Let’s take a look at three key factors between two teams with prolific offenses and underwhelming defenses preparing to kick off bowl season:
Fajardo (2,374 passing yards, 18 TDs, 11 INTs) is a fine passer, but his running ability is what makes him most dangerous. His 997 rushing yards are second among FBS quarterbacks and he has run for 13 touchdowns this season.
Broadway’s numbers (2,074 passing yards, 12 TDs, nine INTs, plus 634 rushing yards and three scores) aren’t in that league, but he’s no slouch himself. Plus, he has a bit of a home-field advantage in this game. This is the fourth straight season that the Ragin' Cajuns will end the season in the New Orleans Bowl -- they won the previous three -- and Broadway was the game’s MVP in 2012, when he passed for 316 yards and ran for 108 in a 43-34 win against East Carolina.
Stopping the run: The defense that does a better job of slowing the opponent’s running game will likely have an edge.
Paced by Elijah McGuire (1,165 rushing yards, 14 TDs) and Alonzo Harris (737 yards, 12 TDs), ULL is averaging 228.4 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Fajardo and Don Jackson (932, seven TDs) helped the Wolf Pack average 215.2 YPG on the ground.
The Cajuns seem to have the advantage here, as they defended the run a bit better than a Nevada defense that ranks 103rd nationally in total defense at 450.1 yards allowed per game.
Boise breakdown: These teams actually have a common opponent. Both of them lost to Boise State early in the season, although the losses came in entirely different fashions.
Nevada lost a 51-46 shootout against the rival Broncos, with Fajardo tossing three touchdown passes and running for two scores, but the results were nowhere near as close when ULL played on Boise's famous blue turf. The Cajuns lost 34-9 and mustered a season-low 241 yards of total offense (67 on the ground) on Sept. 20.
Both teams lost to Boise, but the fact that Nevada played a much more competitive game against their lone common opponent might be a positive sign for the Wolf Pack in this matchup.