— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall’s football team faces a major postseason challenge in less than two weeks when the Thundering Herd faces 16th-ranked Louisiana in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
The postseason contest is scheduled for December 18 at 9:15 pm in the Caesars Superdome.
Marshall (7-5, 5-3) had last weekend off after falling to Western Kentucky 53-21 the previous week in the final regular season contest. The Hilltoppers then lost to UTSA last Friday, 49-41, in the Conference USA title game.
Louisiana (12-1, 8-0), a future Sun Belt Conference opponent for Marshall, won the Sun Belt title last weekend, beating Appalachian State 24-16.
“We are really excited to have the opportunity to continue our season,” first-year Marshall head coach Charles Huff said. “Not only do we get the opportunity to play a phenomenal opponent, we get to do it in a great city, and in a very well-respected bowl. We are looking forward to all the great things New Orleans has to offer as we prepare to take on a really good football team.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns will be led by a new head coach in the bowl, as Michael Desormeaux is replacing Billy Napier, who left to become the new head coach Florida.
Napier helped guide Louisiana to the win over the Mountaineers in his final game with the school last weekend.
This will be the fifth straight year Marshall plays in a bowl, and the Herd hopes to break a two-game bowl losing streak after dropping contests to UCF in the 2019 Gasparilla Bowl, and to Buffalo in the 2020 Camellia Bowl.
Marshall’s Interim Athletic Director, Jeff O’Malley, hopes to see plenty of Marshall fans in the stands at the Superdome one week before Christmas.
“We are thrilled to be playing in New Orleans, especially given our impending move to the Sun Belt Conference,” O’Malley said. “The Thundering Herd has a tradition of traveling extremely well to our bowl appearances and I know that our fans are eager to do that once again. We look forward to a great game against nationally-ranked Louisiana and are pleased that this will be a league game in the future.”
Even with two straight bowl losses, Marshall still has a .750 winning percentage in bowl games, winning 12 of 16 NCAA-sanctioned bowl games. That is the highest mark nationally among programs that have made at least seven appearances.
As required by the City of New Orleans, all guests planning to end the bowl game age 12 and above must provide proof of having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that has received full approval or emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization or evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to entering the Superdome … Prior to entry, fans may present their verified digital proof of vaccination or an original, digital photograph or photocopy (both sides) of their CDC vaccination card. They may also present an official vaccination record issued by another state, foreign nation or the WHO … The Superdome does not have a mask policy.