LAFAYETTE — A narrow victory over Georgia State on Saturday did not decide a winner in the Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback derby.
Brooks Haack and Jalen Nixon will see action Thursday night when the Ragin’ Cajuns visit South Alabama.
“They both will play this week,” coach Mark Hudspeth said. “I thought Brooks managed the game well. We didn’t score a lot of points. We only scored 16 offensive points, and we were 3-of-14 on third down. I don’t think that necessarily nailed down the starting spot for the remainder of the year. Right now, I would say Brooks would start, but Jalen will definitely get some playing time again this week.”
Haack completed 18 of 25 passes for 162 yards and a score against the Panthers. Nixon was 0-for-2 with an interception during the Cajuns’ third offensive series.
“We did have that scripted for Jalen to come in on the third series of the game,” Hudspeth said. “After going back and watching the game, I wish I would have given him some more series and some more opportunities rather than just the one series. When he threw the interception, I probably got cold feet to put him back in. But we really didn’t give him a chance to do what he does best, which is run the ball. That was not good on our part of not allowing him to utilize his strengths.”
Power of a punt block
The Cajuns received not only a boost on the scoreboard against Georgia State when Travis Crawford blocked a punt in the first quarter that resulted in a Montrel Carter recovery for a touchdown, but they also obtained some extra energy.
“That lights up the whole team and gives us more confidence to have points on the board on a blocked kick,” wide receiver Al Riles said.
The benefit turned out to be more tangible in the field position battle.
“Anytime you have a team that really comes after a punt — after we got that first punt block — then we got a shanked punt from Georgia State,” Hudspeth said. “You tend to have a couple of guys who have a knack for getting there. They may not be as fast as others, but they have that knack.”
That short punt was a 28-yard effort by Wil Lutz early in the second quarter.
The odds of the Cajuns trying any tricks in the punt game with Australian freshman Steven Coutts seem to be low, though.
“Coutts asked me, ‘Do I have the option to run on a fake punt?’ ” Hudspeth said with a grin. “I said, ‘If you run and you don’t make it, keep running to Australia. If you can’t run ... swim.’ ”
A tough 20
South Alabama linebacker Blake Dees set a school record with 20 tackles (10 solo and 10 assists) in the Jaguars’ 52-45 victory over Idaho on Saturday. It was an eye-opening effort for the Cajuns to see on film.
“If you get 20 tackles, you are all over the field,” Hudspeth said. “He is getting to the football, and you have to give him credit for getting to the ball that much.”