LAFAYETTE — For the most part, Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth was happy with the film from the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 55-40 win against Arkansas State.
But there were a couple things that weren’t so nice to see, even if they weren’t exactly under the Cajuns control, including the hit that injured left tackle Mykhael Quave on the Cajuns’ final extra point.
Hudspeth will leave judgment to the Sun Belt Conference office.
“The thing of concern was the hit on Michael’s knee on the last extra point,” Hudspeth said Thursday. “That has been sent in and (the SBC office) will handle it how they see fit.”
Quave was on crutches after the game, but Hudspeth sounded hopeful Quave might be able to return sooner rather than later.
“We’re hoping he’s going to be OK,” Hudspeth said. “All preliminary observations seem to think he’s going to be OK, maybe just a bruise. That would be very big for our program if he’s able to return.”
The other thing that caught Hudspeth’s attention was Arkansas State running back Michael Gordon’s 70-yard touchdown run. On the run, Gordon fell on top of one of his offensive lineman, but never touched the ground. His momentum had stopped, but when the whistle never blew, he got up and ran for the end zone.
Hudspeth wasn’t up for debating whether the referees should have blown the whistle after Gordon’s progress was stopped, he was more concerned with the penalty the referees missed. Hudspeth saw during the play the Red Wolves had too many people on the field, and the film confirmed his original gripe.
“Even if he did not touch the ground and scored, they still should’ve brought it back with the penalty assessed for having 12 men on the field,” Hudspeth said. “That was the thing that I was most upset about on the sideline, and it proved to be true.”
Senior running back Alonzo Harris ran for his first 100-yard game of the season, and he made sure to give credit where it was due after the game.
“Those yards wouldn’t have been made without those beautiful guys up front — got to make them feel good, yes I said beautiful,” Harris said. “We have this camaraderie, it’s just awesome. They do what we do, we do what we do, we come as one.”
Hudspeth made sure to point out that the Cajuns are undefeated when Harris runs for 100 yards, which they are (10-0), but he doesn’t need to get that far. The Cajuns also have a perfect 16-0 record when Harris rushes for at least 75 yards.
But he needs to hit that magic number. Harris has rushed for 74 yards in a game twice in his career, including this season against Louisiana Tech. The Cajuns have lost both of those games.
Harris needed 27 carries to get his 107 yards Tuesday, which is nine more than he’s had in any other game this season and four shy of his career high.
“I was dog tired after that last series,” Harris said.
Hudspeth was impressed by the bounce-back game Daniel Cadona had against Arkansas State. The senior punter boomed six punts for 270 yards (45-yard average) against the Red Wolves, five of which landed inside the 20-yard line.
Cadona also booted a monster of a 59-yarder.
“I thought Daniel Cadona really controlled the game,” Hudspeth said. “He flipped the field quite a few times. … Just an incredible night with his rugby punts.”
Cadona’s 44.8 yard average ranks inside the top-20 nationally.
Hudspeth chose an interesting way to reveal the special alternate uniforms to his team Tuesday.
He said he’d keep the design a secret from his players until it was time for them to get in their uniforms. Harris said he knew something was up when Hudspeth stopped the team outside the locker room after the Cajun Walk.
“He said, ‘This is how big-time programs do it,’ ” Harris said. “We walked in, they had neon lights and stuff going, flashing on our jerseys, and the locker room went bananas. I think we looked good tonight, and if you look good you play good.”
Get well soon
With a room full of his peers listening, coaches took the opportunity to poke a little fun at sideline reporter Steve Peloquin, who suffered a sprained shoulder ligament and a frayed bicep after the game when a couple Arkansas State players inadvertently bumped into him on the field and knocked him to the ground.
Hudspeth jokingly called it “the biggest injury that we have to overcome” and said Peloquin might have to spend some quality time with Cajuns strength coach Rusty Whitt in “the pit,” where injured Cajuns players go through exercises when they can’t practice with the rest of the team.
Women’s basketball coach Gary Brodhead opened up his news conference talking about his team’s injuries, but he couldn’t resist taking a jab at Peloquin, either.
“Man, that’s the biggest loss we’ve had so far,” Brodhead said about Peloquin, who does play-by-play for women’s games. “Lucky we’ve got a little bit of time for him to recover.”