A pair of Conference USA schools have accepted bowl bids following their victories on Saturday. Memphis, coming off a 55-52 triple-overtime defeat of SMU has accepted a bid to play in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on Friday, December 21. Southern Miss, 16-10 winners over Arkansas State on Saturday, will play in the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. on Saturday, December 22.
"We are pleased that Memphis and Southern Miss will be playing in bowl games that are in close proximity to their fan bases and we expect to both schools to have a great postseason experience at these games," said C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky.
Memphis will be making its fourth bowl appearance in five years under head coach Tommy West. Southern Miss, which has clinched its 14th consecutive winning season, will be going bowling for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons under head coach Jeff Bower.
Memphis will face the champion of the Sun Belt Conference (either Troy or Florida Atlantic) in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, which is televised by ESPN 2. The seventh-year bowl is played at the Louisiana Superdome, site of six Super Bowl games. This marks the sixth straight year that C-USA is sending a representative to the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Troy defeated Rice in last year's game.
The Tigers have an explosive offense that is led by senior QB Martin Hankins, who has passed for more than 300 yards in five of his last six outings. Despite missing two games, Hankins has completed nearly 61 percent of his passes for 2,939 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Sophomore WR Duke Calhoun has a team-high 58 receptions for 850 yards and five touchdowns, while WR Carlos Singleton has grabbed a team-high 10 touchdowns.
Southern Miss will face an opponent from the Big East Conference in the second annual Papajohns.com Bowl at historic Legion Field. ESPN 2 will televise the contest. Last year's inaugural game featured East Carolina and USF, with the Bulls prevailing, 24-7.
The Golden Eagles feature one of the top sophomores in the country in running back Damion Fletcher and one of the league's best defensive players in linebacker Gerald McRath. Fletcher has run for more than 100 yards in 15 of his first 26 games at Southern Miss. This season, he has 266 carries for 1,431 yards and 15 touchdowns, the third-highest single-season total in school history. McRath is the latest in a line of All-Conference linebackers at USM and leads the team with 131 tackles this season.