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Football: Cajun seniors to be honored

Football: Cajun seniors to be honored

Football: Cajun seniors to be honored

Dan McDonald

They are the first class that’s played an entire career under University of Louisiana head coach Rickey Bustle, and those 13 seniors will wrap up their regular-season home careers Saturday when the Ragin’ Cajuns welcome Florida International.

The baker’s dozen will be honored prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff at Cajun Field, but that group is less concerned about pregame ceremonies and more concerned about getting a landmark win. A victory Saturday would give the seniors their first five-win campaign, and keep alive hopes for a Sun Belt Conference title and a berth in a New Orleans Bowl that will be played at Cajun Field.

"We have so many great seniors that have been through a lot of tough times," said UL offensive coordinator Rob Christophel. "They’ve all worked hard as individuals to make our team better. I’m happy they’re finally able to enjoy some success."

This year’s senior group has gone 3-9, 4-8 and 4-7 in the last three seasons and take a 4-5 mark into Saturday’s game.

The balanced group of six offensive players, six defenders and one kicker includes seven four-year lettermen – kicker Sean Comiskey, safety Terryl Fenton, center Greg Hodges, defensive end Eugene Kwarteng, running back Dwight Lindon, wide receiver Bill Sampy and deep snapper Justin Venable.

The rest of the senior group includes offensive guard Justin Ernest, safety Julian Harris, defensive tackles Mike Moore and Curtis Isaac, fullback Booker Jenkins and linebacker Tyler Norman.

Running back Chester Johnson, who suffered a separated shoulder in the season opener against Texas, is listed as a senior but has applied for an NCAA injury hardship waiver to play next season. Johnson played in 33 games over the past three seasons.

n NO RUNNING JOKE: Even without Johnson, the Cajuns’ ground success has been a major surprise. UL ranks ninth nationally in team rushing this week (238.4 yards/game), and freshman running back Tyrell Fenroy ranks 53rd individually (82.4 yards/game).

"I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a team that’s running the ball as well as we are and as consistent as we are," Christophel said. "We’ve got two quarterbacks (Jerry Babb and Michael Desormeaux) that can run the ball, and that helps."

n TRAVEL QUESTIONS: Just like Central Florida and Florida Atlantic did earlier this year, Florida International will now fly into Lafayette on the day of the game.

Hotel rooms across South Louisiana are still at a premium in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, both with relocated evacuees and individuals and companies involved in relief and reconstruction areas. Because of that, FIU will fly in Saturday and depart immediately after the game.

"This will be a tough situation," said FIU coach Don Strock. "I understand the circumstances behind all of that, obviously, so I guess we’ll just have to look at this as another first for our program."

n IT COULD MEAN SOMETHING: The last regular-season football game to be played in the Sun Belt this year has now been moved back two more days.

Middle Tennessee’s game at FIU, originally shifted from Oct. 29 due to Hurricane Wilma and tentatively slotted for Thursday, Dec. 1, will now be played on Saturday, Dec. 3 at FIU’s on-campus stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (CST), according to an announcement from FIU Thursday.

Depending on results of games over the next three Saturdays, that late game could have an impact on the Sun Belt race and the selection for the New Orleans Bowl. Middle Tennessee (2-2) has three league games left, hosting UL Monroe Saturday and traveling to Troy one week before the FIU finale.


NCAA Division I-A Rushing Leaders

Team G Yds. Avg./G

1. Minnesota 9 2623 291.4

2. Navy 8 2253 281.6

3. Texas 9 2507 278.6

4. Memphis 8 2198 274.7

5. Arkansas 8 2015 251.9

6. USC 9 2245 249.4

7. Air Force 10 2434 243.4

8. California 9 2189 243.2

9. Louisiana 9 2146 238.4

10. W. Virginia 8 1834 229.3

Originally published November 11, 2005