WKU beat South Alabama to win the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. What happened, who was the player of the game, and what does it all mean?
WKU 44, South Alabama 23 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl What Happened, Player of the Game, What It All Means
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl What Happened
– WKU got hot early, put the game away, and South Alabama wasn’t able to do much to respond until it was way too late. Austin Reed threw three touchdown passes – four for the game – and receiver Dalvin Smith threw a trick play touchdown pass on the way to a 31- 3 halftime lead.
– It was 41-10 WKU late in the third, but South Alabama’s Carter Bradley threw three touchdown passes including two int he last 19 minutes. It didn’t matter. WKU got enough points less than 20 minutes in.
– That wasn’t the normal South Alabama team. It was brilliant all season and tight defensively, but WKU and Reed were too sharp and too good in the first half. It wasn’t a sloppy game, but two USA turnovers didn’t help and the inability to keep drives going early on was a killer.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Player of the Game
Austin Reed, QB WKU
He was supposed to have transferred to Louisville, but came back and decided to stay. He completed 36-of-55 passes for 497 yards with four touchdowns and a pick. He also ran for 25 yards.
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Fun Stats
– WKU WR Dalvin Smith caught six passes for 145 yards and a score, and he completed his only throw for a 25-yard score. Jaylin Hall (138 yards) and Malachi Corley (114 yards) also hit the 100-yard mark.
– South Alabama WR Devin Voisin came up with a game high 11 catches for 154 yards and a score. QB Carter Bradley threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns with two picks.
– Total Yards: WKU 677 – South Alabama 421
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl What It All Means
Wow. WKU came into this a bit undermanned, but Austin Reed was there slinging it around and running the offense, and that was it. For a team that had a bit of an inconsistent season, Reed was brilliant from the start, the passing game clicked like it was supposed, and this was over fast.
Give the WKU defense a little credit, too. It held up early, got the ball back to Reed, and boom. Now that’s two straight bowl wins under head coach Tyson Helton, and he’s 3-1 in the last four years. The program has won six of its last eight since losing its first ever bowl appearance in 2012.
What was that, South Alabama? Against UCLA in a tough loss against Troy in a 10-6 battle of a loss, and in game after game, the offense found ways to keep moving early on and the defense was good at holding up in a 10-2 season. This loss doesn’t ruin a great season, but it sours it a bit.
The program still hasn’t won a bowl game – it’s 0-3 – but this was the first winning season since moving up to the FBS level in 2012. It was the first time it got past six wins. This was a special year, but the first 20 minutes of this were shocking.