ULL rolls past Arkansas State to take over top spot in Sun Belt
JONESBORO, Ark. — Louisiana-Lafayette can claim sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt Conference football standings after Tuesday night’s 23-7 win over Arkansas State at Liberty Bank Stadium.
UL-Lafayette (5-2, 3-0) finished the game with 470 yards of total offense while holding Arkansas State (3-4, 1-1-1) to 168, its lowest output of the season.
“For us, it was important because it was the next game. And now we are 3-0 in the conference but getting into the stretch run with still a lot of football to play,” UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth said. “But we’re the only team without a loss in the conference, so that gives us a little bit of a leg up, so no room for error. We have to make sure we continue to take this one game at a time, because this conference is deep with a lot of good teams.”
Terrance Broadway rebounded from last year’s five-turnover effort in a loss at home to Arkansas State by throwing for 205 yards on 18-of-28 passing with one touchdown.
“This one meant a lot. I can’t lie. I went home after the Arkansas State game last year and called my mom because I didn’t even know (what to think). I had gotten hit, like, 30 times and had a bruised sternum,” Broadway said on his determination to play hard against Arkansas State after last season debacle. “So I called my mom and was just like we need to pray for a decision. I thought about that all year, because I almost gave up on my team, and it haunted me. I always wanted to come back and play a great game against these guys and I’ve been looking forward to it for 365 days. It was a game that really meant a lot to me.”
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each went over the century mark on the ground for the Ragin’ Cajuns as McGuire ran just 10 times for 110 yards and Harris 29 times for 105.
“It says a lot about the guys up front when we have two guys getting yards and some other guys getting yards too. Those guys are doing a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage and playing awfully hard,” Hudspeth said. “Our coaching staff to me is doing a really good job of putting our guys in position to be successful. We just need to keep improving and keep the foot on the gas and hopefully we can continue having some success running the ball.”
The first half was all UL-Lafayette as the Ragin’ Cajuns built a 20-7 lead while racking up 271 yards of total offense and holding Arkansas State to 109 as UL-Lafayette ran 41 first half plays compared to 28 by the Red Wolves.
Alonzo Harris ran for two touchdowns and 38 yards on 13 first half carries to give him 26 career touchdowns to move him into sole possession of fourth all-time on the school’s career list as he passed Brandon Stokley’s 25.
Harris two touchdowns were the only two of the first half for UL-Lafayette both coming on 3-yard runs with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter and 10:44 on the clock in the second quarter that helped give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 17-0 lead after kicker Stephen Brauchle connected on a 36-yard field goal with 9:30 left in the first quarter that started the games scoring.
UL-Lafayette finally allowed Arkansas State on the scoreboard with 3:39 to play in the second quarter when Red Wolf senior quarterback Adam Kennedy ran in on a designed run from 3 yards out to cut the UL-Lafayette lead to 10 points, 17-7. The Ragin’ Cajuns set Arkansas State up with perfect field position when Broadway threw an interception into the hands of Arkansas State’s Rocky Hayes at the UL-Lafayette 39-yard line on a third-and-6 play.
“ASU is a very good football team,” Hudspeth said of the Red Wolves. “Coming into this game we knew it was going to be a war coming into their place. They’ve got a very good team, very sound and as you see it was still a close ball game. They were in the ball game but offensively we just kept getting first downs and running the ball and didn’t let them get the ball in the second half.”
Brauchle added a second first half field goal, this one coming from 38 yards away with 1:04 to play in the first half to give UL-Lafayette the 20-7 lead at halftime. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished the first half winning the time of possession 18:04 to 11:56 while also converting 6 of 10 third downs and their lone fourth down attempt.
Brauchle missed a 28-yard field goal with 6:57 to play in the third quarter after UL-Lafayette took the ball to open the second half and marched down the field running just over eight minutes off the game clock. After Arkansas State held the ball for only 1:34 on their ensuing drive, UL-Lafayette ran just over five more minutes off the third quarter clock before settling for a 30 yard field goal by Brauchle to give UL-Lafayette a 23-7 lead with three seconds remaining on the clock in the third.
UL-Lafayette held Arkansas State to only four plays and 15 yards of total offense in the third quarter. Neither team would score in the fourth.