LAFAYETTE — University of Louisiana at Lafayette freshman quarterback Jordan Davis was inserted into the game on the fifth offensive snap Saturday.
He stayed in the rest of the game and shined, relatively speaking, in the Cajuns’ 41-17 loss to Troy. Davis was 20-of-34 for 207 yards and a touchdown. Davis said he didn’t expect to play as much as he did Saturday.
“Coach said when you get that first series, just go out there and play ball,” Davis said. “I did not expect to play as much as I did, but he did tell me I’d get a shot on the first series.”
Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said Davis exceeded his expectations and said the mistakes he made were to be expected.
“We knew he was going to have some growing pains,” Hudspeth said. “We knew that going in. We planned to live with his mistakes in this game, and he had a few of them, but he showed some ability, too. He threw the deep ball well, threw the ball very accurately and ran the ball well. He showed a lot of promise.”
Davis acknowledged his mistakes — namely the third-quarter fumble that resulted in a 17-yard scoop and score for Troy’s Demetrius Cain. Davis said the entire week and getting the bulk of the snaps Saturday has been a tremendous learning experience.
“I wish I could have got some stuff back,” Davis said. “When you have two turnovers, one for six, I have to fix that. We were in that game and driving. That kinda hurt. It’s a learning experience.”
Junior running back Elijah McGuire — who scored on Davis’ touchdown pass, a 7-yard strike early in the third quarter to cut the Troy lead to 24-17 — said he always knew Davis was capable of running the Cajuns offense.
“I knew Jordan could play when he first got here,” McGuire said. “He is a good kid and a great player. He just needs to mature a little bit. That’s why he wasn’t getting much playing time. But he was relaxed in there tonight, like he has been doing it since the beginning of the season.”
Hudspeth said there was nothing specific that kept him from going to Davis earlier in the season, other than a lack of experience.
“He was just young,” Hudspeth said. “Earlier and in the midpoint when we climbed back in the hunt, we didn’t want to risk it. That’s one of those decisions where you look back and wonder if that was the right decision. (Saturday) was a great game to get his feet wet. He showed that he can be a really good quarterback.”
Hudspeth wasn’t quite ready to name Davis his starter for 2016, but Davis said he’s hungry to begin preparations and leave no doubt as to who the leader will be next season. Davis recalled a similar situation in high school when he was the third-string quarterback playing behind two established veterans.
“I went through this previously where I was the third guy and not getting much action,” Davis said. “For me to go through this in college, makes me know I never want this to happen again.
“I learned a lot (Saturday). I was real fortunate to get the opportunity to play. For me to excel at this level, I will need to be on my game and on top of everything. When next year comes again, we’re not going through this back and forth. We are going to need to be consistent and stable.”