LAFAYETTE — Nick Ralston, apparently, isn't a huge fan of Louisiana weather.
"We had a couple OTAs in the summer outside when it was like 101 [degrees] with 80 percent humidity, and I kind of questioned why I came here," the graduate transfer joked this week.
Like many do around the New Year, Ralston is reflecting on the year and his transfer to Louisiana. Monday's LendingTree Bowl will be his final game as a Cajun.
"When I first got here I was instantly welcomed by all kids on the team. It is a different feel from Louisiana to my previous school. I feel everyone is closer here," he said, crediting the camaraderie for the team's success this season.
The tight end followed head coach Billy Napier to Louisiana from Arizona State where Napier was previously an offensive coordinator. Ralston came to fill a void, but with injures piling up at tight end, he'd end up playing an integral role in the team's first 10-win season. Ralston enters the bowl game with 15 catches for 100 yards and four touchdowns. Those four touchdowns were tied for second most this year.
In September he caught his second touchdown of the year in the team's 45-25 win over Ohio. Ralston draws comparison's between Ohio and the team's LendingTree Bowl opponent Miami of Ohio.
"We played a MAC team, Ohio, and we think their similar to Miami (Ohio)" he said. "I think the Sun Belt has had a good bowl record over the past few years and we're trying to continue that tradition and momentum. We're just ready to go out and play."
Over the past four seasons, the Sun Belt has a 13-7 bowl record, as it stands Wednesday. That is the best winning percentage among Group of Five schools over that span. The Sun Belt is 2-2 this season in bowl games.