LAFAYETTE — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette football team knows whether it runs right, left or up the middle, it’s going to have to deal with No. 48 in an Arkansas State uniform.
“This guy, when you watch film, … you walk out of there and your head’s spinning a little bit because you wonder, ‘Can I get a first down?’” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth said. “This guy is sideline-to-sideline knocking people senseless.”
The No. 48 uniform is worn by senior linebacker Qushaun Lee, a 5-foot-11, 225-pound dynamo who mans the middle of an Arkansas State defense that leads the Sun Belt Conference in points allowed per game (20.5).
Lee was a first-team All-SBC selection a year ago after recording a conference-high 134 tackles and was named the SBC’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
UL-Lafayatte quarterback Terrance Broadway had a similar analysis after watching tape of an Arkansas State defense that is only giving up 3.1 yards per rush.
“Number 48 in the middle is the heart and soul of that defense,” Broadway said. “He makes a lot of plays going sideline-to-sideline getting to the ball really fast.”
With 41 tackles through six games, Lee hasn’t quite matched the torrid pace he set last year for tackles per game, but he’s been a more productive all-around player.
In addition to his 41 tackles, Lee has two interceptions, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack and two passes broken up, all of those numbers are either better or on pace to top the numbers he put up a year ago.
But Hudspeth isn’t worried about Lee’s stats. He’s just trying to figure out how to attack the Red Wolves defense with No. 48 running amok.
“An absolutely dominating player,” Hudspeth said. “He’s going to play in the National Football League soon. He makes them tick.”
Anyama to start
The Cajuns’ new-look linebacker corps that played a large role in shutting down a potent Texas State attack last week will once again have a new face against Arkansas State.
Senior Boris Anyama will start at outside linebacker in place of junior college transfer Darzil Washington, who had a career-high three tackles in last week’s start.
“He just didn’t have one day of practice that we felt like was good enough to deserve to start,” Hudspeth said. “Boris has had a great week of practice, is dialed into the game plan and is just, right now, consistent.
“Darzil is going to play, Boris is going to start.”
Patt likely unavailable
Hudspeth was confident earlier in the week that senior safety Trevence Patt would be available for Tuesday’s game, but after going through a week of practice Hudspeth changed course.
“Patt is still out,” Hudspeth said. “He’s going to dress and be there for — what I always say — if a bomb goes off and two or three people get hurt, he could go in because he’s a veteran and would get lined up. But still, not effective. Not yet.”
Outside of Patt, the Cajuns should be good from an injury standpoint. Sophomore Jared Johnson wore an orange limited contact jersey at practice Sunday, but Hudspeth said he should be fine to play.
Prime time competition
One of the biggest benefits of a program like Louisiana-Lafayette playing on a Tuesday night is the fact that it’s the only football game on TV that day. Depending on who you’re talking to, that might be the only benefit.
But the Cajuns aren’t likely to attract as many casual viewers as usual this Tuesday, considering they’re directly competing against Game 1 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.