LAFAYETTE — Mark Hudspeth said he’s taking an old coach’s advice in the wake of his University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s streak-ending 42-23 loss to Western Kentucky Saturday.
“An old coach once said ‘never let a team beat you twice,’ and so we’ve got to put this game behind us and make sure it doesn’t do that,” Hudspeth said Monday.
The loss was a stunning one for the Cajuns (6-2, 4-1 Sun Belt Conference), who had won six straight games after a season-opening loss to No. 3 Oklahoma State. The streak was the school’s best since 1993.
Now, the Cajuns find themselves in second place in the SBC standings, a half-game behind leader Arkansas State (3-0) and a half-game ahead of third-place Western Kentucky (3-1). Five other teams have two league losses.
Hudspeth, whose team is already bowl-eligible, said while they are disappointed, there is no time for the Cajuns to dwell on what happened or didn’t happen in Kentucky. And he let them know it immediately after the game.
“I told them, basically, to take it like a man,” he said of his postgame speech. “(I told them) ‘Hey, we got our rear ends handed to us; they came out and beat us. No reason to act all upset or all mad. Accept it like a man, and now come back and go to work like a man.
“It’s time to put that game behind us.”
The Cajuns certainly will need to do that if they hope to continue what had become a special season. They face a critical stretch as the regular season winds to a close.
This Saturday, they hit the road once again, traveling to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee (2-4, 1-2). They return home Nov. 5 to play Louisiana-Monroe (2-5, 1-2) and then travel to Arkansas State on Nov. 12 to play at Arkansas State (5-2, 3-0).
They finish the regular season Nov. 26 at Arizona.
Although Hudspeth said the Cajuns will approach this game and the other remaining games just as they have the eight games thus far, what may be different, he said, is that the Cajuns will be carrying the ‘chip on their shoulders,’ they had when their six-game winning streak began.
“We’ve got a lot of character, a lot of class and a group that believes in one another,” Hudspeth said. “We always talk to one another about holding on to that rope, and right now we have a lot of guys who aren’t about to let go of that rope.”
Hudspeth said he has challenged everyone from the team managers to players and coaches alike to bounce back and continue what they started in September.
“You don’t have to hold onto the rope when everything is going great, but you find out a lot about yourselves and your people when you face a little bit of adversity,” he said. “Our guys, right now, have got their claws really wrapped around that rope and are ready to hang on.”
Hudspeth said K Hunter Stover is out for this week’s game and maybe the season after suffering a knee injury at WKU. Two other players who were injured in that game, RB Qyendarius Griffin and long snapper Matt Rosenbalm, are expected to be back this weekend, he said. … One year ago the Cajuns were 2-6 after eight games. This year, they are 6-2. … Freshman LB Jake Molbert had a game-high 10 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, at WKU. … Of the Cajuns’ Sunday practice, Hudspeth said: “They worked like they were getting ready to play in the Super Bowl.”