MOBILE – Louisiana and Miami football teams visited the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park on Sunday.
The luncheon and tour was the final event of the week, leading up to Monday’s LendingTree Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson was on hand and presented LendingTree Executive Vice President Bruce Cook, Louisiana Director of Athletics Dr. Bryan Maggard and Miami Director of Athletics David Sayler with keys to the city.
“You only present a key to the city to someone to honor them or you trust them.” Stimpson said. “This key represents the hope that you will always remember your experience in Mobile.”
Louisiana Head Coach Billy Napier and Miami Head Coach Chuck Martin reflected on the week and hospitality provided by the LendingTree Bowl and city of Mobile.
“We had heard a lot of great things about the experience in this bowl game coming into it and I would verify that,” Napier said. We are very appreciative of the staff. It’s been a first class approach. Thanks to LendingTree with the sponsorship. The city of Mobile has given us an outstanding week of events. I’d like to thank South Alabama for hosting us and providing the facilities for our practices. It has been a great week.”
“We’ve had a blast this week,” Martin said. “We appreciate all the hospitality and the Mardi Gras parade. We appreciate South Alabama at the eleventh hour getting us over to their facility. Today, this is about as cool as it gets. We are into the whole student-athlete experience and we have had enough time to enjoy Mobile, we have one kid from Mobile, but for everyone else they got to experience Mobile. We went to a barbecue place that’s world famous and kind of do the things Mobile people take pride in. It’s been a great week for us.”
Louisiana and Miami are meeting for the third time in history at Monday’s LendingTree Bowl in Mobile.
Miami leads the all-time series, 2-0. The two teams played a home-and-home series in 1991 and 1993. Miami posted a 27-14 win in the inaugural meeting in Oct. 5, 1991 in Lafayette. The Redhawks scored a 29-28 win on Sept. 11, 1993 in Oxford.
Louisiana and Miami have one common opponent this season – the Ohio Bobcats.
Louisiana posted a 45-25 win at Ohio on Sept. 21. The Ragin’ Cajuns blew open a close game with 35 second-half points. UL led 10-6 at halftime but scored on five of nine second half possessions. Elijah Mitchell (17-143-3) and Trey Ragas (15-129-1) combined for 272 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Levi Lewis threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Miami posted a 24-21 win at Ohio on Nov. 6. Sam Sloman hit a 53-yard field goal with just over three minutes left to give the Redhawks the three-point win. Jaylon Bester ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the win. He had a 45-yard TD run in the second quarter and added a 7-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Ryan McWood led the team with 13 tackles.
Miami becomes the fifth different team to make three or more appearances at the LendingTree Bowl. The Redhawks played in the 2003 and 2011 LendingTree Bowl.
Arkansas State holds the record with four LendingTree Bowl appearances. The Red Wolves made four straight appearances from 2012-14. Toledo, Troy and Bowling Green are tied with Miami with three appearances.
Miami is looking to become the first team to win three LendingTree Bowl games. Miami defeated Louisville 49-28 in 2003. Miami defeated Middle Tennessee 35-21 in 2011.
Miami, Southern Miss and Tulsa are the only 2-0 teams in bowl history. Arkansas State (2-2), Toledo (2-1) and Troy (2-1) have two LendingTree Bowl wins.
Louisiana becomes the 24th different team to play in the LendingTree Bowl.
MAC teams are 9-9 in the LendingTree Bowl. The MAC has lost four straight LendingTree Bowl games, with the last win coming during the 2012-13 bowl season.
Sun Belt Conference teams are 6-4 in the LendingTree Bowl. The Sun Belt Conference is riding a 4-game winning streak. The last loss came in 2014.