Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflecto
Ruffin McNeill. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)
By Nathan Summers
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Turns out, East Carolina has not played its final football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Just two weeks removed from their victory over Tulane there, the Pirates learned on Saturday they were heading to the Dec. 22 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl to take on the Louisiana -Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
The Pirates’ sixth bowl destination in the last seven years was finalized after Tulsa outlasted Central Florida in overtime to win the Conference USA championship game on Saturday.
“We are very excited to be a part of the bowl series,” third-year ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill said via text message following the Golden Hurricane’s victory over the Knights. “Bowl selection and participation is a reward for our players, coaches and their families, our entire support and athletic department and our great Pirate nation and fans. It is also great to know our bowl site and opponent.”
The Pirates (8-4) will sail back to the dome riding a three-game win streak, but cannot say the same about their current bowl streak, which rests at three straight losses.
ECU last played in the postseason in the 2010 Military Bowl, where it lost handily to Maryland. The two previous seasons under former head coach Skip Holtz, the Pirates won consecutive C-USA crowns but then lost the Liberty Bowl at season’s end to Kentucky in ’08 and Arkansas in ’09.
The last time East Carolina won a bowl was the ’07 Hawaii Bowl, where running back Chris Johnson and the Pirates upset Boise State in a wild contest.
McNeill’s team has momentum this time around, however, having reeled off consecutive victories over Houston, Tulane and Marshall to close out the best regular season of the three-year McNeill era.
The Ragin Cajuns of the Sun Belt Conference, on the other hand, also finished off an 8-4 season and won their third straight game on Saturday with a 35-21 victory over Florida Atlantic. Lafayette finished 6-2 and tied for third in the Sun Belt standings with Louisiana-Monroe.
Kickoff in New Orleans is set for noon EDT.
Contact Nathan Summers at email@example.com or 252-329-9595.
via The Daily Reflector.