MONROE — For the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the time for redemption also meant taking time off the clock.
ULL used its rushing attack to consume 40 minutes and 35 seconds and 234 yards Saturday to erase a two-game losing streak. The Cajuns handed Sun Belt Conference leader University of Louisiana at Monroe its first league loss of the season, 40-24, at Malone Stadium.
The Cajuns ran 49 times against ULM’s conference-leading run defense.
Three of ULL’s touchdown drives consumed over six minutes, something the ULL defense appreciated, said Cajuns defensive end Christian Ringo.
“Those were 40 minutes that the defense was kept off its feet and allowed us to sustain some energy. When (ULL) had that 99-yard drive (17 plays, 9:33), the defense was saying for the clock to keep ticking,” Ringo said.
The loss for ULM (6-3,4-1) was also costly in other ways. Quarterback Kolton Browning, the league’s total offense leader, left the game with a foot injury. Ringo rolled up on Browning’s foot during a first-quarter play.
Browning wore a protective boot by game’s end and his injury will be evaluated at a later date, ULM officials said.
ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said the win was pivotal for the Cajuns (5-3-3-2).
“I could not be any prouder of this team than I was tonight,” Hudspeth said. “I was proud of the way we rebounded from the last couple of weeks. Our guys never gave up on themselves and we showed that by beating a very good (ULM) football team.”
Hudspeth complimented sophomore quarterback Terrance Broadway, who made the sixth start of his career after two games where the Cajuns combined for six turnovers.
“I thought Terrance was determined to come out here to play much better and he did the lasts two games and he did just that,” Hudspeth said.
Broadway rushed for 87 yards and 14 carries in addition to throwing for 373. Four of Broadway’s 23 completions went for touchdowns, including an 81-yard pass to Jamal Robinson on the game’s final play.
ULM coach Todd Berry said he wasn’t exactly pleased with the Cajuns’ play selection at the end.
“I don’t like the last play, because I’m sure that it was not necessarily driven by the call,” Berry said.
Broadway, a former Capitol High standout, praised his offensive line.
“I was happy our offensive line had a real good game,” Broadway said. “We’ve been pushing the last few weeks. We hadn’t rushed for over 100 yards in the past few weeks, so it was good for us to just go out and run the football.”
ULL running back Torrey Pierce, who didn’t start, gained 72 on 13 carries. Alonzo Harris had 81 on 16 attempts.
Robinson, taking the place of injured starter Javone Lawson (broken forearm) caught three passes sfor 153 yards and two touchdowns, while Harry Peoples caught six for 74.
The Warhawks, who led the league in total offense, rushed for 74 yards and passed for 333.
Cody Wells took over for Browning and completed 18-of-31 for 209 yards, but he was intercepted twice, including once on the ULL 15 with 1:45 left in the game. Browning threw for 124 in the first quarter.
ULL took a 7-0 lead with 7:55 left in the first quarter when Harris ran for 12 yards. Broadway rushed for 24 and passed for another 44 on the drive.
Browning put ULM in the end zone just three seconds later with an 81-yard TD pass to receiver Tavarese Maye.
The Warhawks took a 10-7 lead at the end of the period when kicker Justin Manton, who played at St. Amant, kicked a 23-yard field goal.
ULL took the lead for good early in the second quarter when Broadway and Robinson connected on a 52-yard touchdown.
Then the Cajuns scored another TD at the 6:46 mark when Broadway threw to Peoples, who caught the ball in the middle of the secondary and fought into the end zone to cap a 13-play, 86-yard drive.
In the second half ULL controlled the ball for 23 minutes and took a 34-17 lead on Broadway’s 8-yard run and his 1-yard throw to tight end Jacob Maxwell that ended a 17-play, 99-yard drive with 5:47 left in the game.
Wells threw for his second touchdown with 4:30 remaining on a 22-yard throw to wide receiver Brent Leonard.