LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette football coach Mark Hudspeth liked what he saw Tuesday night in the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 34-10 win at Texas State.
After a closer look, he liked it even more.
“I was really proud after going back and watching the film,” Hudspeth said at his weekly press gathering Thursday. “I felt like we did a lot of good things, but when we broke it down, we played very sound and within the scheme of things we were trying to accomplish.”
The Cajuns, who are 2-0 in Sun Belt play entering Tuesday’s 7 p.m. matchup with visiting Arkansas State, had season highs in rushing (288 yards) and total offense (528) against the Bobcats. UL-Lafayette held TSU under 200 yards until the final two minutes — after the Bobcats entered Tuesday averaging just under 500 yards per game.
“Really pleased, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Hudspeth said. “Everybody did their jobs, from getting more pressure on the quarterback, that enabled us to get them in some long yardage situations, and when we did that our secondary and linebackers did a better job in coverage.”
Hudspeth also praised the offensive front. In addition to his 225 passing yards (14 of 21), Terrance Broadway ran the read option to near perfection with a 113-yard rushing performance — his first 100-yard game since the 2012 New Orleans Bowl win over East Carolina. Running backs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire added 79 and 64 yards — McGuire’s coming on only eight carries.
“They really set the tone,” Hudspeth said. “When you have three guys that close to 100 yards, it’s more about those guys up front that had a solid night.”
And now for the good news
On the heels of his announcement that receiver Jamal Robinson and running back Torrey Pierce will miss the rest of the season with injuries, Hudspeth had positive news on other Cajuns personnel.
Quarterback Jalen Nixon and linebacker Tremaine LIghtfoot have been cleared to play the season’s final six games, and both are likely to be on the dress-out roster for Tuesday’s game.
Nixon, a Carencro product who saw significant playing time in December’s New Orleans Bowl win, had been put on indefinite suspension June 16 for an unspecified violation of team rules. At the time, he was expected to miss all of 2014, but he remained on scholarship and continued to practice with the squad.
“He’ll travel as that No. 3 guy,” Hudspeth said. “(Backup Brooks Haack) has been very effective in the last few weeks. Jalen is a guy that can hurt you with his legs and, if we need to, we can utilize him in some packages.”
Lightfoot, a highly regarded prospect out of Patterson High two years ago, redshirted in 2012 and missed last season with injury problems. He also had been indefinitely suspended for rules violations.
“They’ll be a nice shot in the arm moving forward,” Hudspeth said.
Hudspeth said he’s waiting for a final eligibility decision on defensive lineman Blain Winston, another 2012 signee who redshirted that year and played in five games last season.
A few hiccups
Hudspeth said his biggest concerns from Tuesday’s game came on special teams, where a bad snap led to a missed field goal by Hunter Stover and normally solid punter Daniel Cadona had a 16-yard punt from deep in UL-Lafayette territory.
“I was disappointed in some snaps,” he said. “We’ll get that cleaned up as we move forward.”
Stover came back to hit from 19 and 32 yards in the fourth quarter and is now 6-of-8 this year; his misses are from 46 and 51 yards. Cadona finished Tuesday with a 33.5-yard average with a 54-yarder; he downed his other two kicks at the TSU 12 and 13.
Cadona still ranks second in the Sun Belt and 18th nationally with his 44.5-yard net punting average.
Special ticket rates for UL-Lafayette faculty and staff members and local youth football leagues are available for Tuesday’s game.
General admission tickets for all UL-Lafayette faculty and staff members, plus one guest, are available for $10 with a valid university ID. Tickets for area youth football players who are wearing their game jersey are also available for $10. All youth league football players will be allowed on the sideline between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
For more information, contact the Cajundome ticket office at (337) 265-2100.