New Orleans, LA – Terrance Broadway passed for 316 yards and a touchdown, while adding 108 yards and a score on the ground, to lead Louisiana to a 43-34 decision over East Carolina and its second straight victory at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
The Ragin' Cajuns captured a 32-30 victory over San Diego State in the New Orleans Bowl last season, It is the first time in school history they have won back-to-back bowl games.
Broadway completed 21-of-32 passes with an interception and carried the ball 15 times as Louisiana (9-4) ended its season with four straight wins. With their 9-4 record, the Ragin' Cajuns tied the 1921, 1970, 1976 and 2011 squads for the school record for wins in a season.
"I am very proud of this football team, not just for the way they played tonight but the way they prepared for this game," Louisiana head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "These guys just continue to blow me away with how they do the right things, how they take the hard work serious, how they prepare, watch film, lift weights, and do everything we ask. I couldn���t be more proud to see the look in their eyes and on their faces after we won that game, especially a bowl game tonight in the Superdome."
Alonzo Harris had 120 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, while Jamal Robinson hauled in six receptions for a game-high 116 yards in the victory.
Shane Carden threw for 278 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception on 25-for-42 efficiency for East Carolina (8-5), which was making its sixth bowl appearance in the last seven years.
"Definitely a successful season, a successful year, a successful week. We got better as a football team. No doubt, success. It's always tough to lose that last one. We as a staff, we have to make sure that what we accomplished will not go unnoticed.," ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill said.
Reggie Bullock carried the ball 17 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
East Carolina trailed, 28-7, in the second quarter before the Pirates put together a furious rally to get back in the game, starting with a 10-play, 80- yard drive that included a pair of third-down conversions and was capped by Justin Hardy's leaping grab over a defender in the middle of the end zone for a 19-yard score.
Darryl Surgent then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Pirates recovered the loose ball at the Louisiana 16.
Carden found Danny Webster over the middle on the next play and he fought his way across the goal line to bring East Carolina back within 28-21 with 3:03 left in the first half.
Brett Baer connected on a 50-yard field goal as time expired in the half to give the Ragin' Cajuns a 31-21 edge at the break.
But East Carolina countered with a 45-yard kick from Warren Harvey on its opening touch of the third quarter, and after converting a 4th-and-3 at the Louisiana 34 with an 11-yard gain by Bullock on a swing pass following a Ragin' Cajun punt, Bullock bounced off a tackle as he leapt across the goal line during a 13-yard run two plays later to knot the game at 31-31.
Louisiana, however, quickly regained the lead with a 7-play, 76-yard march as Broadway completed passes of 29 yards to Javone Lawson and 16 yards to Effrem Reed before Lawson made a juggling catch while sliding in the end zone for a 14-yard score.
Baer's extra-point effort was blocked to make it 37-31 contest with 3:07 remaining in the third quarter.
The Pirates responded with a 12-play, 70-yard drive that stretched into the fourth quarter, but they could not convert a 3rd-and-6 at the Louisiana 13 and were forced to settle for Harvey's 26-yard field goal.
East Carolina regained the ball just three plays later when Gabriel Woullard intercepted a tipped Broadway pass, but Carden gave it right back to the Ragin' Cajuns two plays after that when Jemarlous Moten stepped in front of a Carden pass over the middle.
The teams then traded punts until Broadway ripped off a 34-yard run down the left sideline on an option and then found Robinson for an 18-yard gain to set up Baer's 25-yard kick, handing the Ragin' Cajuns a 40-34 lead with 3:11 left in the game.
Faced with a 4th-and-5 at their own 30 on the ensuing drive, Carden avoided a rush and ran to his right to buy time, but his pass intended for Andrew Bodenheimer was broken up to turn the ball over on downs.
Baer drilled a 40-yard kick with 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory for Louisiana.
After East Carolina was held to a three-and-out on the opening possession of the game, the Ragin' Cajuns converted three third downs, including a 14-yard strike to Robinson on a 3rd-and-7 at the Pirates' 47-yard line, during a 12- play, 74-yard march Broadway capped with a 12-yard rush around the left side.
Louisiana later regained the ball at its own 30 following a series of punts, and Broadway found Lawson for a pair of 19-yard gains to set up Harry Peoples' 10-yard touchdown run on an end around for a 14-0 lead with 14:17 left in the second quarter.
East Carolina recorded its first first down of the game during the ensuing drive when Webster hauled in a pass near the left sideline and raced downfield for a 45-yard gain.
Two plays later, Bullock broke up the middle for a 5-yard score to get the Pirates on the board.
Louisiana, however, needed just five plays to answer as Bradley Brown and Robinson had receptions of 22 and 39 yards, respectively, to highlight the 71- yard drive Harris finished off with a 6-yard rumble across the goal line with 11:07 remaining in the first half.
The Pirates were held to a punt on their next touch, and Trent Tignor's kick was downed at the 2-yard line to set the Ragin' Cajuns up deep inside their own territory.
But Blaine Gautier took over under center for Louisiana on the drive and reeled off a 16-yard run to get Louisiana out of trouble.
After an 8-yard strike to Brown moved the ball to the Louisiana 24, Harris took a handoff, broke a pair of tackles in the backfield and raced 68 yards for a touchdown.
The play was reviewed as Brown seemed to have the ball punched out of his hands just prior to him crossing the goal line, but the play was upheld and the Ragin' Cajuns took a 28-7 advantage.
Louisiana improved to 3-1 all-time in bowl games and leads the all-time series between the teams, 7-4 ... East Carolina fell to 8-10 in bowl games and have not won a bowl since defeating Boise State 41-38 in the 2007 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl ... The Pirates had won their last nine games when scoring 30 or more points ...Gautier completed 1-of-2 passes for eight yards and had 16 yards on one rush ... Louisiana held a 591-421 advantage in total yards.