N.O. Bowl Update - Cajuns sell out full ticket allotment

by Dan McDonald

UL's ticket office has now handled more than 18,800 New Orleans Bowl tickets as the game heads toward a record attendance.

N.O. Bowl Update Wednesday, 12/14, 1:15 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS More notes and quotes from Day 2 of the Ragin' Cajun invasion of the Crescent City for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

DUCATS: Looking for tickets to Saturday's New Orleans Bowl? They're still available, just not through the "official" UL ticket outlets.

UL Director of Athletics Scott Farmer reported Wednesday morning that the remaining handful of tickets the school received from the bowl game had been sold. Only about 50 remained as of Tuesday afternoon, and the rest of those were scarfed up even before the Cajundome Box Office opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Unofficial totals now have the total tickets processed through the UL ticket office at approximately 18,800 heading into Saturday's 8 p.m. game against San Diego State at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"They're now talking about a crowd of maybe 40,000," Farmer says after talks with bowl staffers. "That's about 10,000 more than they've ever had."

The top attendance in the 10-year-old bowl's history is 30,228 in 2009 when Middle Tennessee topped Southern Mississippi 42-32. Attendance has been more than 30,000 one other time, that in 2008 when Southern Miss beat Troy 30-27 the only loss for the game's Sun Belt Conference representative in the last five years.

Last year's Troy-Ohio game drew 29,159.

"It's going to be fun for our fans," Farmer says. "There's a lot of activities through the bowl and with the university events. There's always something going on. Best thing, you can park and pretty much walk to everything you want to go to."

Tickets are still available and can still be purchased through TicketMaster or through the Cajundome Box Office from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday. Any tickets bought now, though, may not be in the designated Ragin' Cajun sections behind the UL bench.

Farmer says that anyone who had previously reserved tickets may also pick them up at the Cajundome during box office hours through Thursday at 8 p.m. Any tickets not picked up by then will be available from 3-5 p.m. at the Ragin' Cajun Fan Fest at the headquarters New Orleans Marriott hotel, or at the UL Will Call gate (Gate H) at the Superdome from 5-8 p.m. Saturday.

DOCUMENTARY: Greg Gossen and staffers from Channel One Video have been following every Cajun thing that moves so far during the bowl trip, and with good reason. The group, which has done video productions for the UL athletic program for 13 years and does the scoreboard videos shown in Cajun Field, is packaging a documentary about this season that will be available in the spring.

"The folks at UL have given us great access," Gossen says, "so we've been able to get behind the scenes and get a good look at this season from their perspective. We're going to have an overview of the season from when Coach [Mark] Hudspeth was hired all the way through the bowl game, some special features and some post-season interviews after the bowl game is over."

Gossen says all proceeds from the documentary will go to the Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Foundation (RCAF) when it is available for sale, but prices and details have not been finalized.

PRACTICING, TOO: Tyla Hudspeth, wife of the Cajun head coach, also got in a workout during UL's Wednesday practice at the Superdome. An accomplished marathoner, Tyla recently ran a personal best 3:38:01 for the 26-mile, 385-yard race at the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon
missing the women's qualifying mark for the Boston Marathon by 61 seconds and the automatic qualifying mark for the New York Marathon by a single second.

Along with her running, she's also in an ambitious strength and weight training program working with Cajun strength and conditioning coach Rusty Whitt.

"I was carrying the backpack with the weights in it up the stadium steps this week," Tyla says, "just like the players do."

REMEMBERING: UL assistant coach Tim Rebowe, one of three holdovers from the previous staff when Hudspeth took over in December, made sure to give former Cajun coach Rickey Bustle his props for at least some of this year's success.

"When I got here, I knew that Coach Bustle had things going in the right direction," Rebowe says. "We always thought that we'd get to this point we just came up a little short. Coach Hudspeth takes over and the rest is history."

Bustle, who served during the past season as quarterbacks coach at Tulane, took over after the three-year debacle of the Jerry Baldwin era (6-27 from 1999-2001) and led the Cajuns to one share of the Sun Belt title and to four bowl-eligible seasons during his nine years. He was replaced after UL went 3-9 in 2010, and Hudspeth was hired that December.

LAGNIAPPE: The Cajuns will wear red jerseys, black helmets and black pants for Saturday's 8 p.m. game and will be the designated home team. ... UL senior linebacker Le'Marcus Gibson won't play in Saturday's game because of an injured left knee and tibia, but at least he has the satisfaction of a rare place in this year's entire postseason bowl field. Gibson, a native of Starkville, Miss., originally signed with Hawaii out of high school and made the trip with the Rainbow Warriors to New Orleans for that year's Sugar Bowl in the Superdome against Georgia. That means Gibson will be part of two different teams to play in two different bowl games in the same venue during his career. ... The Cajuns worked out for just over two hours on Wednesday at the Superdome and are scheduled to head straight from there to the National World War II Museum on Magazine Street.