Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette meet in New Orleans Bowl

Southern Mississippi (6-6, Conference USA) vs. Louisiana Lafayette (6-6, Sun Belt), Dec. 17, 9 p.m. EST

LOCATION: New Orleans

TOP PLAYERS

Southern Miss: QB Nick Mullens. The senior has thrown for 2,926 yards, 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season.

Louisiana-Lafayette: RB Elijah McGuire. The senior has 1,028 yards rushing and seven touchdowns this season. It's his third straight year with more than 1,000 yards rushing.

NOTABLE:

Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles have stumbled at times this season, but also have some quality wins over teams like Kentucky and Louisiana Tech. ... Southern Miss ranked 125th out of 128 teams in turnover margin this season, forcing 14 turnovers but giving up 30.

Louisiana-Lafayette: The Ragin' Cajuns have a long history with Southern Miss and this is the 52nd time the two programs will meet. The Golden Eagles have won the past eight in the series. ... Louisiana-Lafayette won three of its final four games to become bowl eligible.

LAST TIME: Southern Mississippi 51, Louisiana-Lafayette 21 (Aug. 30, 2008)

BOWL HISTORY:

Southern Miss: Fifth appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, second straight year in a bowl game, 25th overall.

Louisiana-Lafayette: Fifth appearance in New Orleans Bowl, first bowl appearance since 2014. Seventh bowl game overall, including five of last six seasons.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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