Opinion/By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports
Let’s sweep up some holiday table scraps focused solely on the 46th Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl at 2 p.m. at Independence Stadium Friday, December 23, one of the most wonderful days of the year during the most wonderful time of the year.
That game date, by the way, is only a week from tomorrow if you’re keeping score at home, and we hope you are.
+ Firstly in the first place, as an old preacher friend of mine used to say to kick off his sermons, the most important note is a reminder that I-Bowl tickets make superb early Christmas gifts. Don’t wait on Santa — the game will be over. Instead, visit the bowl’s website (Google “Independence Bowl”) or call 318.221.0712.
+ The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (6-6) of the Sun Belt Conference will play the Houston Cougars (7-5) of the American Athletic Conference. Regionally and because of the afternoon time and the Christmas Eve Eve date, it’s a doosey of a matchup, and as you know, we don’t throw around important words like “doosey” very often unless something is wham-bam on the money.
+ Houston won five of its last seven games to get to Shreveport, but let’s talk about those home-state Cajuns, who were a few plays away from a 9-3 record instead .500. The Ragin’ Cajuns lost to Sun Belt champ Troy and runner-up South Alabama on the final play of each of those games and lost to UL-Monroe when the Warhawks scored with six minutes left to play and then held ULL on its final drive.
This is a program going to its 10th bowl in the past 12 years. The Ragin’ Cajuns came into this season with a 34-5 record in the past three seasons. Despite their team not meeting the performance of teams of recent seasons, hopefully the Cajun fans will take the opportunity to come to another bowl and to Shreveport-Bossier and enjoy the program’s first I-Bowl.
+ There have been three I-Bowls played on the 15th of December, today’s day of the month.
1979: Syracuse 31, McNeese State 7.
1984: Air Force 23, Virginia Tech 7.
1990, and a game many of you will remember: Louisiana Tech 34, Maryland 34. Maryland, which missed what turned out to be a crucial extra point after the Terps’ third touchdown, scored on a 15-yard pass with 52 seconds left in regulation to take a 34-31 lead. But Tech returned a squib kick 41 yards and freshman Chris Boniol kicked a 29-yard field goal as time expired. It was a fitting and thrilling end for the 48,325 at the game. During a particularly crazy stretch in the third quarter, the teams combined for three touchdowns in less than four minutes of game time to turn a 14-14 at-the-half game into a barnburner.
Tech finished 8-3-1, Maryland 6-5-1.
After 1990, the bowl’s date moved to post-Christmas dates, most of them closer to New Year’s than Christmas. Last year, the early time returned: UAB defeated BYU, 31-28, on December 18.
+ There has been only one other I-Bowl played on December 23, the day of the month of this year’s game. That was in 1988, Southern Miss 38, UTEP 18. (I had time on my hands so … thought you’d want to know.)
See you at the ballgame. We’ll be there.
Contact Teddy at firstname.lastname@example.org