LAFAYETTE – Behind an offensive effort that produced 501 yards total offense, the Ragin' Cajuns football team quickly disposed of FIU and upped its Sun Belt Conference record to 2-0 with a 48-20 win over the Panthers Saturday evening at Cajun Field.
Terrance Broadway delivered another solid relief effort after Blaine Gautier left with an injury in the second quarter. The sophomore transfer sifted his way through the FIU defense completing 15-of-19 passes for 228 yards.
Harry Peoples was the main beneficiary in the Cajuns wideout corps, collecting 10 receptions for 151 yards and a score. Peoples' 78-yard scoring strike from Broadway on the second play of the third quarter moved the Cajuns' lead over 20 points for good.
Coach Mark Hudspeth wanted the Cajuns to have a more balanced attack and his charges in the ground game delivered. Effrem Reed (62 yards), Alonzo Harris (56 yards) and Torrey Pierce (28 yards) combined to rush for 146 of the Cajuns' rushing total of 187 yards, second only to the 218 gained at Troy.
Brett Baer accounted for 12 points, notching a pair of field goals to go along with six PATs. Baer upped his team-leading season scoring total to 47 points.
Louisiana (3-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) remained perfect at Cajun Field in the Hudspeth era at 7-0. UL also improved to 8-2 in Sun Belt games under the direction of their top boss (went 6-2 in 2011).
The Cajuns dominated their final Sun Belt meeting with FIU – Panthers enter Conference USA in 2013. UL held a 23-10 edge in first downs, 187-55 advantage in rushing yards, outpassed the Panthers 314-204 and nearly doubled the Panthers in total offense (501-259).
The Cajuns took control early, scoring the game's first 24 points.
Louisiana opened the scoring on its second possession with Gautier running it in from three yards out at 7:06 of the opening quarter. It was his third rushing touchdown of the year and the 12th of his career and capped a nine-play, 82-yard drive.
Louisiana made it 14-0 at the 2:30 mark when Gautier found tight end Jacob Maxwell in the back left corner of the end zone for a two-yard touchdown pass. Following a Jemarlous Moten interception, Brett Baer connected on a 46-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0 before the first quarter expired.
The series was costly to the Cajuns, though, as Gautier left the game with a hand injury and did not return.
But, as UL had seen in week two at Troy, Broadway took over and the offense didn't skip a beat. Broadway extended the Cajuns lead to 24-0 when he scored on a 13-yard run with 11:38 remaining before halftime. It was his first Cajuns touchdown and capped a 55-yard drive.
FIU climbed back into the game with a pair of touchdowns, closing to within 24-14 with 5:59 left in the half.
Broadway answered for the Cajuns, scoring his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard run on a quarterback option to give UL a 31-14 halftime edge.
The Cajuns broke the game open after halftime, scoring 10 straight points to take a 41-14 lead.
Broadway found Harry Peoples open down the left sideline and the senior ran it in for a 78-yard touchdown just 49 seconds into the quarter. It was the longest completion in Broadway's short UL career and the longest catch by Peoples. Peoples wound up with his third career 100-yard game.
Following a Rodney Gillis interception, his second of the season, Brett Baer made a 23-yard field goal to give the Cajuns a 41-14 lead with 10:49 left in the third quarter. Baer, who entered the game leading the nation with eight field goals this year, is now 10-for-11 for this season and 35-for-38 for his career. He 12 points scored in the game raised his career total to (190), moving him from 10th to eighth on the UL career scoring list.
FIU answered with a one-yard Kedrick Rhodes run to cut the lead to 38-20, but Hillaird's two-point conversion run failed.
UL answered right back, driving 75 yards in just six plays to rebuild the lead to 48-20. A 52-yard Broadway to Darryl Surgent pass did most of the work with Effrem Reed running it in from seven yards out for the score.
Louisiana steps out of Sun Belt play next week for the school's 67th annual Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Ragin' Cajuns welcome long-time nemesis Tulane to Cajun Field for a 4 p.m. kickoff. The game is being broadcast on Ragin' Cajuns Network which is broadcast by Cox4.