There will be two Louisiana-Lafayette football players with Starkville connections participating in today's New Orleans Bowl.
Strong safety Le'Marcus Gibson played with Starkville High School through his sophomore year before transferring to Harrison Central, while defensive end Chris Prater is a redshirt freshman with the Ragin Cajuns.
"I'm real excited about it," Prater said about playing in a bowl game. "We've been preparing and having a good time."
Prater has played in five games this season. He had an 8-yard quarterback sack in the season-opener against Lamar.
"My position coach has told me that I've been doing well the last couple of practices and I expect to play some (in the bowl game)," Prater said.
Prater was a first-team All-Region selection during his days with the Yellowjackets and was rated a two-star prospect by Scout.com.
Gibson, who still considers Starkville as home, is a three-year starter for Louisiana-Lafayette. He has played in all 12 games this season and stands sixth on the team in tackles with 47. He also has four tackles for loss.
As a junior, Gibson started 11 games at linebacker before suffering a season-ending broken left leg against Arkansas.
Gibson saw time in six of the first seven games at strong safety during his sophomore season for the Rajin Cajuns and earned starts against Troy and Western Kentucky.
Louisiana-Lafayette (7-4) plays against East Carolina (8-4) in the game that kicks off at 11 a.m.
Even though East Carolina sports a slightly better record, Gibson looks forward to the challenge.
"We're not taking them light," Gibson said. "We're just trying to prepare the same way and we like our chances."
The opportunity to play in the postseason is something that Gibson does not take for granted.
"There are a lot of teams sitting at home this time of the year and wish they could be in a bowl game," Gibson said. "A couple of years ago, we were that team all of the time."