The Cajuns were cautiously optimistic about the status of left tackle Mykhael Quave after he was injured late on an extra point attempt against Arkansas State.
They received the official good news Friday.
Results of an MRI on Quave’s right knee came back negative according to a text message from a school official, meaning he did not sustain a significant injury. Quave’s knee will still likely take some time to feel 100 percent, as Hudspeth intimated Thursday that Quave’s injury may have simply been a “bruise.”
The Cajuns took exception to how Quave sustained his injury. Arkansas State cornerback Frankie Jackson, a high school teammate of quarterback Terrance Broadway’s, went low on Quave on an extra point attempt following Elijah McGuire’s game-sealing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
There was less than a minute left in a game that was well in hand, and the Cajuns thought the low hit on Quave was unnecessary.
Quave was on crutches after the game, but with a 10-day break between Tuesday’s win and next Saturday’s home game against South Alabama, the Cajuns anticipate he’ll be ready to play.
A preseason First Team All-Sun Belt Conference player, Quave has started in 33 consecutive games.
Nixon use was planned
One surprise contributor in last week’s win was quarterback Jalen Nixon, who was suspended from participating in games until the week leading up to the Arkansas State game.
Nixon, who was able to practice with the team, was suspended indefinitely in June for an undisclosed violation of team rules. But he was reinstated after the Cajuns win against Texas State, and offensive coordinator Jay Johnson immediately made him a part of the game plan.
“We just wanted to run him on the field and mix things up a little bit,” coach Mark Hudspeth said.
Nixon subbed in for starter Terrance Broadway on two separate plays, and he carried the ball both times, gaining nine yards. Hudspeth and Johnson like Nixon’s mobility, but he’s not a one-trick pony.
“We’ve got some things that we may incorporate with him in the passing game,” Hudspeth said.
But the Cajuns aren’t handing the backup quarterback reigns to Nixon in place of Brooks Haack, who has completed 87 percent of his passes in spot duty as Broadway’s No. 2. Rather, they’re going to use the pair situationally as the season goes on.
“It wasn’t a deal of choosing him over Brooks,” Hudspeth said. “We could’ve ran Brooks, but Brooks is obviously a better thrower and Jalen’s a better runner.”
Nixon played his high school ball at Carencro.
Up for a rule change
Hudspeth wouldn’t be opposed to changing the rule that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown run for Arkansas State last week. In fact, he might bring it up himself.
“That’s something that probably could be looked at after the season and we may bring that up in the national meetings,” Hudspeth said.
Here’s what happened: Arkansas State running back Michael Gordon was tackled, but he landed on top of his offensive lineman and never touched the ground. His momentum and forward progress were stopped, but the referee never blew the whistle. Gordon got up and ran the rest of the way for a score, leaving confused Cajun defenders in his wake.
Hudspeth had no issue with the referees saying Gordon never touched the ground —after getting a chance to look at the play on film, Hudspeth agreed that was probably the case — but everything else associated with the play didn’t seem to add up.
“To me, the defense is somewhat getting penalized for making a good play,” Hudspeth said. “We come up and make a big play right there, I think it’s going to be third and long. … But, you know, forward progress is stopped. They’ve got people running on the field, we’ve got people running on the field. Both teams have stopped.”
The main issue for Hudspeth was that his players were in a lose-lose situation.
“I guarantee you, if we had one more guy come barreling in there, we would’ve got a 15-yard flag for unsportsmanlike conduct or a late hit,” Hudspeth said. “So what do you tell your guys? Because the guy is down. Do you come and pile on? Or do you stop?”