rice Bowl. Their only other post-season appearance came in 1944, when the Ragin’ Cajuns beat Arkansas-Monticello 24-7 in the Oil Bowl. Making it to the Superdome for a post-season game is a huge achievement for this program. Like so many other Sun Belt coaches, Mark Hudspeth has made a big impression in his first year on the job. Having brought North Alabama to four post-season appearances and two conference titles in Division II, Hudspeth has now led Louisiana-Lafayette to 8 wins for the first time since 1993. Like Hugh Freeze and (probably) Mario Cristobal, his time in the Sun Belt is likely to be brief but he’s already a legend in one corner of Louisiana.

The verdict Every alumnus from the last 41 years is likely to come out of the woodwork and travel a few hours to support the Ragin’ Cajuns. That support likely won’t be enough to turn around a huge gulf in class between these two sides. In addition to Lindley, the Aztecs can count on the ground dominance of sophomore Ronnie Hillman. It won’t be a balanced display but I expect Hillman to supplement Lindley well enough to make this a one-sided affair from the start. College Football betting fans should expect a big day for Lindley and the Aztecs in the Big Easy.