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Football: Ragin’ Cajuns stomp Southern, 45-6 in opener

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, August 31, 2014


Video HERE.



UL Ragin’ Cajuns running back Elijah McGuire (15) runs through the end zone after scoring a rushing touchdown during the first half of an NCAA football game against the Southern University Jaguars on Saturday at Cajun Field. (Photo: Paul Kieu/The Advertiser)



It didn’t all go as scripted.

Ragin’ Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway was the first to acknowledge that.

But the opening act to UL’s 2014 season at least proved to be what 2013 was not: A victory.

The Cajuns beat defending SWAC-champion Southern 45-6 Saturday night on a rain-soaked Cajun Field, winning its home opener for a seventh straight season and doing so in front of a gathering of 36,170 that marked the third-largest crowd in stadium history.

(Only 41,357 for UL’s 2009 win over Southern and 38,783 for its 1996 upset of Texas A&M were more).

The Cajuns did it with Jamal Robinson catching five passes for 112 yards, Elijah McGuire rushing 13 times for 129 yards and a touchdown, Broadway throwing for three TDs and running for one, backup receiver Jared Johnson making a scoring grab, Hunter Stover making his only field-goal try from 31 yards and going 6-of-6 on PATs, and backup quarterback Brooks Haack throwing a fourth-quarter TD to tight end Larry Pettis.

"It was kind of tough going against Southern, because we really didn’t know what they were going to do," said Broadway, who was 20-of-32 with two interceptions, three touchdown passes and another touchdown running.

"They threw some blitzes at us that we hadn’t seen. I’m not gonna make that a fault of the interceptions, but, I mean, we just need to fix a lot of things."

"As a team, we don’t feel like we played as well as we should have played – (based on) how we performed in the camp, on the offensive side of the ball especially," added Broadway, who wound up surpassing both Jon Van Cleave (5,267) and Brian Mitchell (5,447) and now sits third on UL’s all-time passing yards leaders list behind only Jerry Babb (6,241) and Jake Delhomme (9,216). "So, we’re just looking to build on this win."

UL coach Mark Hudspeth didn’t seem nearly so down.

"Really proud of the way we played," he said. "Any time you play a first game of the year, you always are worried about a lot of first-game mistakes. … You’re worried about, ‘Is it gonna thunderstorm?’ and all the distractions.

"I thought our guys really did some nice things," he added. "Still, a lot to build on, a lot of improvement (needed) in a lot of areas."

Hudspeth seemed quite high, in fact, over Broadway’s play, the two INTs notwithstanding.

"I thought he really had a great command of offense…. I thought his command was the best I’ve ever seen," he said.

UL, which led 24-0 at halftime, struck first with Stover’s field goal on its second possession of the game – but only after its first ended with Broadway getting picked by Bryan Anderson.

"It’s early in the first drive of the season," Hudspeth said, "and it’s real easy to panic and … and trying to score too fast."

The Cajuns didn’t do that, though.

"No," said Hudspeth, whose club lost at Arkansas and at Kansas State in its first two games last season. "We just wanted to stay patient. We knew it would come."

And it did, in droves.

An 8-yard TD run by McGuire late in the opening quarterback followed Stover’s field goal, and early in the second Broadway found Robinson on a 32-yard scoring strike.

Before the half was done, Johnson would go high to pull in a 13-yard TD pass from Broadway – helping the Cajuns outscore opponents 193-34 in Hudspeth’s four games at UL against FCS opponents.

Southern, meanwhile, blew early scoring opportunities left and right.

Or right and left.

After Stover’s field goal, Samuel Altman dropped a sure scoring pass (right in his hands). Southern then had Kyle Yonke try a 29-yard field goal, but he missed (wide left).

"We missed some chances early," Southern coach Dawson Odums said, "and allowed the momentum to swing."

And the Cajuns just kept on swinging.

A few were whiffs, and a few were hits.

"Except for the opening probably five minutes of the second half, I thought it was pretty solid," Hudspeth said of UL’s performance. "I said (at halftime), ‘Hey, I don’t want to come out slow; let’s come out and try to really put the dagger in them.’ "

Instead, UL’s first drive of the second half ended with a punt.

Southern capitalized as backup quarterback Austin Howard threw a 23-yard TD pass to Bradley Coleman with just under nine minutes to go in the third quarter.

Robinson caught his second TD from 7 yards out late in the third quarter – "I thought he just was a man among boys out there," Hudspeth said of the senior – and Broadway ran his in from 8 yards out early in the fourth.

"I thought it was a good first game to build on," Hudspeth said, "but we’ll have to play much better in the future to continue moving forward. But, overall, pretty excited."