BOONE, N.C. — UL-Lafayette came into Saturday’s regular-season finale hoping for an upset victory and a bowl invitation.
Instead, the Ragin’ Cajuns were humbled quickly at Appalachian State, and they’ll be home for the holidays.
Taylor Lamb threw three second-quarter touchdown passes and rushed for a 29-yard score, and the Mountaineers hammered the Cajuns 63-14 at Kidd-Brewer Stadium, sending UL-Lafayette home with its third straight sub-.500 record.
Thomas Hennigan caught four touchdown passes, including three from Lamb in the second quarter, as Appalachian State (8-4, 7-1 Sun Belt Conference) won its third straight game and claimed a share of the Sun Belt title for the second consecutive year.
The Cajuns (5-7, 4-4) needed a win to become bowl-eligible. Instead, they suffered the worst conference loss in the seven-year Mark Hudspeth era, which began with four consecutive 9-4 records and four straight New Orleans Bowl victories.
UL-Lafayette reached the New Orleans Bowl again last season but lost to Southern Miss, finishing 6-7 overall.
This season’s up-and-down journey was marked in part by inconsistent quarterback play and a shoddy defense, which struggled early but seemed to strengthen by midseason, then fell apart again down the stretch.
Asked if he thought he’d be back for an eighth seeason at UL-Lafayette, Hudspeth answered matter-of-factly: “I don’t control any of that. That’s all for (the administration) to decide. It’s been a fun seven years, and that’ll be up to them.”
Saturday at Appalachian State, the Cajuns needed three plays to take an early 7-0 lead. Quarterback Jordan Davis broke loose on a 47-yard run on their first play from scrimmage, then connected with Devin Scott two plays later on a 28-yard TD pass.
From there, however, the rout was on.
Lamb tied it on a 29-yard touchdown run, and the Mountaineers scored four more times to take a 35-7 lead into halftime.
Appalachian State led 49-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
“They did a really good job today and made a lot of plays,” Hudspeth said. “And we didn’t. It wasn’t our night. We didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked.”
Lamb completed 17 of 22 passes for 242 yards while rushing for 87 yards on five carries.
Jalin Moore finished with 110 yards on 17 carries for the Mountaineers, and Daetrich Harrington had 118 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Davis completed 9 of 15 passes for 105 yards while gaining 78 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Freshman quarterback Levi Lewis, a Scotlandville graduate, completed 5 of 9 passes for 96 yards and scored on a 14-yard TD run with 11:09 remaining for the Cajuns.
Tracy Walker, playing in his final game in a UL-Lafayette uniform, recorded a career-high 15 tackles.
“In life, man, sometimes it just doesn't go the way you want," Hudspeth said. "Every team in the country would love to go 13-0. Every team, including us. And sometimes it just doesn’t go the way you want. …
“But sometimes, if you don’t get what you want, you still get experience. I told the guys, they’re going to be able to draw from this season later in life.”