LAFAYETTE — Here we go again.
Will the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have at least another week of a starting quarterback competition on its hands? The short answer from coach Mark Hudspeth: “For me, they’re still competing.”
But the long reason for the short answer is that game film showed both Brooks Haack and Jalen Nixon played well against Kentucky.
Nixon entered a few times early in the game to run the read option in short yardage situations, and he was successful on each occasion. He was then given the reins to the offense late in the second half, and he provided the spark the Cajuns were seeking.
Kentucky looked powerless against the read option with Nixon running the show. They weren’t able to simply key on the Cajuns running backs, and Nixon also showed off a better-than-expected throwing arm, completing all four of his passes.
He rambled 23 yards untouched on one read-option play for a score to tie the game at 33 on his final play of the evening.
“I thought with Nixon coming in, it was a good changeup at the right time. He was able to manufacture some drives, and he ran the ball extremely well,” Hudspeth said.
While Nixon may have played well enough to force the quarterback conversation to continue, starter Haack played well enough not to outright lose the job after Nixon shined.
The Cajuns moved the ball well with Haack behind center, but they couldn’t find a way to punch the ball into the end zone outside of a second-quarter rushing touchdown from Haack that came on another read-option keeper.
“Brooks didn’t get as much help. Al (Riles) had a drop, Jamal (Robinson) had a drop and then a fumble when we got down to the 7-yard line,” Hudspeth said. “He didn’t get as much help as Jalen did, but at the end of the day, we only had seven points at that time, and that’s why we went with Nixon.
“Both graded really well, and it’ll be interesting moving forward. We’ll have to sort of see what the game plan calls for and who has a good week of practice.”
The Cajuns will be forced to play the next several weeks without one of their most dynamic pass rushers, linebacker Darzil Washington, Hudspeth said Monday.
“We will not have him for a few weeks,” Hudspeth said. “It could be as short as three or as many as six.”
Washington was one of three key upperclassmen to leave the Kentucky game early and not return. Hudspeth said he won’t know more about the status of receiver Riles and linebacker Jacoby Briscoe until later in the week, but he guessed they’d be questionable for this weekend’s game against Northwestern State.
Hudspeth also did not have an update on Simeon Thomas, who missed the season opener because of academic eligibility issues.
One to keep an eye out on: Part of the reason Nixon didn’t enter the game for the Cajuns final series against the Wildcats was because of a shoulder injury he suffered during the game.
“Jalen was a little banged up,” Hudspeth said during his Monday teleconference. “He had a little shoulder sprain, so we just didn’t know if he would be able to effectively throw it downfield as far as we would’ve liked for him to do.”
Chanticleers FCS’ new No. 1
Future Sun Belt Conference member Coastal Carolina ascended to the top of the FCS Coaches Poll after North Dakota State lost to Montana last week.
Coastal Carolina was previously ranked No. 2. The Chanticleers will join the Sun Belt before next season but will not compete in football until 2017.