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UL-Monroe quarterback Caleb Evans breaks a tackle by UL-Lafayette linebacker Chaizier Malbrue on Sept. 23 at Cajun Field in Lafayette.

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK

Coming off a 47-3 blowout loss at Arkansas State, it would be easy for Louisiana-Lafayette to place the majority of the blame on the defense.

While the defense had its share of issues slowing down the Red Wolves, Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth wasn’t ready to put all of blame there.

The defense, which has struggled much of the year, had been playing better leading up the Oct. 19 contest in Jonesboro, Arkansas. They seemed to be heading in the right direction after giving up just seven points to Texas State and 16 to Idaho.

Before that, the Cajuns defense had given up no less than 45 points in their first four games of the season.

“I liked what I saw leading up to the Arkansas State game," Hudspeth said. "We had made so much progress leading up to that game.

"Hopefully, we can get back to playing like we were the prior two weeks. We've got to continue getting better, but I really expect our defense to really pick up and play well.”

After more than two weeks off, the Cajuns (3-4, 2-2 Sun Belt) get that chance at 3 p.m. Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, as they face South Alabama (3-5, 2-2).

If the Cajuns defense is to bounce back, they'll do so against a Sun Belt opponent ranked ninth in the league at 22.9 points per game. South Alabama’s offense is expected to be led by junior Dallas Davis.

“I think the quarterback, Dallas Davis, he was tough last year,” Hudspeth said. "He does a really good job of running that offense."

While the defense had been trending in the right direction before the Arkansas State loss, the Cajuns offense seems to be stuck in a rut.

“Offensively we were not competitive at all,” Hudspeth said of the Arkansas State game. “(The Cajuns defense) got the big turnover when it was 14-3, at the (ASU) 25. We're at the 25-yard line and we didn't score. If you score there, it's 14-10. Tthe momentum swings back our way.”

Hudspeth is hoping quarterback Jordan Davis can jump-start a sluggish offense averaging 16 points over ithe past three outings.

“(Jordan) looks like his old self, at least moving around," Hudspeth said. "I think he's 100 percent right now, this is the first time he's really been that way (since Week 3)."

If Davis can return to form, the Cajuns are hoping the offense can do the same and be set for a late-season run in the Sun Belt. Over the first four games of the season, UL-Lafayette averaged 41 points per outing.