LAFAYETTE — It was lost amid Louisiana-Lafayette’s 56-15 humbling at Ole Miss on Saturday, but coach Mark Hudspeth was high on the performance of his offensive line following the game.
After a Sunday film study, he was even more convinced that his offensive front played its best game of the season, despite the lopsided score.
“After looking, I was even more impressed,” Hudspeth said Monday. “There was not a lot of movement, and they did a great job of protecting our quarterback. That’s the most time that (quarterback Terrance Broadway) has had all year, and that’s against a quality SEC defensive line. That was one of our concerns going in — whether we would have time to throw the ball and could we (keep Ole Miss) from getting sacks.”
The line didn’t allow a sack against the Rebels and has given up only one all season. UL-Lafayette has given up the sixth-fewest negative-yardage plays (eight) in the nation, and the Ragin’ Cajuns had 193 rushing yards Saturday.
The reviews weren’t as high everywhere else after the Ragin’ Cajuns’ second straight loss — not a surprise after the four-turnover performance and after the defense allowed 290 passing yards in the first half alone.
“A lot of that space that was created wasn’t all on the secondary,” Hudspeth said of Ole Miss’ success in the throwing game. “Our linebacker coverage was very poor. Our linebacker drops were the worst we’ve had this year. Our linebackers are responsible for a lot of those short passes, and they didn’t do a good job. They let their eyes mislead them. ... They have to improve.”
Hudspeth announced two secondary position changes for Saturday’s trip to Boise State (2-1). Senior Trevence Patt moves from strong safety to cornerback, replacing sophomore Dominick Jones. T.J. Worthy takes over at Patt’s old spot.
The Cajuns have allowed 837 passing yards and four aerial scores in three games. They have just one interception — by safety Sean Thomas late in Saturday’s second quarter, setting up a field goal.
Senior linebacker Trae Johnson was UL-Lafayette’s leading tackler for the third straight game with 11 stops, but Hudspeth said he’s looking at more than numbers.
“Trae is doing some good things, but he could have even more tackles if he could eliminate the missed tackles,” he said. “That’s my challenge to him. Boris (Anyama) was productive, but for every one play he made, he was out of position for another. All our linebackers were out of sync as far as their drops and responsibilities.”
Starting linebacker Jake Molbert saw limited action at Ole Miss after he aggravated a lower leg injury that kept him out of the first two games. Hudspeth said he expected Molbert back at full speed Saturday.
The Cajuns go into their first meeting with the Broncos ranked next to last nationally in turnover margin, and three of their four turnovers were key against the Rebels. Running back Alonzo Harris fumbled at the Ole Miss 6 when it was still a 7-0 game late in the first quarter. And, after posting field goals on their last two drives of the first half, Broadway threw interceptions on UL-Lafayette’s first two possessions after halftime.
“We’ve moved the ball the last two games,” tight end Nick Byrne said. “But the turnovers, we’ve been kicking ourselves. It’s things that we have to clean up.”