This is where the schedule gets complicated. The Cajuns (3-2, 1-0) don’t play for 11 days until an Oct. 15 game on ESPN2 at Western Kentucky (4-2, 1-1). WKU, in its first season under Bobby Petrino, defeated the University of Louisiana at Monroe 31-10 Thursday night. Like the Cajuns, WKU does not play again until Oct. 15. UL-Lafayette plays another weeknight game Oct. 22 at Arkansas State (also on ESPN2) and doesn’t play after that until Nov. 2 for homecoming against New Mexico State. Five days after the NMSU contest, the Cajuns are back at home for an Oct. 7 contest with Troy.
Louisiana-Lafayette won its Sun Belt Conference opener Saturday night at Cajun Field by defeating Texas State 48-24. The Cajuns jumped on Texas State (3-2, 0-1) early, leading 28-3 at halftime. After scoring 17 more in the third quarter, UL-Lafayette rested the starters for the last 18 minutes. Texas State entered the game with momentum after defeating Wyoming 42-21 on Sept. 28. The Cajuns had an open date, and afterward some of the players said they thought the open date was advantageous since they felt rested and eager to play a game.
Once again, UL-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway performed well. The junior, who played at Capitol High, threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns. He experienced no interceptions for any of his 23 passing attempts.
The other key performer offensively was junior wide receiver Jamal Robinson, who caught four passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. One of Robinson’s catches was a 53-yard touchdown pass in which he beat a one-on-one defender down the sideline and caught an over-the-shoulder throw from Broadway. Defensively, the main contributors were middle linebacker Justin Anderson and the ‘will’ linebacker Chris Hill. Anderson had a team-leading nine tackles, while Hill had eight. Six of Hill’s tackles were solo efforts.
“This was a home game which is most important to us; we protected the house. It was a conference game, and our kids really came to play.”
UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth
“We started out fast last year, beating Troy. Now we have to be consistent. We didn’t do that last year. We need to go into these weeks playing Western Kentucky and Arkansas State on these Tuesday night games and do what we do and practice how we practice.”
UL-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway
KEEP AN EYE ON
Although he didn’t start, freshman cornerback Simeon Thomas made his debut as a Cajun during the second half of the Texas State game. Thomas recorded only two tackles Saturday night, but the freshman from Miami, Fla., moved quickly up the depth chart during August practices. Thomas did not play during the Cajuns’ first four games because of academic issues that were being examined by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Thomas received approval, and his eligibility was validated by the NCAA two weeks ago, but he did not see action in the Cajuns’ win at Akron Sept. 21.
Hudspeth took the blame for two long second half kickoff returns by Texas State return man Brandon Smith. In the third quarter, Smith returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. With 7:27 remaining in the game, Smith returned another 100 yards to set a Cajun Field record for the number of kickoff returns for a touchdown in a single game. Hudspeth said ULL was leading 45-3 at the time of Smith’s first TD return, and the Cajuns had substituted new players into the game in order to provide them with playing time. ... Hudspeth also said he probably made mistakes last year at this time when the Cajuns had a similar scheduling situation with two straight Tuesday night contests at North Texas and at home against Arkansas State. The Cajuns lost both games, and Hudspeth said looking back on the situation, he probably practiced the team too hard leading up to both games. Hudspeth said he came away with that impression after noticing his players’ legs seemed tired and sluggish.