LAFAYETTE — Similar circumstances Saturday at Cajun Field dictated the appearances of two opposing quarterbacks making second college career starts after beginning their football careers at Baton Rouge high schools.
The situations facing Terrance Broadway and D.J. Ponder as starters were also comparable, since they were predictably exploited by opposing defenses attempting to combine confusion with inexperience.
For Broadway, who quarterbacked the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to a 41-13 homecoming win over Tulane, it was the surprise of facing a Green Wave defense that featured a variety of zone defenses instead of the man coverage he expected.
Ponder, a Tulane senior, said afterward he didn’t anticipate the active nature of a ULL defensive line, eager to blitz.
In high school, Broadway played at Capitol High, while Ponder quarterbacked at Catholic High.
Broadway, a sophomore who transferred to ULL after playing some as a University of Houston freshman, was taking the place of senior Blaine Gautier, whose throwing hand injuries prevented him from starting.
The start by Ponder was his second straight after quarterbacks Ryan Griffin and Devin Powell were injured in Tulane’s first three games.
Broadway said he and the ULL coaches were forced to make the necessary adjustments for a Cajuns offense that scored just three points in the first quarter.
“We were preparing for (Tulane) to go man the whole game,” Broadway said. “Nothing we can say about it. I am proud of the offense for making the adjustment.”
Broadway passed for 150 yards after completing 9 of 22 attempts. In the first quarter facing Tulane’s surprise on defense, he was 2 of 7 for 31.
“We started out slow in the first couple of drives, because we had to get adjusted to what they were doing,” Broadway said. “Actually, I was not nervous. I just wanted to get into the groove of things. With the game plan changing, we just went back to fundamentals.”
Part of Broadway’s salvation was wide receiver Javone Lawson, who caught four passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
A preseason Sun Belt Conference selection, Lawson, a senior from New Orleans, had 16 catches for 161 yards before the start of Saturday’s game.
“You saw tonight what (Lawson) can do,” Broadway said.
ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said it took a couple of series to decipher Tulane’s defensive looks.
“We were playing against something totally different,” Hudspeth said. “They played zone coverage to keep us in front.”
The Cajuns, Hudspeth said, began using their rush to help open the passing game.
ULL rushed for 294 and averaged 5.5 yards per run.
“You hope it will open up play action if you run the ball effectively,” Hudspeth said.
Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said Ponder was noticeably bothered early by the Cajuns’ pass rush.
Ponder was 4 of 10 for 22 yards in the first quarter. He finished with 173 passing yards for a touchdown but had two interceptions and a lost fumble.
“We just tried to get him settled down and run some plays that he was familiar with and that he could be a little more accurate with,” Johnson said. “I don’t think we made the throws we needed to make at the beginning, even thought we had some guys open.
“But (Ponder) is just starting. He’s been playing baseball all year, and coming into a situation like this is just tough.”
Ponder said the defensive line pressure from ULL needed attention from the coaches.
“That was kind of an issue early, and then we got it straightened out with the protection,” Ponder said. “I think we started getting the hang of it really, by the end of the first quarter.”
Ponder completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to receiver Justyn Shackleford in the second quarter.
“It was just a stick route,” Ponder said. “We saw on film that their corner was real aggressive with his eyes inside, so we went to Shackleford, who just slipped outside of (the cornerback) and just went straight downfield and made a nice catch and a great run.”
ULL linebacker Justin Anderson returned a Ponder interception 38 yards for a second quarter touchdown.
“All interceptions are frustrating,” Ponder said. “The fact that it was returned for a touchdown makes it even more frustrating. It was a good play call, given the situation. We had a run on; we killed it with a pass. I should have just thrown it into the flat.”
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved