The 2021 New Orleans Bowl will be a high-caliber Group of Five showdown featuring No. 23 Louisiana and Marshall as the programs square off for the first time. It will be Marshall’s first appearance in the game, while Louisiana will be making its sixth appearance in the contest after playing in it during five of six seasons between 2011 and 2016.
The Ragin’ Cajuns have recently ascended to power in the Group of Five ranks and are coming off a Sun Belt Championship, while the Thundering Herd are a storied program coming off a 7-5 regular season under first-year coach Charles Huff. A win for Marshall would give it a jolt of momentum to cap Huff’s debut campaign after a series of closes losses this season. A victory for Louisiana would jumpstart Michael Desormeaux’s tenure as head coach.
Desormeaux is replacing Billy Napier, who left after the Sun Belt title game to take over at Florida after guiding the Ragin’ Cajuns to three consecutive double-digit win seasons to cap a successful four-year run. While it’s the first meeting between the programs, it won’t be the last as Marshall will join the Sun Belt for the 2023 season, at the latest.
Louisiana vs. Marshall: Need to know
Turnover trouble: Louisiana led the Sun Belt and tied for third nationally in turnover margin with a +13 mark this season, while Marshall ranked near the bottom nationally in that category with a -5 mark. But if the Thundering Herd can limit catastrophic miscues, they are plenty capable of putting up points, as they rank 10th nationally in total offense.
Red zone woes: Another key trend to watch in this game is red zone performance. The Ragin’ Cajuns rank 99th nationally in red zone offense, which plays into the hands of a Marshall team that ranks ninth in red zone defense….