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Mr. Terryl "Fizz" Fenton

Home:
P.O. Box 40079
Lafayette, Louisiana 70504

Work:

Home Phone: 504-388-9307
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: --

Bruce Brown
bbrown@theadvertiser.com

October 7, 2004

LAFAYETTE � New Mexico State�s Aggies had every right to feel good. They led UL Lafayette 24-23 at Cajun Field last Oct. 16.

They had the ball in UL territory in the fourth quarter and the hosts were out of timeouts.

A third down conversion would go a long way toward pushing the Cajuns to 0-8 for the season, on ESPN regional television, no less.

That�s when cornerback Terryl Fenton executed one of those plays that can shape a season, and in the longer view possibly salvage a program.

Fenton stepped in front of Paul Dombrowski�s third-down pass with 2:21 remaining in the game and returned the interception 21 yards to the NMSU 44-yard line.

UL�s Chester Johnson picked up a fourth-and-one with a two-yard run to the Aggies� 33, and a pair of Jerry Babb scrambles got the ball to the 11. Another Babb run reached the 4 with 18 seconds to go and he spiked the ball with 11 seconds left to stop the clock.

Sean Comiskey trotted on for a game-winning 21-yard field for the 26-24 reversal of fortune, and the Cajuns went on to win four of their last five games of 2003.

�Last year at this time it was getting hard for everybody,� Fenton said. �We were 0-7 and desperately needed a win. Fortunately enough, I was able to help the team and come through at the right time.

�That just carries over to this week.�

The Cajuns visit NMSU this Saturday, awakening memories of that pivotal contest last season.

�It was third down, and they had to pick it up, so I figured they were going to pass the ball,� Fenton said. �You have to know the down, distance and the situation. All of that has to be in your mind. You have to focus.�

The previous week, a UL Monroe field goal with 1:46 to play had sent the Cajuns to a 45-42 homecoming defeat and that 0-7 record. Something had to be done.

�They (ULM�s Indians) had a big game passing the ball,� Fenton said. �Our defensive backs coaches were a little upset. They said we weren�t playing the ball in the air, and that week we worked in drills on taking the ball at its highest point. We�re doing that this week, as well.�

Fenton�s leaping pickoff was his biggest play since signing with the Cajuns out of Holy Cross High School in New Orleans. In five games this year, he has 16 tackles, a pair of passes broken up and has recovered a fumble as UL�s maturing left cornerback.

He is one of many reasons the Cajuns are heading to NMSU with a 3-2 record and a 1-0 mark in Sun Belt Conference play. They also have momentum after consecutive wins over Middle Tennessee (24-17 at home) and Florida International (43-34 on the road) last week.

But no one is jumping to conclusions about a season not yet half over, just as last year�s Cajuns didn�t assume losing was their fate after the 0-7 start.

�Obviously,� Fenton said, �we feel good right now. But I don�t think we�re satisfied. The fans and everyone outside the program are starting to feel good about it.

�At the same time, this is still kind of foreign to us.��

We�re still learning how to win. Last week we played against a good team, but I think we under-estimated them a little and that�s why the game was so close.

�I�m glad it happened. I think it put us in the right frame of mind. We�re dealing with winning. We can�t get ahead of ourselves. The game we�re playing right now is the most important game of the season. Every game is important to our goal.�

The last three games between the Cajuns and Aggies have been decided by 3, 3 and 2 points, so it may take a singular play like Fenton�s to turn the tide for the well-matched foes.

�They don�t have the star receiver, No. 27 (Ronshay Jenkins) they had last year,� Fenton said. �He was an all-conference player. But they have a really good offensive line, a nice running back and two nice quarterbacks. It�s a nice offense.

�It will be a very physical game. We definitely have to show up on (stopping) the run, and in the secondary on play-action passes.�

Someone is waiting to make the play that makes the difference.

�The Lafayette Daily Advertiser
October 7, 2004