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Football: Haack delivers in clutch

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, October 8, 2014



UL quarterback Brooks Haack (9) didn’t play long in last Saturday’s win over Georgia State but made his plays count in a big way. (Photo: Paul Kieu/The Advertiser)



As UL coach Mark Hudspeth sees it, backup quarterback Brooks Haack’s play on UL’s game-winning drive against Georgia State last Saturday night was a confidence-booster on multiple levels.

Haack, playing because starter Terrance Broadway had leg cramps and needed an IV to replace fluids, was 4-of-4 for 50 yards on the drive before Broadway returned to hit Jamal Robinson with a go-ahead touchdown pass.

"He completed one to (tight end) Larry Pettis on third down," Hudspeth said, "and for him to make that play on the last third down to (slot receiver) Al Riles – Alonzo Harris had missed his protection, so (Haack) had to step up, spin out of a tackle and rolled out and threw off of his back foot as he was getting hit, and he threw a strike.

"He put the ball in the only place that he could put it where either Al (Riles) was going to catch it or no one was going to catch it. And he did a great job."

Something soared as a result, believes Hudspeth, whose 2-3 Ragin’ Cajuns are off until an ESPN2-televised game Tuesday night at Texas State.

"He (Haack) stepped up and made an instinctive kind of play, something that you don’t really teach," Hudspeth said. "After that series, I think he gained a lot of confidence in himself and I think the team gained a lot of confidence in him, too."

The redshirt sophomore has played sparingly in his UL career, and hadn’t played at all in preceding losses at Boise State and Ole Miss.

Saturday’s game was just his eighth as a Cajun.

Haack came into the season having gone 21-of-35 for 224 yards with one TD pass and one interception in five games last season.

Before Saturday, he was a combined 14-of-17 for 114 yards with two TDs and no interceptions in a win over Southern and a loss to Louisiana Tech.

ALL ABOUT TRUST: It turned out inconsequential, but could have been significant.

As a result, Hudspeth was not at all pleased with kicker Hunter Stover’s PAT miss after UL’s final late-game touchdown in its 34-31 win over Georgia State.

Had safety Tracy Walker not made a final drive-ending tackle, after all, GSU could have forced overtime with a field goal – and Panthers kicker Wil Lutz had already nailed a 48-yarder to end the opening half.

Had Stover made the extra point, Georgia State would have been forced to go for a TD to try to secure the win.

"We had a bad snap to start with," Hudspeth said, "but (holder Jake) Guidry did a good job of getting it down.

"So the bad snap started it all, but Guidry got it down and Hunter didn’t trust that he was going to get it down. And that’s the one thing you got to do as a kicker, is that you got to trust your holder that he’s going to hit his mark.

"Sometimes they may get there late, but you got to trust that he’s going to hit his mark. And he (Stover) just didn’t trust him (Guidry). And he didn’t swing through it and hit it off the toe," Hudspeth added. "That was a critical, critical error that really could have been costly. Luckily, our defense held and we didn’t get in that situation."

RATING THE PANTHERS: Although Georgia State is now 1-4 with four straight losses following its loss to UL, the Panthers – winless last season, and with just win now (over Abilene Christian) in their last 21 games – were on the receiving end of some praise Saturday from Broadway.

"They’re a great football team," the Cajuns quarterback said. "A young football team.

"They’re a very confident football team, and they came into this game confident offensively and defensively, and they made some plays. But, ultimately at the end, we made more plays than they did, and we came out on top."

Contributing: Chad Washington