On one hand, Hudspeth really doesn’t want to talk about anything other than this week’s regular-season home finale against Louisiana-Monroe at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
On the other hand, he can understand and appreciate the excitement of fans, who have waited more than 40 years to see their team return to postseason play.
“As a football coach, I don’t like to talk about it with our team. And we don’t; we don’t mention it, and don’t bring it up because we’re trying to prepare for this next game,” he said. “This next game against Monroe is a bowl for us; it’s a big game. It’s an in-state rivalry, it’s here and it’s our last home football game. There’s a lot riding on it.”
But then again. …
“It’s not a bad thing when all your fans are fired up and wanting to go to a bowl and making reservations,” he said. “Obviously, that’s a good sign: That you’re winning football games, and your fan base is excited.
“You certainly don’t want to curtail that at all.”
The Cajuns (7-2, 5-1 Sun Belt Conference) are coming off a surprisingly easy 45-20 at Middle Tennessee and, in the process, all but guaranteed themselves a slot in one of the two bowls who have tie-ins with the SBC: the New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 17 and the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 8 in Mobile, Ala.
So confident that the Cajuns will go bowling, the school announced Monday that fans can begin reserving tickets for a bowl appearance immediately. They can do so online (RaginCajuns.com) or at the school’s box offices at M.L. “Tigue’’ Moore Field or the Cajundome.
A nonrefundable, $30 deposit per ticket that goes directly toward the ticket purchase is required to reserve a seat. Once an official bowl invitation is extended, fans will be contacted to finalize their purchase.
“Reserving and purchasing your tickets through the Ragin’ Cajuns ticket office benefits our program in a number of ways,” athletic director Scott Farmer said. “It allows the university to establish a history of having fans travel to bowl games, and the money spent for those tickets stays with the Ragin’ Cajuns, enabling us to offset bowl game expenses.”
For Hudspeth and the Cajuns, talk of bowl games is a sign they have earned the respect they’ve sought.
“I definitely feel like we’ve got people’s respect (now),” Hudspeth said. “I think any time you take a team that was picked to be 116 or 120 in the country and at one point we were No. 32 in the BCS poll, I think we have opened some eyes, that’s for sure.”
Two Cajuns, freshman RB Alonzo Harris and senior CB Melvin White were named SBC offensive and defensive players of the week Monday. Harris rushed for a career-best 189 yards and two touchdowns (third most by a freshman in school history), while White had seven solo tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. … ULL’s seven wins are its most since going 8-3 in 1993 and sharing the Big West Conference title. There have been only two other seven-win seasons the past 30 years: 1989 and ’82. … The series between ULL and ULM (2-6, 1-3) is tied at 23-all. … The game will be televised by the Sun Belt Network.