LAFAYETTE, La. – Terrance Broadway threw for 305 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushed for a third score as Louisiana ran its record to 7-4 on the season, routing South Alabama, 52-30, on Senior Night at Cajun Field.
After the game, the Cajuns accepted an invitation to play in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 22, marking the second straight year that Louisiana will be playing in the game.
“I couldn't be happier going back to New Orleans,” Hudspeth said. “It is a testament to the young men on this team that they fought through the adversity and injuries this season and put ourselves in a position to get invited back to New Orleans. We've fought hard all season, and it's nice to see all of that work pay off. Our players and fans couldn't be happier to be going back to the Big Easy – let's paint the town red, again.”
The game marked the final home appearance for 18 Cajun seniors, a group that has been responsible for Louisiana going 10-1 at home over the last two seasons.
“Tonight was all about our seniors,” head coach Mark Hudspeth said. “It is through the blood and sweat of those guys that the success that we have had the last two years has become possible. It was good to see so many seniors have a hand in the win.
“To see guys like Blaine Gautier, Javone Lawson, Yobes Walker and the rest of them get the kind of reception from the Cajun fans made the game special. It is something that they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
The Cajuns won the game on the defensive line, holding the Jaguars to just 54 yards rushing in 28 attempts, marking the sixth time (all wins) this year that Louisiana has held an opponent under 100 yards rushing. South Alabama quarterback Ross Metheny was 27-for-44 for 360 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the big plays went against them.
Louisiana blocked a field goal and had three quarterback sacks with each keeping the Jaguars out of the end zone.
South Alabama kicker Michael Chapuseaux converted three of his four field goal attempts to keep the Jaguars in the game, but as South Alabama was making field goals, the Cajuns were scoring touchdowns.
After the Jaguars cut the Louisiana lead to 17-16 just before half, the Cajuns scored touchdowns on their next three possessions to take control of the game, 38-16 midway through the third quarter.
“We hurt ourselves with field position in the second quarter that gave South Alabama a number of good chances,” Hudspeth said. “To hold them to three field goals considering the field position they had shows that our defense got the job done.”
Justin Anderson led the defense with 10 tackles while Jemarlous Moten added eight. Senior Emeka Onyenekwu made four tackles, including a pair of quarterback sacks.
Broadway led the Cajuns offensively, accounting for 369 yards of total offense. He completed 11-of-19 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 13 times for 65 yards and a score.
Harry Peoples (5 catches, 166 yards and a TD) and Javone Lawson (3-113-1) were the primary targets for Broadway, each going over 100 yards receiving.
The Jaguars took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in three plays with Julien Valentin scoring on a one-yard run with 11:05 left in the first quarter to put South Alabama ahead, 7-0. The Cajun defense appeared to have thwarted the drive two plays earlier when Justin Anderson stripped Terrance Timmons of the ball and Cordian Hagans recovered at the UL 3, but the play was called back because of an offsides call against Louisiana.
Louisiana came right back as Brett Baer converted a 27-yard field goal with 8:40 left to close the Cajuns to within 7-3. The drive began with a 33-yard pass from Broadway to Javone Lawson, who returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a broken wrist.
South Alabama drove deep into Cajun territory on its next possession, getting a first and 10 at the UL 11. On third down, Emeka Onyenekwu sacked Jaguar quarterback Ross Metheny for a 14-yard loss. Jamal Robinson blocked the ensuing 42-yard field goal by Michael Chapuseaux.
The Cajuns didn't wait long to strike as Broadway found Harry Peoples on a short crossing pattern on the first play following the block. Peoples turned upfield and outran the defense for a 75-yard touchdown to put Louisiana ahead, 10-7 with 4:17 left.
The defense struck again on South Alabama's next possession as Jermarlous Moten stripped Gabe Lopez of the ball after a short catch and Rodney Gillis recovered for the Cajuns. Effrem Reed needed just two runs to get the ball into the end zone, going 20 yards on his first carry and scoring on a 19-yard run up the middle on his second to give Louisiana a 17-7 lead with 3:18 left in the opening stanza.
Chapuseaux took over after that, converting field goals of 45, 33 and 50 yards to pull the Jaguars to within 17-16 with 6:13 left in the half.
South Alabama close to within 17-10 just 52 seconds into the second quarter when Chapuseaux converted a 45-yard field.
The Cajuns struck just before halftime, needing five plays to drive 98 yards in 1:53, with Lawson scoring on a 27-yard pass from Broadway with 16 seconds left to give UL a 24-16 lead at the intermission.
Lawson keyed the drive by catching a 53-yard pass from Broadway to move the ball to the South Alabama 27.
Bouyed by a 72-yard Harry Peoples reception, the Cajuns took the second half kickoff and drove 82 yards for a touchdown with Effrem Reed fighting in from one-yard out for the score to put UL ahead, 31-16 with 13:32 left in the third quarter.
Broadway pushed the Cajun lead to 38-16, capping a 75-yard drive by running it in on a keeper from six yards out for his team-high seventh rushing touchdown of the year. A little trickery helped the Cajuns on the drive as Brady Thomas completed 25-yard pass to Melvin White on a fake punt to keep the drive alive.
South Alabama put its first second half points on the board when Metheny completed a 23-yar touchdown pass to Jereme Jones to make it a 38-23 game with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
Senior Blaine Gautier, who had missed the last six games with a broken left hand, took over at quarterback on the third play of the fourth quarter and promptly threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Maxwell to give the Cajuns a 45-23 lead with 13:50 left.
South Alabama countered with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Metheny to Gabe Loper to make it a 45-30 game with 7:26 left.
The Cajuns closed the scoring at the 3:33 mark when senior Yobes Walker scored on a one-yard run.
The Cajuns will head to Boca Raton, Fla. this week to close the 2012 regular season against FAU on Saturday, Dec. 1 beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST (2:00 p.m. in Lafayette).