The Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback picture remained unclear Tuesday as coach Mark Hudspeth declined to publicly announce a starter for Saturday afternoon's regular-season finale at Appalachian State.
Hudspeth is instead opting to play hold his cards tight, forcing the Mountaineers to prepare for Levi Lewis and Jordan Davis.
“They both went with the ones today and we know who’s going to get the start already and they do, too,” Hudspeth said Tuesday afternoon “Both those guys are very capable of playing, and both are capable of playing at a very high level.”
After using his redshirt and earning starts at South Alabama and Ole Miss, Lewis missed the Cajuns' win against New Mexico State with an injury. After a week off to heal his injury, Hudspeth started Lewis last week against Georgia Southern. But after a 1 of 4 passing start, including an interception, and the Cajuns facing a 17-0 deficit, Hudspeth lifted Lewis for Davis.
“The other night, Jordan ended up coming off the bench like a sixth man and gave us a spark. He had the hot hand and did a nice job,” Hudspeth said of the junior quarterback.
Davis finished 15 of 26 for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
In his last three appearances a relief stint at Ole Miss, a home start against New Mexico State, and Saturday’s showing against Georgia Southern, Davis has completed 56 percent of his passes for 477 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He has also rushed for another 133 yards and three scores.
While at least privately the Cajuns have settled on a quarterback, Hudspeth expressed confidence in Lewis and Davis.
“Both guys may play, both of them have done some really good things this year and both guys will be ready to play,” Hudspeth said.
Whoever the quarterback is that leads the Cajuns on to the field Saturday will be forced to deal with an Appalachain State defense that is one of the Sun Belt’s top units.
“When you think of App State, you think about a very salty defense with a lot of speed, that makes a lot of plays,” Hudspeth said Monday. “They’re playing awfully well right now, and they’ve found a way to win a lot of close games this year.”
The Mountaineer defense is giving up 23.9 points per game. Of App State’s four losses this season, three have been by a touchdown or less. The only exception was the season opener when the Mountaineers fell to Georgia 31-10.
UL-Lafayette will be searching for its first win against Appalachian State, the Cajuns are 0-3 all time against the Mountaineers. Hudspeth said the Apps defense is a big reason why.
“They’ve been very good against us defensively. We’ve not moved the ball well on those guys,” Hudspeth said. "What they do with their odd front creates a lot of problems, and they have a lot of quickness up front.”
The Mountaineers defensive line has indeed created a lot of issues for opposing offenses. The three-headed monster of Tee Sims, who leads Appalachian State with 9½ sacks, Demetrius Taylor and Myquon Stout have caused issues for quarterbacks. The trio has combined for 14 of the Mountaineers' 31 sacks. Sims also leads the team with 13½ tackles for loss.
If the Cajuns win, it would be their sixth of the season. It would also make the Cajuns bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven years.