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Football: Streak snapped, Cajuns think they can reel off some wins - Fan Update for 10/12 Game

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Oct. 8, 2017

As UL coach Mark Hudspeth tells it, he recently shared an anecdote with people close to him about how the Ragin’ Cajuns “reeled off” seven straight wins after losing to Louisiana Tech three years ago.

And three years ago, the Cajuns did lose to Louisiana Tech. 48-20. The next week they lost at Ole Miss. 56-15. The week after that they lost at Boise State. 34-9.

Times were tough early in 2014.

Then they "reeled off" six in row (not actually seven) after their 1-3 start, later beat Nevada in the New Orleans Bowl and finished 9-4.

But never mind nitty-gritty details.

Hudspeth’s point: Even though the Cajuns were 1-3 before visiting Idaho on Saturday, not all hope in 2017 was lost.

More: Go figure, UL's defense delivers win

 “I mean, we’ve been in this position before,” he was saying last week.

“We didn’t get off to the start we would have liked, but, man, this season’s early and this football team is still battling, and we’ve overcome some things, and our football team is getting better.

“These guys are resilient. Man, they’re really focused. They’re excited about the next eight regular-season games,” Hudspeth added then. “They realize the season is still very young, and they’re ready to get off to a new start.”

That was that, and Hudspeth wasn’t about to let anything — or anyone — get him down.

Sure enough, that fresh start he referenced began with a 21-16 win Saturday at Idaho that ended UL's three-game losing streak.

Backup quarterback Andre Nunez led the way, replacing starter Jordan Davis after two series and finishing 18-of-24 for 213 yards including a 45-yard touchdown throw to Ja’Marcus Bradley early in the third quarter that made it 21-10.

Running back Trey Ragas had 17 carries for 78 hard-earned yards, including a 1-yard TD run in the second quarter that followed Wildcat QB Dion Ray’s 3-yard TD run late in the first.

A defense much-maligned early this year did its job, too, allowing two second-half field goals but holding tight and getting the ball back on downs as Idaho tried to drive starting with just more than four minutes to go.

In his first game back at Buck defensive end following a failed experiment at inside linebacker, Joe Dillon led that side for UL with five tackles including two for loss with one sack and three quarterback hurries.

More: Cajuns hope Dillon's latest move helps on defense

Related: UL's Willis shouldn't worry about feelings

After allowing a national-worst 53.8 points per game along with 563.5 yards per game through four games, third-worst in the country, the Cajuns allowed now 2-3 Idaho just 279 yards of total offense.

It was just what the doctor ordered for a Cajun club that’s started 1-3 not only this year and in 2014, but also in 2015, when it finished 4-8.

(UL opened 2-2 through four games and 2-4 through six before finishing 6-7 with a New Orleans Bowl loss to Southern Mississippi last year; the last time it started better than .500 through four games was when it was 3-1 in 2012.)

So hope for a sixth bowl appearance in seven seasons remains alive and, after Saturday, better for the 2-3 Cajuns.

It’s still an uphill battle, especially with UL having to play on a short turnaround — the Cajuns are host to Texas State in an ESPNU-televised Thursday night — after flying about 2,400 miles up Idaho on Friday afternoon and another 2,400 or so back down Saturday night.

The Bobcats are just 1-5 after losing 45-27 to Saturday to UL Monroe, and UL is 4-0 against them all-time — all since 2013.

But after that the Cajuns must travel to face 2-2 Arkansas State for another Thursday-night game Oct. 19.

That starts a stretch with three in a row for UL, along with a Nov. 4 visit to South Alabama and a Nov. 11 non-conference visit to Ole Miss.

More: UL adds Liberty to list of future football opponents

Now needing to win four of their final seven  to become bowl-eligible again, the Cajuns then close their regular season with New Mexico State and Georgia State at home and, on Dec. 2, Appalachian State in bound-to-be-chilly Boone, North Carolina.

It’s a tall task, but one not insurmountable if the Cajuns can maintain the same sort of approach they did before heading to Idaho.

Last week, Hudspeth said that “in a lot of areas, we’re really good,” but in the same breath conceded that “in a lot of areas, we’re not very good.”

But at least, from the sound of it, dispositions didn’t get bad.

“Could not be more excited about the attitude of our football team right now, the way they are responding, the way they’re working, the way they’re pushing and still they know that they’ve got a lot of great football ahead of them,” Hudspeth said at the start of the week, after having spent the prior bye week stewing over a 56-50 double-overtime loss to UL Monroe.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in these guys,” the Cajuns coach added then. “If you saw their work ethic, if you see their attitudes right now, you would say the same thing.”

And maybe even would be tempted to think they can reel off a few more.

Not that anyone’s counting.

Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.

Football: Fan Update for Oct. 12 Football Game vs. Texas State

LAFAYETTE – As the Oct. 12 matchup against Texas State presented by DigiTech Office Solutions nears at Cajun Field, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Department would like to update its fans on all the events taking place at the contest.
Whiteout Cajun Field
Louisiana is asking fans to wear white for the game against the Bobcats as we look to Whiteout Cajun Field for the nationally televised contest on ESPNU. White shirts are on sale at the Ragin' Cajuns Store on Johnson Street.
Jambalaya Fundraiser
The Ragin' Cajuns Athletics Department and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) have partnered with UL Dining Services and Ragin' Cajuns Concessions to host a Jambalaya Fundraiser to help benefit both Second Harvest Food Bank and the Extra Yard for Teachers program.
On Thursday, Oct. 12, fans are invited to Cajun Field for a complimentary bowl of jambalaya from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. or 4-6:30 p.m. The Jambalaya Fundraiser will be located near the Oak Tree at Gate A across from the Russo Park main entrance.
Fans must donate at least one can food item or make a monetary donation in order to receive jambalaya. All food collected will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank, while all monetary donations will help benefit local school projects through the Extra Yard for Teachers program.  SAAC will review all of the local school requests that have been submitted to https://www.donorschoose.org/ to select recipients of the funding.
Left over jambalaya will be delivered to St. Joseph Shelter for Men.
Fans arriving between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. will need to enter the Cajun Field parking lot using either Gate 1 or 3.
Breast Cancer Awareness
In conjunction with the Sun Belt Conference, the Louisiana Athletics Department will promote breast cancer awareness month at Cajun Field for the Texas State game. Fans are encouraged to email pictures of their loved ones who have battled or are battling breast cancer to GeauxCajuns@Louisiana.edu. Those images will be featured on the video board during the contest in a special presentation.
Gameday Parking
Cajun Field will be closed for student parking on Thursday, October 12, to prepare for gameday parking for the football game vs. Texas State. All vehicles must be out of the Cajun Field lot by 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Gameday parking at Cajun Field will be the same as it was for the first two games of the 2017 season.  
Tailgating set up will be allowed after 12 p.m. on Wednesday. RV set up will only be allowed on Thursday, and all RVs must move out after the game due to Student parking on Friday.
General admission parking will be available around Cajun Field. Visit Gameday Central for a map of the general admission parking areas.
Louisiana Student Parking For Classes
Parking and regular transit service will be available at Blackham Coliseum at 2330 Johnston Street and the Cabbage Patch area at the intersection of Coliseum Drive and St. Landry Street, adjacent to the Recreational Sports Complex playing fields.
Individuals with campus parking permits and commuters are encouraged to allow additional travel time to accommodate for the potential change in traffic flow on Thursday, October 12.
Ragin' Cajuns Fan Fest
Ragin' Cajuns Fan Fest presented by Iberia Bank opens at 3 p.m. at Russo Park. Fans can take in the Louisiana baseball scrimmage from 3-5 p.m. The Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team will also be on hand for autographs at 5 p.m. The Kids Zone presented by Cox will begin at 4 p.m. and will feature inflatable games story book characters, face painting and more.
Quick Concessions Options
RCAF members are able to take advantage of the RCAF Fast Pass lines located at most concessions stands simply by showing their RCAF membership cards.
Fans can also avoid the lines at the concessions stands by downloading the WAITR app on their smartphone and order concession items from their seat.  When the order is ready, fans will be able to pick up their food from the WAITR Express location on the concourse.
For more gameday information, please visit the Gameday Central page at RaginCajuns.com.

-- Ragin' Cajuns --