Football: UL vs. ULM great for fans
Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, November 21, 2013
Back in mid-July, at the Sun Belt Conference’s football Media Day in New Orleans, UL Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning was asked if he thought from a fan’s perspective that ULM and the UL Ragin’ Cajuns really are rivals.
Browning, whose Warhawks visit the idle-this-week Cajuns on Nov. 30 at Cajun Field, did not hesitate with his answer.
“From a fan’s perspective, yes,” he said then. “When Lafayette comes here, or whether we go there, it’s always crazy. The fan base is absolutely nuts.
“And it’s a fun game to play,” Browning added, “because it’s loud and it’s exciting and of course everybody sees that it’s a rivalry game.”
Before facing the 8-2 Cajuns, ULM – 5-5 and needing one more win in its final two games – plays Saturday at South Alabama.
UL leads the all-time series with ULM 25-23, including victories each of the last five seasons. Prior to that, ULM won 5-of-6 meetings from 2002 through 2007.
UL coach Mark Hudspeth said the Cajuns “hopefully” will get starting linebacker Tig Barksdale back in time for their game against ULM, but “right now it’s doubtful, but not impossible.”
Hudspeth hopes to know by the end of the week.
Barksdale did not play in UL’s win last Saturday at Georgia State due to a hand injury sustained in a Nov. 7 win over Troy.
If he does play against the Warhawks, Hudspeth said, “he’ll have to have a padded cast.”
With Barksdale out Saturday, backup Trae Johnson started and produced a team-high 12 tackles, including 10 solo stops, two TFLs and a key stop on fourth down for the Panthers in the fourth quarter.
Marquis White, who had made three straight starts on the defensive line for UL in wins over Arkansas State, New Mexico State and Troy, did not play Saturday at Georgia State due to violation of team rules.
“We have rules about being on time,” Hudspeth said.
The sophomore from Orlando who originally started his college career as a redshirt at South Florida is back in good standing now, though, the Cajun coach indicated.
“Paid his penance,” Hudspeth said.
There was a lesson in the situation, and Hudspeth hopes his Cajuns took note.
“Got the attention of the rest of the team,” he said.
UL running backs coach Marquase Lovings is recovering from shoulder surgery performed Tuesday to repair an injury sustained while lifting weights.
Lovings showed up to watch practice the same day he had the surgery, but he was sent home early to recover.
He was back at practice on Wednesday, though.
Lovings’ corps of running backs, led by Alonzo Harris and Elijah McGuire, has helped the Cajuns average a Sun Belt-leading 226.8 yards per game on the ground this season.