Louisiana holds off Tulane to claim third straight New Orleans Bowl
New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Hunter Stover kicked a 27-yard field goal with 9:56 left in the fourth quarter, and Louisiana edged Tulane, 24-21, to win the New Orleans Bowl for a third consecutive year.
Sean Thomas picked off Devin Powell deep in Tulane territory and that led to Stover's first collegiate field goal.
The Green Wave then elected to punt at the Louisiana 39, and the Ragin' Cajuns ran out most of the remaining time. Tulane, though, had one more shot, and on third down near its own end zone, Powell scrambled out of trouble and completed a 34-yard pass to Justyn Shackleford.
Tulane got into field goal position for Cairo Santos, but his 48-yard try was barely wide left with nine seconds left.
"Cairo's made those before, it just didn't fall for him this time," Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said.
It was Tulane's final home game at the Superdome, as the Green Wave will move into a campus, 30,000-seat Yulman Stadium next year.
Elijah McGuire rushed for 45 yards and a TD and caught seven passes for 94 yards for the Ragin' Cajuns (9-4). Terrance Broadway, who returned to action after suffering a broken arm on Nov. 30, completed 12-of-19 passes for 143 yards with a pair of interceptions. Alonzo Harris rushed 13 times for 74 yards and a TD.
Thomas had two interceptions in the win.
"We preached turnovers," Thomas said. "Going into the game, we knew we had to help our offense out a lot."
Powell replaced an ineffective Nick Montana and completed 10-of-21 throws for 223 yards. Montana was 5-of-8 for 63 yards, but the Green Wave (7-6) threw three interceptions. Orleans Darkwa had three TD runs and 83 yards on the ground. Ryan Grant caught seven balls for 113 yards.
The Green Wave received inspiration from former safety Devon Walker, who suffered a career-ending spinal injury in a game against Tulsa Sept. 8, 2012. Walker, powered by a wheelchair, was on the field at the game and appeared distraught when Tulane cornerback Jordan Sullen lay on the field after being hurt with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
Sullen suffered a blow to the head when he was contacted by the feet of Louisiana McGuire. Sullen was taken off the field on a stretcher and brought to a local hospital.
McGuire scored on a 27-yard run to cap Louisiana's first offensive series. McGuire was being tackled by three defenders as his back hit the pylon along the right side of the end zone. The TD was awarded after a video review.
Thomas picked off Grant later in the first quarter, and that led to Harris' 15-yard TD run.
It became 21-0 early in the second when Corey Trim picked off Montana and rumbled 82 yards to the end zone.
Tulane finally cracked the scoreboard with 3:55 left before halftime when Darkwa plunged into the end zone from a yard out. Powell connected with Devon Breaux for 41 yards on a 4th-and-2 play to move the ball to the 11, and Darkwa scored three plays later.
Sullen picked off Broadway on the next possession. Powell then found Grant for a 49-yard gain, After a pass interference penalty, Darkwa scored on a 7-yard run with 1:58 left in the half for a 21-14 margin.
Broadway threw an ill-advised pass that was picked off by Derrick Strozier late in the third quarter. That led to Darkwa's 22-yard TD rush and a tie game with 2:34 left in the period.
"It was uncharacteristic of us," Johnson said. "Then all of a sudden we settled down and for three quarters of the game, from the second quarter on, we played pretty well."
Jalen Nixon replaced Broadway in the fourth quarter after Broadway developed leg cramps ... The Superdome served as the home field for the Green Wave since 1975 ... The Ragin' Cajuns did not run one offensive play in Tulane territory in the second and third quarters ... Tulane made its first appearance in the New Orleans Bowl and was in its first bowl game since 2002 when the Wave downed Hawaii in the inaugural Hawaii Bowl ... Louisiana moved to 5-1 in bowl games, while the Green Wave fell to 4-7.
12/22 03:11:45 ET