Ragin' Cajuns accept 2nd straight bowl bid

LAFAYETTE — With Saturday’s win against South Alabama at Cajun Field, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns football team locked up a winning mark for the second straight season.

During the postgame celebration, the team picked up its second straight trip to New Orleans for a postseason bowl game.

The Ragin’ Cajuns (7-4, 5-2 Sun Belt) were extended an invitation for a repeat trip to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, by Jay Cicero, the president and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater New Orleans Sports Commission. The offer was made moments after the final horn sounded in the 52-30 win against South Alabama on Senior Day.

“Coach Hudspeth, Dr. Savoie and members of the Ragin’ Cajuns football team, on behalf of the Greater New Orleans Sports Commission and the New Orleans Bowl committee, I would like to formally invite you to participate in the 2012 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl,” Cicero was quoted in a university news release.

Louisiana president Dr. Joseph Savoie, Director of Athletics Scott Farmer and head coach Mark Hudspeth accepted the New Orleans Bowl’s invitation, signaling the first ever back-to-back bowl bids in school history.

Louisiana now is officially set to return to the site of the program’s first bowl appearance in the modern era where the Ragin’ Cajuns upended San Diego State, 32-30, on a Brett Baer 50-yard field goal as time expired on Dec. 17, 2011.

“I couldn’t be happier going back to New Orleans,” Hudspeth said in the university’s release on the announcement. “It is a testament to the young men on this team that they fought through the adversity and injuries this season and put ourselves in a position to get invited back to New Orleans. We’ve fought hard all season, and it’s nice to see all of that work pay off. Our players and fans couldn’t be happier to be going back to the Big Easy — let’s paint the town red, again.”

Louisiana will face an opponent to be named — at the latest by Sunday — on Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the 12th annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

The Ragin’ Cajuns, winners of three of their last four games, picked up the school’s fourth bowl bid — 1944 Oil Bowl, 1970 Grantland Rice Bow, 2011 New Orleans Bowl are the previous appearances.

Louisiana becomes the fifth school to make multiple trips to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, joining Southern Miss and North Texas, four apiece; Troy, three; and Memphis, two; on the list of schools with repeat postseason appearances in the Crescent City.

Fans can download the ticket order form at the Bowl Central page on www.RaginCajuns.com and submit the form via mail, e-mail or in person to the Cajundome ticket office. The ticket office is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Fans also can order tickets by calling the Cajundome ticket office at (337) 265-2170 during business hours.

In keeping with the priorities established during the last year, Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Fund 2012 Annual Fund donors will receive seating priority based on their donor level. They have until Dec. 6, to purchase their tickets.

Once these members are seated, remaining seats will be assigned to 2012 football season ticket holders, current Louisiana students in the Bowl “Red Zone” and the general public. All seats in these three categories will be assigned Dec. 6 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Fund donors can purchase as many tickets as desired, but the number of priority seats will be determined by their annual fund donation as of Dec. 6.

The Ragin’ Cajuns football team closes out the 2012 regular season Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla., against Florida Atlantic. Kickoff at FAU Stadium is set for 2 p.m.

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