Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns football team takes to the road this week to play the annual Battle on the Bayou when UL visits UL-Monroe on Saturday, Nov. 3 beginning at 3:00 p.m. CDT in Malone Stadium. . .the game is the Sun Belt Conference Game of the Week and is being televised throughout the state of Louisiana (Cox Sports Television) with Tom Dore, Deuce McAllister and Barbara Jordan providing the commentary. . . the Cajuns (4-3, 2-2 SBC) have lost two straight games, including a 50-27 loss to Arkansas State that ended UL's eight-game Cajun Field win streak, the third-longest in stadium history. . . Terrance Broadway threw for a career-high 374 yards and three touchdowns in the loss to ASU. . . Darryl Surgent made a career-high five catches for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his third career 100-yard receiving game. . . sophomore Jamal Robinson posted his first career 100-yard game, making five grabs for 105 yards. . . senior kicker Brett Baer, who continues to lead the Sun Belt with 66 points, has been named to the mid-season All-America teams by three major outlets, including as a first team honoree by ESPN.com. . . UL-Monroe (6-2, 4-0) is the hottest team in the Sun Belt, bringing a five-game win streak into the game with its only losses coming in overtime at Auburn (31-28) and at home vs. Baylor (47-42). . . the Cajuns own a 24-23 lead in the all-time series with the Warhawks, including four straight wins. . . the two teams have split the 22 previous meetings in Monroe.
Series vs. UL-Monroe:
Saturday's contest marks the 48th all-time meeting between Louisiana and UL-Monroe with the Cajuns owning a slight 24-23 series edge. The series couldn't be any closer as the two teams have split the 22 games that have been played in Monroe, each won one of the two games played on a neutral site and UL is 12-11 in games played in Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns carry a four-game winning streak into this year's meeting, one win off equaling the longest win streak by a team in the series (UL won five straight from 1969-79).
Baer Named To Mid-Season All-America Team:
Senior kicker Brett Baer is one of 26 players, and the only one from the Sun Belt Conference, named to Mark Schlabach's Mid-Season All-America team on ESPN.com, which was announced on Wednesday (Oct. 17). Baer has made 13-of-16 field goals and ranks among the national leaders with 66 points in seven games. Having made 38 of his 43 career attempts (.884), Baer is two field goal attempts away from qualifying for the NCAA record for career field goal accuracy, which is held by Florida State's Bobby Raymond (.878, 43-49 in 1983-84).
After successfully painting the French Quarter red last December and Cajun Field white on Tuesday against Arkansas State, the Ragin' Cajuns will go black for the Nov. 17 home game against WKU. Fans are encouraged to wear black to the contest, which will kickoff at 6:00 p.m.
Cajun Field Streak Comes To An End:
The loss to Arkansas State on Oct. 23 snapped UL's eight-game winning streak at Cajun Field, the third-longest in facility history. The Cajuns started the current streak by going 5-0 at home in 2011, the third undefeated season in Cajun Field history and first since 1987. UL added to it with wins over Lamar (Sept. 1), FIU (Sept. 29) and Tulane (Oct. 6) this season. The record win streak is 11 games, set from 1976-77, and there is also a nine-game streak (1987-88).
. . . Hudspeth Adds Record :
The eight straight home wins under Mark Hudspeth is the most by a head coach to start a tenure at UL. It broke the old record of five straight wins posted by both Clement J. McNaspy from 1908-09 and Sam Robertson in 1980.
Surgent Surges To Milestones:
With nine catches over his last two games, junior wide receiver Darryl Surgent has passed a pair of receiving milestones. His five catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas State allowed the junior to pass the 50-catch and 1,000 yard mark for his career. He enters the week with 55 catches for 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns. He leads the team with 380 receving yards this year while ranking third with 20 catches.
Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood:
With Harry Peoples and Javone Lawson sidelined during the Arkansas State, Jamal Robinson moved into a featured role and excelled. The sophomore set career highs with five catches and 106 yards receiving to raise his season total to 11 grabs for 270 yards this season.
. . . And Butler Finally Did It:
After making 14 ctaches for 200 yards as a true-freshman in 2010, James Butler figured heavily into the Cajuns' plans last year until tearing the ACL in his left knee during preseason camp. After a year of rehabilitiation, Butler completed his comeback when he made his first career touchdown catch on a four-yard pass from Terrance Broadway as time expired against Arkansas State. For the year, Butler has made four catches for 31 yards.
With Blaine Gautier out, Cajun starting quarterback-in-waiting Terrance Broadway has taken over as the starter a little earlier than expected. Broadway was effective in a backup role in the first four games. At Troy on Sept. 8, he relieved Gautier in the second quarter and completed 10-of-16 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown and rushing eight times for 43 yards in leading the Ragin' Cajuns to the win. On Sept. 29 vs. FIU, he took over at the start of the second quarter and completed 15-of-19 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown and also ran the ball seven times for 28 yards with touchdown runs of 13 and four yards. Against Arkansas State on Oct. 23, Broadway set career highs for attempts (39), completions (28). The 374 yards was the eighth -highest single game total in school history.
Baer Dominates As Punter:
One thing lost in the kicking exploits of Brett Baer has been his improvement as a punter. Baer, who was sixth in the SBC by averaging 40.3 yards on 79 punts in 2011, ranks 28th nationally (and first in the SBC) with a 42.7 average this year. More importantly, just nine of his 32 punts have been returned for a total of 29 yards, allowing UL to rank 10th nationally in net punting with a 41.1 average.
. . . And No Touchbacks:
As a junior, Brett Baer punted 79 times with 27 kicks downed inside the 20. Even more impressive was that Baer had just five touchbacks. He has been even better in 2012, punting 32 times with 16 downed inside the 20 and no touchbacks. In the fourth quarter at UNT on Oct. 16, he had successive kicks of 38 yards that were downed inside the 2 and 58 yards downed inside the 1.
4th Down Exploits:
The Cajun defense has successfully stopped its opponents on seven of its eight fourth down conversion attempts. Four of the stops have come within the 25 and have figured prominently in a pair of UL wins. At Troy on Sept. 8, the Cajuns had stops at their 9 and 25 yard lines when the game was still close. The third stop vs. FIU when UL held on downs at their own 12 in the fourth quarter. On Oct. 16 at North Texas, the Cajun defense held on a fourth-and-goal at the 1. The lone fourth down conversion came on a 4th-and-1 at Oklahoma State. Last year, Louisiana opponents were 8-for-21 (.381) on fourth down.
A Turnover Tale:
Mark Hudspeth has preached all season that the team that makes the fewest turnovers usually wins the game, a statement that has held true through the first seven games. In UL's four wins, the Cajuns are +8 in turnover margin, forcing 12 turnovers (6 fumbles, 6 interceptions) while committing just four (3 fumbles, one INT). In the three losses, UL has forced just one turnover while committing eight. For the year, the Cajuns have turned those 13 miscues into 53 points (5 TDs & 6 FGs) while the 12 UL turnovers have led to 40 points.
Baer Moves Into 5th Place On Career Scoring Chart:
Despite scoring a season-low three points against Arkansas State, senior kicker Brett Baer has moved into fifth place on the UL career scoring chart with 209 points. He passed Patrick Broussard, who totaled 208 points from 1984-87. Baer enters the ULM game having made 38 field goals and 95 extra points in his career, Baer now needs 20 points to reach Sean Comiskey (2002-05), who is fourth on the chart with 229 points. Baer has scored 66 points this year to lead the Sun Belt.
The Wait Has Been Worth It For Gillis:
It took fifth-year senior Rodney Gillis more than four years to break into the starting lineup, but since earning his first start in the season opener, he has made the most of his playing opportunities. He is second in the Sun Belt with three interceptions and is third on the team with 35 tackles this year, including a career-high 12 tackles against both Oklahoma State and North Texas. In the season opener against Lamar, he made his first career interception to end one drive and recovered a fumble on the next. He came back to make interceptions in each of the last two games. Gillis joined the program in 2008 and redshirted. He did not play during the 2009 campaign and then tore an ACL in his knee the following spring and missed the 2010 season. Gillis came back to play in 11 games as a reserve last season, making nine tackles.
Griffin Makes Most Of Position Change:
After rushing 69 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns in the first 11 games as a true-freshman in 2011, Qyendarius Griffin made the move to the secondary in order to get more time on the field. Already one of the team's best special teams performers — he was third on the team with nine special teams tackles last year — Griffin has taken to the move. In his first start at linebacker, he led the Cajuns with seven tackles and a pair of tackles for loss against Tulane and he came back last week to record a career-high nine stops at UNT. In six games, he is second on the team with 36 tackles.
A Comeback For Stover:
Another feel good moment this season has been the return to the lineup of sophomore Hunter Stover, who has shared the kickoff chores with Brett Baer. Stover kicked off 47 times in the first eight games for the Cajuns last year before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee at Western Kentucky, requiring season-ending surgery. The surgery was nothing new to Stover. In high school, he tore the ACL in his left knee and a post-surgery infection required a second ACL replacement. The surgeries must have worked as Stover kicked off 17 times this year, recording five touchbacks and a 62.4 average. Last year, he averaged 60.3 yards with only one touchback.
The Line That Plays Together, Stays Together:
Terrance Broadway should feel comfortable under center this year as four of the five starters on the offensive line return, each of whom played in almost 95-percent of the snaps last year. The quartet of seniors Leonardo Bates (LT) and Jaron Odom (RT), junior Andre Huval (C) and sophomore Daniel Quave (RG). The foursome combine to have made 96 career starts, including all the last 20 games together. Odom and Huval each played 925 of the 936 offensive snaps last year with Quave (890) and Bates (887) being not far behind. The fifth starter on the unit this year is Mykhael Quave, the younger brother of Daniel.
The Ragin' Cajuns make the first of two visits to the state of Florida in the final four weeks of the season, traveling to Gainesville to face Florida on Saturday, Nov. 10. Kickoff is slated for 11:21 a.m. (CDT) in a SEC Network broadcast.
Complete Game Notes (PDF)
Game 8: Louisiana (4-3, 2-2 Sun Belt) at UL-Monroe (6-2, 4-0 Sun Belt)
When: Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, 3:00 p.m. CDT
Site: Malone Stadium (Artificial, 30,427)
Series: UL Leads, 24-23
Last Meeting: UL 36, ULM 35 (at UL, Nov. 5, 2011)
TV: Sun Belt Game of the Week (Tom Dore, Deuce McAllister & Barbara Jordan)
Radio: Ragin' Cajuns Radio Network (Jay Walker, Gerald Broussard & Steve Peloquin)
Participating Network Stations: KPEL (1420 AM, Lafayette) Flagship, KXHT (107.9 FM, Lafayette), WGSO (990 AM, New Orleans), KTUX (98.9 FM, Shreveport), KLCL (1470 AM, Lake Charles), KJEF (1290 AM, Jennings), KRJO (1680 AM, Monroe)
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