LAFAYETTE — Call it mission accomplished.
At least that’s the way Mark Hudspeth felt after his Louisiana-Lafayette football team defeated Florida International 48-20 at Cajun Field on Saturday night, claiming the Sun Belt Conference lead in the process.
Hudspeth said ULL (3-1, 2-0) played with a purpose against FIU (1-4, 0-1) — a team picked in the preseason by coaches to win the conference title.
The Cajuns, Hudspeth said, wanted to prove they were better than the team that lost 65-24 at Oklahoma State on Sept. 15.
After an open date and 10 practice days, Hudspeth said his players achieved that objective.
“(FIU) came in and played a wounded team that was eager to show that it was a lot better than the way it played in the previous game. It was great to see a team that was on a two-week mission to make sure that it did not happen again,” Hudspeth said.
“We beat the team picked to win the Sun Belt Conference and who played very well. The outcome just says a lot about the character of this team. This team took it personal. I think we finally put it together offensively, and in order to do that, you have to have a backup quarterback and not miss a beat on a snap.”
Hudspeth’s allusion to his backup quarterback was former Capitol High standout Terrance Broadway.
For the second time in as many conference games, the Cajuns finished a victory without its starting quarterback.
Senior starter Blaine Gautier left the FIU game late in the first quarter with a hand injury after he was hit late by a Panthers lineman.
In ULL’s win over Troy three weeks ago, Gautier went to the sideline with injured ribs after scoring a first-half touchdown.
Broadway, in both games, took over for Gautier and helped the Cajuns hold a lead.
Broadway threw for 225 yards, ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another against FIU, after Gautier left and watched from the sidelines with his left throwing hand taped.
Hudspeth was quick to indicate that Broadway has the ability to run ULL’s offense.
“Our team has a lot of confidence in Terrance also,” Hudspeth said. “We’re not going to change what we’re doing when he’s in there. Both Blaine and Terrance have a good handle on what we are trying to do.”
Broadway said he just continued to move the Cajuns the same way Gautier did at the start.
“Blaine did a great job of starting off fast, and what Blaine started, I finished,” Broadway said.
Like Hudspeth, Broadway said the Cajuns were a team determined to set the record straight about their direction.
“This win means a lot,” Broadway said. “The coaches brought it to us (after the OSU loss), and we brought it to each other.”
Broadway said that although he usually doesn’t receive as many practice snaps as Gautier, the mental approach to the game is still there.
“I didn’t feel uncomfortable out there,” he said. “I’ve been taking the same approach I always have. On Mondays and Wednesdays, when I don’t have early class, I come in and watch film and then I keep on working with our receivers,” Broadway said.
Hudspeth also had compliments for redshirt freshman running back Effrem Reed.
The former Dutchtown standout rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown, while alternating with starter Alonzo Harris.
“(Reed) has a little more lateral movement, and he made some nice cuts and finished some runs,” Hudspeth said. “That’s what you’re looking for in a back, someone that can turn zero into two and three into five, while rolling back the pile.”
The Cajuns remain at home for Saturday’s 4 p.m. homecoming game with winless Tulane. The Green Wave (0-4) lost their game against Louisiana-Monroe 63-10 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Because of injuries, Tulane was down to its third-string quarterback, D.J. Ponder, who played at Catholic High.
Tulane managed just 151 yards of offense against ULM, another Sun Belt team.
Hudspeth said Gautier’s injury will be evaluated by Monday at the latest. After the game, Hudspeth refused to speculate on the severity of the injury to Gautier’s throwing hand.
Although Gautier is a left-handed thrower and Broadway is right-handed, Hudspeth said that blocking schemes do not change for either player.
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