LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette turned to their spark plug to ignite an offense that was becoming stagnate.
And when Elijah McGuire didn’t fire on the first attempt, the Cajuns kept going back to him.
Early in the second quarter of the Cajuns’ 34-10 win against Texas State, it looked as if the Bobcats were starting to figure out how to defend the Cajuns’ offensive game plan.
With downfield threat Jamal Robinson having left the game in the first quarter, the Bobcats started bringing heat on quarterback Terrance Broadway and the Cajuns couldn’t sustain a long drive. They needed someone to make a play to open things back up.
“When Jamal went down, somebody had to have it in their head, ‘I’ve got to step up,’ ” McGuire said.
That’s why senior quarterback Broadway didn’t hesitate to get verbal with McGuire after he dropped an easy catch in the flat on the Cajuns’ first drive of the second quarter. The drop set up a third-and-long, and Broadway was sacked the next play.
“Eli is like my little brother, so I got on him a little bit after he dropped that flat route,” Broadway said. “He looked at me and told me, ‘Next play, I’ve got you.’ ”
On the first play of the next drive, Broadway looked McGuire’s way on a deep route down the sideline. The pass was underthrown, but McGuire made an adjustment while the ball was in the air and made an excellent catch for a 21-yard gain.
Two plays later, perhaps with the defense suddenly on its heels, McGuire took a handoff from Broadway and faked a couple of Bobcats defenders out of their shoes on a 36-yard run down to the 1-yard line to set up an Alonzo Harris touchdown.
McGuire more than made up for his lapse in concentration on the previous drive.
“He’s a guy who learns from his mistakes, and he looks to make bigger plays if he missed one play,” Broadway said.
With Robinson’s status for next week’s game undecided, at least publicly, McGuire’s ability as a downfield receiver might come in handy again. Though now that it’s on film, the Cajuns might have to go another route.
“Having Elijah be able to go deep on the sidelines is big for us,” Broadway said. “Teams are going to be looking to stop it now, so we’ve got to come up with something. I believe in our offensive staff and we have another seven days to come up with another great gameplan.”
He has their number
Broadway probably wouldn’t mind another shot against Texas State.
In two career games against the Bobcats, Broadway completed 74 percent of his passes for 585 yards and five touchdowns. Broadway also tallied his first 100-yard rushing game since the 2012 New Orleans Bowl against East Carolina.
After struggling earlier this season, Broadway has turned things around in the last two weeks, both of which resulted in Cajuns wins. Broadway’s two highest individual game passer ratings each came in the last two weeks.
It didn’t factor in the final outcome, but the Cajuns specialists had a couple of forgettable moments in the special teams department Tuesday night.
Kicker Hunter Stover was called for a penalty for starting his kicking motion before the snap. It didn’t matter, because Stover hooked his 46-yard attempt wide left. The snap came in low, but holder Jake Guidry did a nice job getting the ball down.
Cajuns punter Daniel Cadona is having a fine season, ranking in the top 20 nationally in punting average, but he had a rare mistake Tuesday night that cost the Cajuns.
Punting out of his own end zone, Cadona shanked one off the side of his foot.
The punt traveled just 16 yards before it went out of bounds, allowing the Bobcats to get on the board with a field goal despite being held to 23 yards on the drive.
Both Cadona and Stover recovered from their gaffes. Stover made his next two field goal attempts and Cadona’s other three punts were up to his usual high standards.