Darius Bradwell rushed for a career-best 150 yards and two touchdowns to lead Tulane to its first postseason victory in 16 years, a 41-24 win over intrastate rival Louisiana-Lafayette in the Cure Bowl on Saturday.
Justin McMillan improved to 5-1 as the Green Wave’s starting quarterback, tossing a first-quarter TD pass to Terren Encalade and running for a late score while accounting for 217 yards total offense — 145 passing and 72 rushing.
Bradwell scored on runs of 15 and 4 yards while setting bowl records for rushing attempts (35) and yards for Tulane (7-6), which won a bowl game for the first time since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl.
The Green Wave also got a rushing TD from Amare Jones and outgained the Ragin’ Cajuns 337 yards to 84 on the ground.
Lousiana-Lafayette (7-7) rallied from a 24-7 deficit to pull within three points on Jarrod Jackson’s 15-yard TD reception with just over 10 minutes remaining.
McMillan put the game away, leading a 75-yard drive Bradwell finished with his second TD and later scoring himself on a 16-yard run that put Tulane up 41-24.
Andre Nunez completed 8 of 17 passes for 136 yards and one TD, however Louisiana-Lafayette’s productive running tandem of Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell were not a factor after falling behind early.
Tulane won four of five down the stretch in the regular season to not only qualify for its first bowl berth in five years, but also finished with a winning record (5-3) in conference play for the first time since 2014.
McMillan was one of the keys, providing consistent quarterback play while throwing for more than 1,100 yards and accounting for 13 touchdowns — nine passing and four rushing.
The graduate transfer from LSU, where he appeared on only two games from 2015-17, was 11 of 18 passing with one interception Saturday.