Cajun Field expansion, upgrades on schedule

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Workers install the bleacher seating in the south end zone of Cajun Field Tuesday in Lafayette. Members of the media toured the new section of the field for the first time Tuesday.

Louisiana-Lafayette Athletic Director Scott Farmer gave the wood table under his lectern a solid knock Tuesday morning as he addressed media members gathered to see the new-look Cajun Field. “We’re five days away from the football team reporting and 32 days away from kickoff of the 2014 season,” Farmer said. “So it’s here. I hope you’re ready.” Yes, the construction is coming along as planned, and the stadium should be ready to… Continue reading →

Sun Belt commissioner expresses faith in ‘Power 5’

Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson speaks during the Sun Belt media day in New Orleans, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (AP Photo)

NEW ORLEANS — The Sun Belt Conference’s 11 institutions are prepared to pay more to remain part of major college football, Commissioner Karl Benson said. In his state-of-the-conference address during the league’s annual media day, Benson also expressed optimism that the five wealthiest conferences — often called the “power five” — would not insist on new rules which would unduly marginalize the other five NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision conferences. “We’ve shown that the competitive… Continue reading →

UL-Lafayette’s Christina Hamilton, St. Augustine’s Leonard Fournette win Corbett Award for amateur athletes

Advocate photo by Lee Celano - UL-Lafayette pitcher Christina Hamilton delivers a pitch against the Arizona Wildcats in the second inning of the Lafayette Super Regional on Saturday at Lamson Park in Lafayette.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette softball pitcher Christiana Hamilton, a senior from Leesville, and St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette were named the Corbett Award winners for 2014. Hamilton went 29-4 in leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to the Women’s College World Series. Nine of her victories came against ranked teams, including both games of a doubleheader against defending national champion Oklahoma. She was named a second-team All-American. “We’re so proud of Christina, it was really… Continue reading →

Hamilton wins Corbett Award

Advocate photo by Lee Celano -- UL-Lafayette pitcher Christina Hamilton shakes hands with catcher Lexie Elkins before the seventh inning against Arizona on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Christina Hamilton, the Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, has won the Corbett Award, the Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Wednesday. Hamilton compiled a 29-4 record during a record-setting year for the Ragin’ Cajuns. After posting a 22-1 record during the regular season, she picked up two more wins during UL-Lafayette’s postseason run to the Women’s College World Series. Nine of her victories came against ranked teams. UL-Lafayette, which was a No. 6… Continue reading →

Sun Belt media day: Coaches laud the Cajuns’ chances

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- UL-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth speaks during Sun Belt Conference media day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

The Sun Belt Conference’s football coaches aren’t ready to concede the title, but they certainly painted a Ragin’ Cajuns logo on the target Tuesday at the league’s media day. Louisiana-Lafayette was the unanimous pick in the preseason poll announced over the weekend, and the Cajuns’ status as runaway favorites for a second straight title — they shared last year’s with Arkansas State — was reinforced throughout Tuesday’s interview sessions. “They’ve got a lot of… Continue reading →

Lewis: Ragin’ Cajuns are mighty comfortable atop the Sun Belt

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- UL-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway speaks during Sun Belt Conference media day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

While all of the other Sun Belt Conference coaches in their media day interview sessions Tuesday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome sat at communal tables with a handful of chairs alongside, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Mark Hudspeth was at a head table facing several rows of chairs and at least a dozen TV cameras. With good reason. All of a sudden, the Ragin’ Cajuns have become the flagship program in the SBC — winners of three straight New Orleans Bowls,… Continue reading →

Sun Belt notes: Cajuns shrug at preseason accolades

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Louisiana-Lafayette running back Alonzo Harris speaks during Sun Belt Conference media day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

The preseason prognostications have been kind to UL-Lafayette. The Sun Belt Conference’s coaches unanimously tabbed the Cajuns to win the league. Eight Cajuns found their way onto the preseason all-Sun Belt first team, and two more made the second team. And senior quarterback Terrance Broadway was the pick as Offensive Player of the Year. That’s quite a haul, but those representing the Cajuns at Tuesday’s Sun Belt media day said… Continue reading →

Sun Belt media day: Four downs

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson speaks during media day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

1. GROUP OF FIVE The term “Group of Five” was quite popular Tuesday. It refers to the five mid-major conferences — the Sun Belt, Conference USA, Mountain West, American and Mid-American — that will compete for an automatic spot in one of the New Year’s Day “access” bowls as part of the new four-team College Football Playoff. It’s unlikely, but this could — depending on record and strength of schedule — put a… Continue reading →

Cajuns face adjustment as unabashed Sun Belt favorites

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth

They have become accustomed to the underdog role, and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Mark Hudspeth had his players relishing the “prove-them-wrong” role during his first two years as the Ragin’ Cajuns football coach. Even last year, his team still had to share top honors in the preseason coaches poll with state rival UL-Monroe. Now the question for the 2014 season: Can the Cajuns perform from the front of the pack? When the Sun Belt Conference holds its media day… Continue reading →

Sun Belt media day preview: Team capsules

Associated Press photo by Gerald Herbert -- Louisiana-Monroe coach Todd Berry

Appalachian State COACH: Scott Satterfield PLAYERS: Junior QB Kameron Bryant, senior DE Ronald Blair EASY TO ANSWER: Bryant completed 71 percent of his passes for 2,713 yards, and RB Marcus Cox ran for 1,250 yards and 15 scores last year, joining five returning offensive line starters. TOUGH TO SAY: App State’s defense was a work-in-progress last year, a big reason the 4-8 Mountaineers matched their lowest… Continue reading →

Sun Belt media day preview: Five questions, five answers

Advocate staff photo by BRAD KEMP -- Cajuns running back Elijah McGuire

Q: Can the Cajuns win the league outright? The league’s coaches and the major preseason magazines were unanimous that UL-Lafayette is the class of the league. The Cajuns have their main offensive weapons returning in quarterback Terrance Broadway and running backs Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire. The defense was improved last season and enters a second year under coordinator James Willis. The schedule helps, too: The Cajuns host… Continue reading →

New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame to laud Cajuns’ Tony Robichaux

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Louisiana-Lafayette baseball coach Tony Robichaux

The Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame has taken note of what Tony Robichaux has accomplished down Interstate 10. The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball coach is the hall’s outstanding college coach state-wide, it announced Monday with its other award winners for the 2013-14 sports year. Robichaux led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a school record 58 victories and a national seed in the NCAA tournament, falling just a win shy of the College World Series. He’ll… Continue reading →

Terrance Broadway named preseason Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  UL-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway audibles at the line of scrimmage during the Ragin' Cajuns' 24-21 win over Tulane in the New Orleans Bowl in December.

Add another line to Terrance Broadway’s résumé: The Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback on Monday was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year in balloting by the league’s coaches and select media representatives. Broadway, a senior who went to Capitol High School, completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 2,419 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2013. He added 442 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground while leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to a share of the… Continue reading →

Coaches pick UL-Lafayette to win Sun Belt

Associated Press file photo by BILL HABER -- Louisiana-Lafayette coach Mark Hudspeth holds the championship trophy after the Ragin' Cajuns beat Tulane 24-21 on Dec. 21 to win the New Orleans Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

It’s pretty clear which team the Sun Belt Conference’s coaches expect to be on top this fall. Louisiana-Lafayette claimed all 11 first-place votes in the preseason football coaches poll, announced Saturday. The Ragin’ Cajuns tied for the league title last year with Arkansas State, but the Cajuns (121 voting points) easily outdistanced the Red Wolves in the coaches’ eyes. Arkansas State (102 points) will look to grab a share of its fourth straight Sun Belt title.… Continue reading →

Ascension Catholic’s Delmond Landry commits to UL-Lafayette

Delmond Landry wasn’t sure what to expect when he was called into coach Mark Hudspeth’s office Saturday during Louisiana-Lafayette’s football camp. But soon the Ascension Catholic defensive lineman got a scholarship offer from Hudspeth — one he eagerly accepted. “We talked for a while,” Landry said, “and then (Hudspeth) offered me a scholarship and I accepted.” The 6-foot-4, 267-pound Landry earned all-metro and Class 1A all-state honors in football and basketball as a junior for ACHS. He finished… Continue reading →

New Cajun Field seating available for new season-ticket holders

LAFAYETTE — With enhancements coming to Cajun Field for the 2014 season, a pair of prime midfield seating areas for potential Louisiana-Lafayette football season-ticket holders are now available. Seats in Sections P and Q on the east side of Cajun Field are available for $150. All seats purchased as season tickets come with complimentary chairbacks. Season-ticket packages start for as low as $110 for a six-game slate that features dates against in-state… Continue reading →

Trio of Louisiana backs named to Doak Walker Award watch list

LSU’s Terrence Magee, Louisiana-Lafayette’s Alonzo Harris and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon were named to the Doak Walker Award watch list announced Thursday. The award is presented annually to the nation’s top college running back. Last season, Magee rushed for 626 yards and eight touchdowns with six receptions for 49 yards and two kickoff returns for 45 yards. Harris earned first-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors last season after finishing third in the league with a career-best… Continue reading →

Elfrid Payton’s finding his place with the Magic

The Orlando Magic's Elfrid Payton drives around the Houston Rockets' Nick Johnson during an NBA summer league game in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, July 7, 2014. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

In the weeks leading up to last month’s NBA draft, no player’s stock rose more dramatically than Elfid Payton’s. At the start of the college season, Payton’s name couldn’t be found on any draft boards, let alone in the first round. But as he led Louisiana-Lafayette to the NCAA tournament, averaging 19 points, nearly six assists and two steals, experts and executives alike began paying more attention to the impossibly long, 6-foot-3 point guard… Continue reading →

Louisiana-Lafayette’s Mark Hudspeth brings message to prep coaches

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette head  football coach Mark Hudspeth speaks at the LHSCA Coaches Clinic Wednesday at the Crown Plaza hotel.

Like his program, University of Louisiana at Lafayette football coach Mark Hudspeth has moved up in the world. A year after speaking to an overflow crowd in a smaller meeting room, Hudspeth had no problem filling a larger one with enthusiasm and energy at the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Coaches Clinic on Wednesday afternoon. Not all seats were filled in the Crowne Plaza’s Premier I ballroom, but that didn’t keep Hudspeth from getting… Continue reading →

Cajuns’ Terrance Broadway on Davey O’Brien watch list

Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Terrance Broadway (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

FORT WORTH, Texas — Louisiana-Lafayette senior quarterback Terrance Broadway was one of 39 players named Wednesday to the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award watch list. Broadway, a former Capitol High standout, is the fifth Ragin’ Cajun this summer to appear on a preseason watch list, joining Daniel Quave (Lombardi), Mykhael Quave (Lombardi), Justin Hamilton (Lombardi), Dominique Tovell (Lombardi) and Jamal Robinson (Biletnikoff). In helping the Cajuns to a 9-4 record, the Sun Belt Conference championship… Continue reading →

Ragin’ Cajuns’ Jamal Robinson on Biletnikoff watch list

Advocate photo by BRAD KEMP -- Louisiana-Lafayette wide receiver Jamal Robinson looks for running room after making a catch as Louisiana-Monroe cornerback Vincent Eddie closes in last season at Cajun Field in Lafayette.

Louisiana-Lafayette receiver Jamal Robinson, of Slidell, and Louisiana-Monroe receiver Rashon Ceaser, of Clinton, were named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list, the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, Inc., announced Tuesday. The award, which will be revealed Dec. 11 on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN, annually recognizes the most outstanding receiver in college football. Brandin Cooks, the New Orleans Saints’ first-round draft pick in May, won the award last season while playing for Oregon State. The… Continue reading →

Jonathan Lucroy rides consistency to spot as NL All-Star starter

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

MILWAUKEE — It was six days before the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and Jonathan Lucroy was receiving a well-deserved break from the starting lineup. But the Milwaukee Brewers catcher stuck with his regular routine and arrived to work plenty early before his team faces the Philadelphia Phillies. As he jogged up the dugout steps at Miller Park to head to the outfield and shag fly balls during batting practice, he stopped in his… Continue reading →

Four Cajuns on Lombardi Award watch list

Four UL-Lafayette football players — offensive linemen Daniel Quave and Mykhael Quave, defensive lineman Justin Hamilton and linebacker Dominque Tovell — were among 123 athletes from 76 universities named Monday to the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list. Daniel Quave, a 6-foot-3, 324-pound senior, earned second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2013 after starting all 13 games at right guard and extending his streak to 39 consecutive starts. He helped pave the way for one of the top… Continue reading →

Four Ragin' Cajuns named to Lombardi Award watch list

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  UL-Lafayette offensive linesman Mykhael Quave (70) and UL-Lafayette defensive lineman Brandon McCray (96)celebrate with UL-Lafayette defensive lineman Christian Ringo (92) after a tying field goal by Tulane kicker Cairo Santos (19) was wide-left, ensuring  UL-Lafayette's victory over Tulane in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Saturday in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

Four players on the Louisiana-Lafayette football team were among 123 athletes from 76 universities named on Monday to the 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. The Ragin’ Cajuns were offensive linemen Daniel Quave and Mykhael Quave, defensive lineman Justin Hamilton and linebacker Dominque Tovell. Daniel Quave, a 6-foot-3, 324-pound senior, earned second-team All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2013 after starting all 13 games at right guard for the Ragin’ Cajuns and extending his streak to 39… Continue reading →

Former Cajun Payton likes what he sees in Orlando

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ -- UL-Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton holds a giant picture of himself over his face during the net-cutting ceremony after his team defeated Georgia State 82-81 in overtime in the final of the Sun Belt tournament at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on Sunday, March 16, 2014.

LAFAYETTE — Maybe one day Elfrid Payton will get to Disney World. But for now, whatever he does in Orlando, Florida, will pertain to basketball. Payton, the former Louisiana-Lafayette point guard who was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 10th pick of Thursday night’s NBA draft, then quickly traded to the Orlando Magic, was back in Lafayette on Monday to discuss his pro career. His new… Continue reading →

Port Allen lineman Marcus Keyes commits to Louisiana-Lafayette

Finding a place that feels like home when you’re away from home is a challenge for many high school seniors seeking the right college. Port Allen High offensive lineman Marcus Keyes considers himself to be one of the lucky ones. That’s why the 6-foot-5, 260-pound senior-to-be committed to Louisiana-Lafayette on Monday. “When I visited there, I felt at home right away,” Keyes said. “I liked the school and the facilities, but I really like the coaches. They’re the… Continue reading →

Elfrid Payton headed for defensive-minded Magic

From left, Magic draft picks Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon and Roy Devyn Marble attend a news conference introducing them Friday, June 27, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. — When Aaron Gordon was selected for the U.S. Under-19 basketball team last summer, he chose to wear No. 32 as a nod to Magic Johnson, whom Gordon mimicked as a kid growing up in Northern California. But now Gordon is a freshly minted NBA player himself. He’s the cornerstone of the Orlando Magic draft class, and the fourth overall pick isn’t thinking about childhood idols or anybody else who may have… Continue reading →