ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: San Diego State's head coach Rocky Long watches the action on the field during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan defeated San Diego 28-7. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
In a battle of 8-4 teams, the San Diego State Aztecs and Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns meet in the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night.
After their second straight 8-4 season, the Aztecs are playing in a bowl game in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history. The Aztecs are led by running back Ronnie Hillman, who rushed for 1,656 yards and 19 touchdowns and added a 20th touchdown on one of his 20 receptions in 2011. Quarterback Ryan Lindley added 20 touchdowns with his arm, which accounted for 2,740 yards, mostly to wideouts Colin Lockette and Gavin Escobar, who combined for 99 receptions for 1,595 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Following a 61-34 loss to the Oklahoma St. Cowboys, first-year head coach Mark Hudspeth guided the Ragin' Cajuns to six straight wins, making the eligible to go to a bowl for the first time in 41 seasons. Junior quarterback Blaine Gautier leads the Ragin Cajuns offense, passing for 2,488 yards and 20 touchdowns and ranks second behind running back Alonzo Harris (638 yards, eight touchdowns) with 464 rushing yards and three touchdowns, earning second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors.
Game date, time: 9 p.m. ET, Saturday, December 17, 2011
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV channel: ESPN
Odds: Aztecs are favored by 4.5 points