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See Mike Run: Cajuns’ dual-threat athlete has emerged as the country’s top rushing quarterback

Desormeaux averaging 110.7 yards per game on the ground

Michael Desormeaux’s fan club continues to grow.

The coach of the football team that just played UL and the coach of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ next opponent are both solidly in his corner.


"I like guys with names like that," said North Texas coach Todd Dodge. "I grew up in Port Arthur and the names like that are everywhere."

Athletes like the New Iberia and Catholic High product aren’t everywhere, as the junior showed last Saturday in leading UL to its 38-29 victory over UNT.

Desormeaux rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns, including a long run of 73 yards, on the way to his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season. He also completed 10-of-20 passes for 114 yards and two more scores.

"He can definitely beat you running and throwing the football," said Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts, whose Indians host the Cajuns at 6 p.m. Saturday. "He’s definitely improved his throwing from the last time we saw their attack."

That came two years ago when Desormeaux was a redshirt freshman and making his second start in place of injured Jerry Babb. He rushed for 174 yards on 14 carries, at the time the 14th-best rushing performance in UL history, and led the Cajuns to a 29-14 lead before ASU staged a rally and won a 39-36 shootout.

"A lot of guys remember that game two years ago," Desormeaux said. "We’re looking forward to going back up there."

Desormeaux started two more games that year, both of them wins, and helped UL get on a streak that eventually numbered five straight victories and a share of the Sun Belt Conference title. Mostly due to those efforts, he was named the utility player on the All-Sun Belt team, one of only three freshmen on that squad.

That’s part of the reason that Cajun coach Rickey Bustle has also been a fan for a long time.

"Every coach that plays against him talks about how much they respect him," Bustle said. "He’s an athlete and he makes plays."

Desormeaux ranks 20th nationally in rushing and is far and away the national leader in that category among quarterbacks, averaging 110.7 yards per game and holding a nearly 30-yard lead over runner-up Tim Tebow of Florida.

More importantly, he’s completing 53.2 percent of his passes for 885 yards and seven scores through six games, averaging 147.5 yards per game.

"We’ve tried to do some things in the passing game that help him," Bustle said. "There’s a lot of short, quick stuff that can take advantage of what he can do athletically."

"I thought we were going to throw it more this year than we have," Desormeaux said, when asked about UL’s offseason offensive changes. "But given the circumstances, you take what the defense gives you and you stick with what works. Right now, we’re running the ball well."

UL ranks sixth nationally in rushing as a team (248.3 yards), nearly half of that coming from the quarterback slot.

"You have to let him do what he does," Bustle said. "Me personally, I don’t prefer to see him running it that much, but that’s what he does and you don’t argue with success."

"We have been a little more of a threat throwing the ball," Desormeaux said of the Cajuns’ nearly 27 passing attempts per game, compared to 23 last year. "The defense has to back up and respect that, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to run it the way we have."

He has rushed for 401 yards in UL’s last three games, games in which UL has been without the services of a full-speed Tyrell Fenroy with an ankle injury. Despite that, the Cajuns have over 800 ground yards in those three games.

"He’s just a tough, hard-nosed kid, and a gifted athlete," Dodge said. "He’s someone who I think a whole lot of coaches would want to quarterback their football team. He just wills his team to success. I met him at the Sun Belt meetings last summer and I really like him. I’m very impressed with him as a young man and as a competitor."

Daily Advertiser file photo/John Rowland

After rushing for 150 yard in Saturday’s victory over North Texas, UL’s Mike Desormeaux has vaulted to the top of the rankings in rushing yards by a quarterback – ahead of Florida’s Tim Tebow.