home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Football: Turnaround has confident Cajuns back to even

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, November 9, 2015


Coming off a 23-21 victory over Georgia State on Saturday in Atlanta, the 4-4 UL football team has won two straight and three of its last four.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are back to .500 for the first time since just before losing to Akron in late September.

And as they head into Thursday night’s ESPNU-televised game at South Alabama, they are two wins away from being bowl-eligible for a fifth straight season.

“It definitely gives us confidence,” defensive lineman Chris Prater said of being even again after opening 1-3 and 2-4.

“It’s big,” Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth added. “We’ve climbed our way, slowly and methodically, out of this hole.”

To do it, UL has had to come from behind both against Georgia State and in a 30-24 win over UL Monroe.

The Cajuns trailed the Panthers 21-17 late in the third quarter, before Steve Artigue hit field goals from 49 and 21 yards.

And they trailed the Warhawks 24-9 at Cajun Field before Elijah McGuire ran in from 5 yards out early in the third quarter, Brooks Haack ran in from 13 yards out midway through the fourth and Haack delivered a 64-yard game-winner to Jamal Robinson with just more than three minutes left back on Halloween night.

“I know we all have a heart attack in the fourth quarter — everybody does — but it’s one of those things that we’re really resilient, and we fight until the end,” Haack said.

“I think that’s one of the big factors moving forward, is knowing that no matter what the score is — no matter how far we’re down, how far we’re up — we’re never gonna stop fighting,” the Cajun quarterback added. “We’re just gonna find a way to pull it out.”

Defensively, improvement — both over the course of the season, and in the second half of several games — has been a difference-maker for UL.

“We’re real excited,” linebacker Dominique Tovell said after the win over Georgia State.

“We started off not as fast as we wanted to, but … guys are getting more and more experience every game, and we’re starting to feel real confident on the back end and along the front,” Tovell added. “I’m just looking real forward to the rest of the season with these guys.”

For the Cajuns, that means games after Thursday on Nov. 21 against 2-7 New Mexico State at home, on Nov. 28 at 7-2 Appalachian State and on Dec. 5 against 3-6 Troy at home.

Before all that, though, UL must deal with a 4-4 South Alabama team coming off a 52-45 win over Idaho.

The Jaguars have losses to Nebraska, North Carolina State, Arkansas State and Texas State, but they also have wins including a September decision over now 6-3 San Diego State and an October victory at Troy.

The Cajuns aren’t concerned about all that, though, so much as they are what’s going on in their own backyard.

After bickering with each other in the opening half against ULM, and getting halftime pep talks that night from slot receiver Al Riles and linebacker Otha Peters, a genuine turnaround has been under way.

“We’re worried about each other — just trying to get that chemistry with everybody, bringing the team back together and just getting everybody to play for each other and seeing the great results from it,” Riles said Monday.

“I think they know we’re really close, and I think they’ve felt themselves digging themselves out of the hole. That’s pretty rewarding too,” Hudspeth added Monday. “We’ve been really up and down, so hopefully now we can play a little more consistent football.”