East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4), noon EST (ESPN)
Line: Louisiana-Lafayette by 5.
Series record: Louisiana-Lafayette leads 6-4.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
East Carolina seeks its first bowl victory since defeating Boise State 41-38 in the 2007 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. The Pirates also seek their ninth win of the year, which would be the program's second-highest single-season victory total. Louisiana-Lafayette seeks a second-straight season capped by a postseason victory under second-year head coach Mark Hudspeth. With a victory the Cajuns also would give the Sun Belt Conference a fourth-straight winning representative in the New Orleans Bowl.
Louisiana-Lafayette's deep and dynamic running game, which averages 187.3 yards per game, against ECU's defensive front. The Pirates have been yielding 145.7 yards per game rushing and will be tested against the Cajuns, who are also proficient in the passing game, making it difficult for opposing defensive backs to help against the run.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
East Carolina: RB Vintavious Cooper, a former junior college QB, has rushed for 1,030 yards this season and has averaged 114.4 yards rushing in his past five games, including a career-high 172 yards against Alabama-Birmingham.
Louisiana-Lafayette: QB Terrance Broadway has accounted for 266.4 yards per game, including 55.5 yards per game on the ground and 210.9 yards per game through the air.
FACTS & FIGURES
ECU and ULL have not met since 1990, when the Pirates beat the Cajuns 20-10 in Lafayette. ... Now in its 12th year, the New Orleans Bowl will be played during the afternoon for the first time following 11 night kickoffs. ... Last year's New Orleans Bowl marked the Ragin' Cajuns' first postseason victory as a Division I FBS program, and it came on a 50-yard field goal by Brett Baer as time expired, lifting ULL to a 32-30 triumph over San Diego State. ... ECU is playing in its sixth bowl game in the past seven seasons. ... A team from Conference USA has won the New Orleans Bowl four times, with Memphis winning in 2003 and Southern Miss in 2004, 2005 and 2008. ... Sun Belt teams are 6-5 in the New Orleans Bowl. ... ECU and ULL had a common opponent this season. The Pirates beat Tulane 28-23 in New Orleans and the Cajuns beat Tulane 41-13 in Lafayette. ... ECU's first appearance in a Division I modern era bowl came in 1978, and also in Louisiana, when the Pirates beat Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport. ... Both teams enter the game riding three-game winning streaks.