LAFAYETTE — Ohio University announced a home-and-home series with UL-Lafayette on Tuesday, with games happening in 2019 and 2021.
The first game will be Sept. 21, 2019, in Athens, Ohio, and the second game will be Sept. 18, 2021, at Cajun Field.
The games meet the preferred guidelines laid out by Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson in August, when he said he wants to see his member schools schedule more games against peer institutions, meaning teams from the other so-called “Group of Five” conferences.
UL-Lafayette athletic director Scott Farmer said that played a role in the school’s decision to schedule games with Ohio.
This is the second series in the last decade between the two teams, as they also played in 2007 and 2010. The Bobcats won each of those two meetings.
The familiarity played a small part in the two schools deciding to meet again, though neither Farmer nor coach Mark Hudspeth were in their current positions the last time the schools met.
“We had a great time. It was a good trip,” Farmer said. “They treated us very well. Their fans were good. I’m sure that all plays something into it. But the bottom line, is they’re a good program, they have a legendary coach (Frank Solich) and I think it was a good home-and-home for us.”
This means two non-conference opponents on the 2019 schedule are known at this time, with Ohio joining American Athletic Conference member Tulsa. Both games will be played in September.
The Cajuns also have nonconference games scheduled against Boise State, McNeese State, Tulane and Georgia next season, as well as a trip to Texas A&M in 2017.
Boise State is the only team among that group that agreed to a home-and-home, with the first leg of that series completed last season.
“Home and homes are hard to get, they really are,” Farmer said. “For us to get a home and home with a Conference USA school or a Mid-American school, I think that’s a good home-and-home.”
With this week all but certainly serving as the last week with his football team this season, coach Mark Hudspeth is treating it as if it were a bowl week and giving the developmental players extra reps after cutting the veteran players loose early.
“We’ll keep these guys after every practice (this week), so they’ll get four extra days of work,” Hudspeth said. “One good thing about the Sun Belt schedule, we play a week later than most people. So we’re getting an extra week of preparation, which is good.”
“With as many injuries as we’ve had, to be honest with you, most of them have had bowl preparation the whole year,” Hudspeth said. “Our whole (second-team) offensive line during practice is developmental guys — Robert Hunt, Ken Marks, all those guys. ... So they have really had their progress expedited by extra reps.”
Scout no more
One notable Cajun was missing from the scout team defense at Tuesday’s practice.
Simeon Thomas, who missed the majority of the year while dealing with an academic eligibility issue and decided not to play this season to have two remaining years of eligibility, was back working with the first and second-team defensive units.
“I gave him the last three weeks of the year to sort of get back to learning how to practice like a starter, so he rotated in against the ones and twos, getting a few snaps a day,” Hudspeth said.