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UL tight end Neal Johnson (87) celebrates a touchdown with teammates during the Cajuns' 42-14 road win over Liberty on Saturday.

The No. 23-ranked UL Ragin’ Cajuns are ever so close to hosting the Sun Belt Conference championship game against Appalachian State on Dec. 4.

But there’s one week left to take care of before that, with the UL-Monroe Warhawks coming to town for senior day at Cajun Field.

“We’ve turned the page really quickly this time of the year,” UL coach Billy Napier said at his weekly news conference. “We don’t spend much time on the previous game. We kind of speed that up and turn our attention to a ULM crew that has got some fight about them.”

Of course, Monday isn’t too late to review what took place two days previously.

Two Cajuns — outside linebacker Chauncey Manac and special teams standout Dalen Cambre — earned Sun Belt Conference player of the week honors.

Manac became just the fourth player this year with four sacks in a game to claim the league’s top weekly honor, while Cambre was the special teams honoree after picking up a fumble and returning it 26 yards for a touchdown during the Cajuns’ 42-14 road win over Liberty on Saturday.

The win over the Flames extended the Cajuns’ school-record winning streak to 10 games heading into Saturday’s 3 p.m. ESPNU contest with UL-Monroe.

“I thought we were in the right frame of mind,” Napier said. “I think the game was highlighted by an exceptional performance on defense. We really got after the quarterback and made him very uncomfortable by affecting him a lot of different ways.”

Napier said the first thing to make clear is to forget about last year’s 70-20 road win over the Warhawks.

“The ULM team that we played against last year and we observed last year was a little bit of an outlier in my opinion,” he said. “They had quite a bit internal issues with the university, the administration and certainly COVID-19 hit them a little differently than some others. But prior to that, ULM was a very respected team. I can’t say that loudly enough.

“In ‘18, ‘19, they were playing for bowl eligibility at the end of the season.”

In Napier's first two seasons with the Cajuns, UL benefited from late ULM field goal misses to survive 31-30 in 2019 and 31-28 three seasons ago. In fact, ULM beat the Cajuns 56-50 in double overtime the year before Napier’s arrival.

ULM is 4-7 in coach Terry Bowden’s first year as head coach with wins over Troy 29-16, Liberty 31-28 and South Alabama 41-31. On Saturday, the Warhawks lost 27-14 at LSU.

“I just respect the effort that I see on the tape,” Napier said. “Sometimes when you’re a four-win team, you see the effort get compromised as the season goes.”

In addition to the Cajuns' seniors who will be honored Saturday, it may very well be the final home regular-season game coached by Napier at Cajun Field.

Numerous reports have Napier on the short list of potential coaching jobs at places such as Florida, LSU and Virginia Tech.

"Certainly a lot on the line for this group of seniors and I think a lot of loyalty from the rest of the team to this group that’s been leading them and has a lot to do with our ability to get to where we are today," Napier said. "I think it’s going to be a pretty emotional day for a lot of those guys."


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.