LEXINGTON, Ky. — The last time Torrey Pierce and Jamal Robinson suited up for UL-Lafayette, their seasons were cut short against Texas State.
Robinson broke his foot in the game, and Pierce suffered an undisclosed lower leg injury. Both looked solid in their first action back in a Cajuns uniform Saturday against Kentucky.
And surprisingly, Pierce made the biggest splash of any Cajuns player.
The second-team running back, who had just two carries for 3 yards in the first half, was a nightmare for the Wildcats in the second half. He ignited a Cajuns comeback by gashing the Kentucky defense for a career-long 56-yard touchdown in the third quarter that made it a two-score game.
Coach Mark Hudspeth rode the hot hand on the ensuing drive, and Pierce repaid him by streaking through the middle of the Kentucky defense again, this time juking a defender out of his shoes on the way to a 26-yard touchdown run.
Pierce finished the game with a career-high 110 yards and two TDs on just 10 carries.
Robinson was featured heavily early in the game when the Cajuns were throwing the ball more, and he finished with six catches for 61 yards.
The Cajuns targeted him deep down the sideline on the first play of the game, and though he wasn’t able to make an impact down the field, he looked like he was close to being the game-breaking type of player he was before the injury.
The Cajuns unveiled the “Lafayette Strong” helmet decals they will wear this season as a way of remembering those affected by the shooting at the Grand Theater in July.
The decal is shaped like Louisiana and is colored to mimic the Acadiana flag. Below the decal, in script, are the words “Lafayette Strong.”
Hudspeth said at his team’s media day last month that his team would wear the decals throughout the season.
Kentucky’s newly renovated Commonwealth Stadium experienced some technical difficulties right off the bat.
The game clock kept running after the opening kickoff, requiring officials to record the time manually. Periodically, the officials announced the game time over their microphones.
The scoreboard clock finally came back online during the first quarter.
The Wildcats spent $120 million to renovate their stadium in the offseason.
Darzil Washington left the game during the first quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Junior receiver Al Riles also left the game with a shoulder injury in the second quarter, and he also did not return.
The Cajuns’ captains for the first game of the season were seniors Mykhael Quave, Dominique Tovell, Chris Prater and Octravian Anderson.
For road games, the Cajuns will typically choose players from the state they’re playing in to represent them as captains. The Cajuns do not have a Kentucky native on their roster.