LAFAYETTE — The Ragin’ Cajuns spent much of the week going over the recent history of their series with Louisiana Tech, but the intended goal was never to make history repeat itself.
The Bulldogs demolished the Cajuns 48-20 on their home field to continue their recent dominance in the series. It was the Bulldogs’ seventh straight victory over the Cajuns, most of which have come in blowout fashion.
“We have a plan to win, and when you don’t follow that plan to win, you lose,” Hudspeth said. “It’s pretty simple, you’ve got to take care of the ball and you’ve got to cause turnovers, and we did neither. We had three turnovers and they had zero. ... That’s tough to overcome.”
Both teams started slow — but the fuse was lit for the Bulldogs offense, and it was just waiting to explode.
Pinned at his own 1-yard line late in the first quarter, Tech junior running back Kenneth Dixon faked out linebacker Trae Johnson in the hole, and a blown assignment left nothing but green grass in front of him.
He took off, beating cornerback Dominick Jones in a 99-yard race to the end zone. Dixon finished with 12 carries for 184 yards and a pair of scores.
“He’s a great runner,” Hudspeth said. “We talked about it all week.”
The Cajuns responded by showing off their own prowess running the football. Taking over at their own 20-yard line, the Cajuns marched 80 yards on 10 plays, nine of which came on the ground.
Senior quarterback Terrance Broadway rushed four times for 47 yards on the drive, and three of those rushing attempts picked up first downs. Alonzo Harris punched in a 6-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, keeping his legs churning to break through a few arm-tackle attempts.
It looked like the heavily favored Cajuns were ready to assert their dominance. But just the opposite happened. The Bulldogs found the big plays when they needed them.
After Harris was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-one from the Louisiana Tech 39-yard line, the Bulldogs took control. It started with a 19-yard completion from Tech quarterback Cody Sokol to Trent Taylor on third-and-12 midway through the second quarter.
That was the first of seven straight pass completions for Sokol, who gutted the Cajuns pass defense for 295 yards on the night. Sokol easily guided the Bulldogs downfield by targeting the soft middle of the Cajuns defense. After converting the second third down of the night, Sokol fired down the seam to Hunter Lee for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a lead they never relinquished.
When the Cajuns looked like they might be able to respond, forcing the Bulldogs into a third-and-long deep in their own territory late in the first half, Sokol dropped a perfect pass over Jones’ outstretched hands into Paul Turner’s mitts, and Turner turned on the jets.
The 55-yard gain set up a field goal with 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
Turner’s 55-yard grab and Dixon’s 99-yard run made up more than half of the Bulldogs’ 305 first-half yards. The big plays would continue in the second half. Any notion that the Cajuns would be able to turn it around in the second half were seriously tested when Corey Trim fell down while covering Sterling Griffin’s fly route down the sideline on the second play of the second half.
Sokol’s pass hit Griffin in stride, and Griffin took it 78 yards for a score in the beginning of a nightmare second half for the Cajuns, during which they were outscored 31-13.
The Cajuns gave up 533 total yards while their usually explosive offense couldn’t find the big plays — especially after senior receiver Jamal Robinson left the game in the second quarter with a left leg injury.
“This was a total team loss, starting with the head coach and filtering all the way down,” Hudspeth said.
Cajuns backup quarterback Brooks Haack threw a touchdown to Gabe Fuselier on the final play of the game to provide the final score.