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Football: Cajuns safety Thomas hopes to match last season’s performance

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, December 19, 2014



UL Ragin’ Cajuns cornerback Sean Thomas (24) is recognized during a Senior Day presentation Nov. 22 at Cajun Field. (Photo: Paul Kieu/The Advertiser)



It was his first season as a starter, and his first season starting in the New Orleans Bowl as well.

He was playing in the Superdome, and he was playing in his hometown.

So when UL safety Sean Thomas did what he did in UL’s 2013 bowl win over Tulane, he couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed.

“To walk away with two interceptions from last year’s game,” he said, “that was really something big — and it was something emotional.

“To come home and have a big game, when everybody’s watching you, and just to put on like I did, it was a blessing first,” added Thomas, a product of St. Augustine High in New Orleans. “And it gave me confidence.”

Thomas’ first interception against the Green Wave came off a deep throw by Ryan Grant, and he returned it 21 yards to the UL 27-yard line. Six plays later, Alonzo Harris ran in from 15 yards out to help put the Ragin’ Cajuns up 14-0.

Flash forward to the fourth quarter.

Tulane and UL were tied 21-21, and after a Daniel Cadona punt downed at the 3 the Green Wave faced a long field.

Devin Powell threw over the middle on Tulane’s first play of the possession, and Thomas picked it at the 28 as he went down to the field.

“I was like, ‘Man,’” he said.

“That’s when the game (was) close. My man Ringo (UL defensive lineman Christian Ringo), he hit the quarterback, and I just made the play.

“I told him (Ringo), “If he gets back there …’ I tell the d-line; we talk about it all the time: Between Ringo and Juice (Cajuns defensive lineman Justin Hamilton), if y’all get back there I’ll do my job,” Thomas added. “And they (say) the same.”

Thomas definitely did his that day.

So did cornerback Corey Trim, who returned UL’s first pick of the bowl 82 yards for a touchdown.

A penalty put UL at the 13 after Thomas’ second interception, and after three plays produced just 3 yards Hunter Stover connected on a 27-yard field goal that stood up as the game-winner with just under 10 minutes remaining.

“That topped it off,” Thomas said.

Now the question is if the senior can top it again today, when 8-4 UL faces 7-5 Nevada in this morning’s New Orleans Bowl.

It will be the fourth straight New Orleans Bowl for Thomas, and after also beating San Diego State in 2011 and East Carolina in 2012 the Cajuns will be going for their fourth consecutive postseason win.

“It’s a blessing,” Thomas said. “I got remembered for that last year, so I’ve got to do something special again.”