LAFAYETTE — When Louisiana-Lafayette welcomes New Mexico State for homecoming on Saturday, a lot of attention will be paid on the high-flying Aggies offense.
New Mexico State enters Saturday’s 4 p.m. kickoff with the Sun Belt’s top passing attack, throwing for nearly 360 yards per game and averaging 31.33 points per game.
But perhaps equally as troubling for Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth is the blitzing brand of defense the Aggies play.
“They like to bring pressure," Hudspeth said of the Aggies, who have 23 sacks and 59 tackles for losses this season. "They pressured Troy (a 27-24 loss on Sept. 16) and they got after Troy pretty good. They’re good at that.”
While Hudspeth likes the way his offensive line has played of late, the Aggies' pressure packages are still concerning.
“I think our offensive line is picking up pressure pretty good," he said. "I think they’ve protected the passer pretty decently this fall, but (New Mexico State has) been good at getting after the quarterback.”
Adding to the concern is the status of starting left tackle Grant Horst. Horst left the Ole Miss after re-aggravating his right shoulder, an injury he’s been playing through since early in the season. Horst did not practice Tuesday and Hudspeth said he was “questionable” for Saturday.
Should Horst not be able to go, Hudspeth could turn to left guard Robert Hunt who has filled in for Horst twice this season. If that is the direction the Cajuns go, expect Staten Wade to fill in for Hunt at left guard.
Another unknown is the health of freshman quarterback Levi Lewis. The former Scotlandville High School star exited last week's loss at Ole Miss with an injured ankle in the second quarter.
Lewis did return to practice Tuesday but wasn't 100 percent, Hudspeth said. The Cajuns coach said Jordan Davis, who scored two touchdowns while filling in for Lewis against the Rebels, took a lot of reps with the first unit Tuesday.
Backup quarterback Andre Nunez, who is back at practice after missing a few weeks with a head injury, worked with the second-string offense and looked sharp, Hudspeth said.
The Cajuns aren’t expected to make a decision on who will start until later in the week.
Other injury notes
Wide receiver Keenan Barnes, who hurt his right knee at Ole Miss, did not practice Tuesday. He's listed Barnes as questionable. Punter Sam Geraci (stress fracture in foot) is probable.
Saturday will be the 70th homecoming for the Cajuns. They are 39-28-2 in 69 homecoming games. UL-Lafayette will induct five former athletes and three administrators into the Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2017 class includes Lacey Bertucci Sharp (softball), Dion Brown (men's basketball), JoJo Harris (women's track and field), Jonathan Lucroy (baseball) and the late Kim Perrot (women's basketball). The Cajuns will also honor administrators Danny Cottonham, Sherry LeBas and John Porche.