LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette football team’s mantra of “protecting the house” might be more endangered than usual when Texas State visits Cajun Field at 6 p.m. Saturday.
ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said he expects the Bobcats will be more than prepared to tear down the house in a game that doubles as an historic moment in the 106-year history of Texas State football.
Texas State (3-1) is playing its first game as a member of the Sun Belt Conference during its second season in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“I know that Texas State is going to come over here, trying to make a statement,” Hudspeth said. “I think that is just going to add to this game. Texas State is planning to bring a large crowd and their band, and I think that we quite possibly could have the largest crowd in school history if all of our fans turn out.”
Since Hudspeth’s first season in 2011, the Cajuns have lost only once in 12 games at Cajun Field. Although this is the Bobcats’ first conference game as an FBS member, Hudspeth said the school has been preparing for the step beyond the Southland Conference.
Two years ago, Texas State hired former Alabama and Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, who has upgraded the program in anticipation of the challenges ahead. Texas State is playing with a large number of Division I and junior college transfers, some of whom are making an impact.
“You look at how they have gone about it, and you see that they have been putting the pieces of this program together for more than the last two months,” Hudspeth said. “It’s been a process and I think a great start.”
ULL (2-2) had an open date last Saturday after defeating Akron on the road Sept. 20, Last week, Texas State defeated visiting Wyoming 42-21.
In that game, the Bobcats used Tyler Jones, a true freshman, at quarterback. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 196 yards, finishing with 252 total yards of offense.
“I think they may have found the quarterback they wanted in their last game,” Hudspeth said. “From what I see, (Jones) can run and throw, and he has a good grasp of that offense.”
Hudspeth said the extra week of rest helped ULL junior quarterback Terrance Broadway, who suffered an ankle sprain at Akron. Hudspeth said Broadway should be “98 percent ready” for kickoff. If that’s not the case, the Cajuns are prepared to use Brooks Haack or D’Shaie Landor — both redshirt freshmen.
The backups had a highly competitive spring and preseason battle for the No. 2 position, which eventually went to Haack.
Broadway has not missed a snap due to injury this season. In four games, he has thrown for 818 yards and six touchdowns. He has had four of his 108 passes intercepted.
The Cajuns offense faces a Texas State defense ranked third nationally in stopping the run (62.5 yards per game). ULL averages 218 yards on the ground. Hudspeth said the former statistic might be deceiving since the Bobcats have faced several teams with an inclination for throwing the ball.
Hudspeth also said his defense is making progress after a difficult start.
“I think we are at a point with our defense where we’ve got our guys in the right places, especially in the secondary,” he said. “Are we there yet? No, we aren’t, but we are making progress. We are at the point where we are seeing our playmakers making plays.”