Football: Haack comes through big in relief role
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, October 5, 2014
UL running back Elijah McGuire (15) evades Georgia State Panthers safety Tarris Batiste (3) before scoring a rushing touchdown during Saturday’s win. (Photo: Paul Kieu/The Advertiser)
He didn’t play in UL’s previous game, a loss at Boise State. He didn’t play in the one before all that, either, a blowout loss at nationally ranked Ole Miss.
But redshirt sophomore backup quarterback Brooks Haack was ready when called on in a pinch anyway Saturday night, coming in for a final fourth-quarter UL offensive drive and helping to rally the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 34-31 win over Georgia State at Cajun Field.
Haack came in because starter Terrance Broadway was out with cramps, and went 4-for-4 for 50 yards on the drive with completions to slot receiver Al Riles on a shovel pass for 7 yards, to tight end Larry Pettis over the middle for 18 yards, to Alonzo Harris in the left flat for 3 yards and to Riles for a 22-yard gain.
"He does it every day at practice," senior receiver Jamal Robinson said. "Throws good balls, accurate. Good arm power. I just had faith in him to come in and make plays for us."
Robinson wasn’t alone.
"Brooks Haack, he’s a very confident guy," senior running back Alonzo Harris said. "He’s a guy that takes being behind Terrance seriously. He makes Terrance compete every day, you know?
"He’s not just gonna come out to practice and go through the motions. … He comes to work every day. Brings his hard hat every day.
"Him going in – it was no sweat on anybody. … As a matter of fact," Harris added, "he huddled us and told us, ‘Let’s go.’ So him being in the game doing what he’s doing, it was not a surprise to me."
Haack’s final completion, a wild fling to Riles after he scrambled out of pressure, was confirmed upon video review, allowing Broadway, refreshed with fluids, time to enter to throw a final 21-yard go-ahead TD to Robinson.
"I just want to give credit where credit is due, to Brooks Haack," Broadway offered up on his own. "He put us in that situation. He was ready to go.
"I’m proud of the effort that he had, I’m proud of the work that he put in to be ready for that situation. So you can’t give me all the credit. Brooks Haack put us in that situation."
ROBINSON’S RETURN: Three weeks and one day after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair torn knee cartilage, Robinson had eight catches for 119 yards and two TDs.
"I didn’t expect that," UL head coach Mark Hudspeth said.
"l did expect him to hopefully make some plays. But the guy exceeded my expectations. Made plays, ran strong, broke tackles, caught the ball in traffic.
"A lot of time you don’t see that from a kid coming back this quick from that type of surgery," Hudspeth added. "That just says a lot about him, his toughness."
SO MANY PENALTIES: UL went into the game as the least penalized team in the Sun Belt Conference, with just 15 in four games. It was the fourth least-penalized team in the country prior to Saturday.
Against Georgia State, however, the Cajuns were called for 13 penalties resulting in minus-115 yards.
"Can’t comment on that a whole lot other than we had a whole lot of penalties," Hudspeth said.
INJURY UPDATES: Broadway had nothing more than muscle spasms and cramps.
Hudspeth said he no updates on injured safety Trevence Patt and outside linebacker Dominique Tovell, both of whom missed time in the second half.
UL backup running back Eli McGuire said he was hit by turf toe on one particular play, something to which he’s grown accustomed.
"It’s something I’ve been dealing with since high school," McGuire said afterward.
QUICK QUIZ: Georgia State’s trip to Cajun Field on Saturday night was its first.
The Panthers’ home field is the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Quick quiz: Who are the seven other NCAA Division I programs that play their home games in the same facility as an NFL team?
The answer is below.
WACKY SCHEDULE: Now that this one’s out of the way, UL’s next home game will not be until 16 days from now. And its next Saturday game at home will not be until Nov. 1 – almost a month from now.
The Cajuns’ next two games are on Tuesday nights – Oct. 14 at Texas State and Oct. 21 at Cajun Field against Arkansas State.
QUIZ ANSWER: Miami, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Temple, South Florida, Tennessee State and UMass.
LAGNIAPPE: True freshman defensive Travis Crawford play his first game as a Cajun. Hudspeth said UL doesn’t play to redshirt him, and that he’ll start seeing more time on special teams. … Harris didn’t start UL’s previous game at Boise State due to violation of team rules, but on Saturday night he was a team captain. … Other UL captains Saturday were linebacker Boris Anyama, defensive lineman Justin Hamilton and offense lineman Daniel Quave. … Hamilton was ejected late in the first half for targeting GSU quarterback Nick Arbuckle.