Editor’s note: The Ragin’ Cajuns’ 18-man senior class is the winningest in school history with 35 wins and counting. Each day this week leading up to Saturday’s game vs. Appalachian State, The Advocate takes a look back at the career of one senior.
LAFAYETTE — Perhaps the person who best understands the significance of playing his final game on the turf at Cajun Field is the man who has spent the most time on it.
Right guard Daniel Quave’s final game at Cajun Field will mark his 50th consecutive start, a testament to both the Mississippi native’s durability at a position where aches, pains and injuries are commonplace and to his team’s level of success.
“You get so caught up preparing for each game, week-in, week-out, that you kind of lose thought of it and how special it is,” he said. “But now, hearing 50, it’s kind of blowing my mind because it really only feels like I’ve played five.”
That’s the thing about time: Its passage goes unnoticed until it starts to become short.
So when Quave takes the field for the final time, this time with more family than his younger brother and starting left tackle Mykhael at his side, he knows the moment might be too much for him to bottle up.
“I’ll probably be tearing up before (my mother), to be honest,” Quave said.
He’ll save the tears for Saturday, though, along with thinking about everything he and the rest of the Cajuns’ 18 seniors have accomplished with their suddenly fleeting time. To do otherwise would be to turn his back on what has enabled the group to achieve so much in that span.
If anything, his thoughts might drift to last season, when the previous winningest senior class closed its regular season with two straight losses. Quave doesn’t want to go out that way.
“I haven’t given it much thought,” he said. “I’m just focusing on Appalachian State right now. I don’t want to end how the last year’s senior class ended. I’m just giving thought to the game.”
But regardless of how much time and energy is spent on focusing on the opponent, Quave’s thoughts will inevitably be caught up in the moment. It’ll likely hit as he walks out of the tunnel one final time, reflecting on all the other times he has performed that exact routine, reflecting on the pieces of him that will forever remain.
“It can be emotional, because you really left a lot of blood, sweat and tears here,” Quave said. “To know that the time is coming to an end, it’s like a part of you is always going to be here for the better.
“To know I’ve sacrificed so much for the program and the university is really a humbling experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”