LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette football team won't be the only squad searching for answers when the Ragin’ Cajuns visit Tulsa on Saturday.
The Cajuns are coming off a wild, 51-48 victory over Football Championship Subdivision squad Southeastern Louisiana, but coach Mark Hudspeth knows his team faces a taller order this week.
“We're going to play a very talented Tulsa team," he said.
Tulsa is seeking its first win, following a 59-24 defeat at then-No. 10 Oklahoma State. Coming off a 10-3 campaign in 2016, Tulsa is still looking for a replacement for Dane Evans at quarterback. During his time at Tulsa, Evans set the career passing mark by throwing for 11,680 yards.
Third-year coach Philip Montgomery is expected to play sophomore Chad President and redshirt freshman Luke Skipper. President and Skipper combined to go 20 for 38 for 188 yards against the Cowboys. President, a dual-threat option, saw the majority of the action; he also rushed for 69 yards.
The Golden Hurricane may look to lean on a backfield that returns D’Angelo Brewer, who broke the 1,000-yard barrier last season, and Corey Taylor II, who rushed for 111 yards in last week’s loss. The Cajuns gave up 384 yards on the ground against Southeastern.
The Golden Hurricane likes to play fast, capitalizing on the opponent’s fatigue and hoping it leads to mental mistakes and blown assignments.
“They have one of the top offenses in the nation, and they're going to try and run a lot of offensive plays," Hudspeth said. "They want to have a minimum of 100 offensive plays a game.”
A cooler and wetter than normal summer did not give the Cajuns many opportunities to practice outside, causing Hudspeth to fear his team may not be in optimal shape. Those fears were confirmed Saturday against Southeastern.
“I thought that the temperature got to us a little bit, and I sort of anticipated that,” he said. “It's hard to simulate the humidity that we had the other night.”
Defensively, after a rough first half in which Oklahoma State racked up 453 yards, Tulsa settled down in the second, giving up only 187 yards and two touchdowns. Ends Jesse Brubaker and Jeremy Smith lead the way; they combined for 21.5 tackles for loss in 2016.
Junior safety McKinley Whitfield led the team in tackles at Oklahoma State: He had 10, including three behind the line of scrimmage.