Tulane will be bowling at home.
The Green Wave will face Louisiana-Lafayette in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 21, according to a source close to the bowl. It will be Tulane’s first appearance in the bowl game, which is held on its home field, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The same source said the matchup will be made official in a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday. A spokesman from Tulane declined to comment.
However, after Saturday’s 17-13 loss to Rice, Tulane coach Curtis Johnson and Athletic Director Rick Dickson each expressed no concern about staying at home and playing in a familiar site for its postseason game.
“I saw UCLA play in the Rose Bowl one year, and they seemed to be pretty jacked up,” Dickson said Saturday when asked if staying in New Orleans for a bowl would be a disappointment. “We will be out of school, which is different, and the local guys at the New Orleans Sports Foundation do a great job with the whole hospitality side of things.
“To me, it’s like a hometown kid choosing to stay in New Orleans and go to Tulane. Our student-athletes will probably get to see and experience things in that kind of setting that they normally wouldn’t. I’m confident, if that’s the outcome, it will be a great experience for everyone involved.”
The bowl invitation is the Green Wave’s first since 2002, when it defeated Hawaii 36-28 in the Hawaii Bowl. It is Tulane’s fourth bowl bid since 1981, and the New Orleans Bowl will mark the first time Tulane plays a postseason game on its home field since losing 14-13 to Texas A&M in the 1940 Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium.
UL-Lafayette accepted its invitation earlier in the week after earning at least a share of the Sun Belt championship. The Cajuns can clinch their first Sun Belt title by beating South Alabama on Saturday night in Mobile, Ala.
Under coach Mark Hudspeth, the Cajuns have won consecutive New Orleans Bowls, topping San Diego State and East Carolina.
“We are excited to receive our third straight bowl invitation and especially happy to be heading back to the R+L Carries New Orleans Bowl,” Hudspeth said earlier in the week. “We look forward to another great bowl experience that includes our fans taking over the great city of New Orleans and playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Our team and fans will be ready.”