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Football – Breaking the ice: UL rolls in home opener

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • September 21, 2008

Desperately searching for its first win of the season, UL once again turned to quarterback Mike Desormeaux and running back Tyrell Fenroy.

The senior duo delivered in a big way in Saturday’s Herbert Heymann Football Classic, as the Ragin’ Cajuns set a school record with 667 yards in a 44-27 win over Kent State at Cajun Field.

"I think you have to start it off with the offensive coordinator (Ron Hudson)," Fenroy said. "He called a good game. They (State) were on their toes the whole game.

"They didn’t know who was getting the ball."

The ball usually went to Fenroy or Desormeaux, as the Cajuns ran for 414 yards.

Fenroy set career marks for all-purpose yards (262) and rushing yards (194) and tied a personal best with three touchdown runs. One week after becoming the program’s all-time leading rusher, he also set the school record for career combined rushing and receiving yards.

Desormeaux accounted for 403 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-high 253 yards and one score in the air, before 18,241 fans in UL’s home opener.

After taking a 23-14 halftime lead, the Cajuns saw State (1-3) trim its deficit to 23-21 on its first drive of the second half. The Cajuns (1-2) responded by scoring 21 of the game’s final 27 points to put away the game.

"What you want to do when you get the ball in the second half is take it down and score, and that’s what Kent did," UL coach Rickey Bustle said. "But I was really pleased that our offense came back and scored a couple of times.

"They answered that challenge."

The Cajuns actually made the game’s first mistake. Early in the first quarter, Desormeaux lost a fumble that was recovered by State’s David Filippi at the Golden Flashes 11-yard line.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Edelman kept the ball and froze UL linebacker Antwyne Zanders with a juke move. Edelman bounced around the right side and slipped into the end zone to give the Golden Flashes a 7-0 lead with 11:11 left in the opening quarter.

Desormeaux and Fenroy served as the catalysts for the Cajuns.

Fenroy’s 65-yard screen pass from Desormeaux helped set up Drew Edmiston’s 20-yard field goal for UL’s first points of the night.

After a State punt, Desormeaux opened the drive with a 35-yard pass to Pierre Hill. On the next play, Fenroy ran for 27 yards and later capped the series with a 5-yard scoring run to put the Cajuns up 10-7 in the closing seconds of the opening quarter.

The Golden Flashes retook the lead at 14-10 with six minutes left in the second period when UL cornerback Dwight Bentley got beat deep. Edelman connected with State wide receiver Shawn Bayes, hauled in a 42-yard bomb for the score.

That’s when the Cajuns roared back.

Desormeaux scored on a 5-yard run with four minutes before halftime as UL took its first lead of the night. On the second play of UL’s next series, Fenroy slipped out of three tackles and scampered 69 yards for the end zone. The 36-second scoring drive gave the Cajuns a 23-14 lead.

State cut its deficit to 23-21 early in the third quarter on Edelman’s 6-yard TD run.

But Desormeaux answered by hitting tight end Ladarius Green across the middle for a 55-yard scoring pass. Wide receiver Jason Chery took on option pitch around the left side for a 47-yard TD run, giving the Cajuns a 37-21 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Cajuns never looked back.

"It took a while," Bustle said. "I want to hand it to Kent. They battled us, and we battled them. We finally made some plays there in the third quarter that made the difference."

State played without running back Eugene Jarvis, the nation’s leading returning rusher after running for 1,669 yards last season, and saw quarterback Julian Edelman put on a one-man show. The California native gained 217 of his team’s 396 yards and accounted for three touchdowns.

"We weren’t really worried about how we matched up with them," UL cornerback Orkeys Auriene said. "We were just worrying about how good we were going to play."

Desormeaux expressed his relief after win. After opening the season with a 51-21 loss at Southern Miss, the Cajuns came up just short in a 20-17 loss at Illinois in Week 2.

"It is so relieving," Desormeaux said. "We have had so many guys that have worked so hard. You have to be happy for everyone on this team. Our coaches have been giving it everything they have got since they have been here, and we finally had the players matching their intensity.

"It feels so good, you really can’t put it into words."

Click here for The Advertiser photo galleryies of UL vs. Kent State:

http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=DG&Dato=20080920&Kategori=NEWS01&Lopenr=809200805&Ref=PH

http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=DG&Dato=20080920&Kategori=NEWS01&Lopenr=809210801&Ref=PH