Ole Miss First Look: Louisiana-Lafayette

By John Davis, Oxford Citizen

Ole Miss will host its first football game of the 2014 season Sept. 13 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

While the Rebels will undoubtedly be excited to be off the road after playing the first two contests outside of Oxford, 17 members of the UL-L team are likely to feel just as excited.

The Ragin’ Cajuns feature a roster heavy on players from the state of Mississippi, including two from Oxford High in tight end Larry Pettis and offensive guard Terry Johnson.
Johnson started all 13 games during the 2013 season and is a preseason award candidate. Meanwhile, Pettis plays a big role on special teams, and he’s expected to see more snaps on offense this year.

Four years ago, the Ragin’ Cajuns came to Oxford and lost 43-21 to the Rebels. Since then, head coach Mark Hudspeth has won 27 games and led UL-L to three straight victories in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.

Hudspeth, a former assistant coach at Mississippi State and native of Winston County, runs an offense similar to the Rebels. He also has experienced players returning from a team that was named Sun Belt Conference champions in 2013.

Eight starters are back from a unit that averaged 416.8 yards and 33.8 points per contest. Senior Terrance Broadway returns at quarterback for UL-L. He garnered 2,419 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air last year and another 442 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. His experience and understanding of the offense could present a problem for the Rebels if they’re not careful about defending him.

Senior Alonzo Harris is the leading returning rusher on the team. Harris, who was a member of the All-Sun Belt first team, finished with 942 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground in 2013. UL-L’s top receiver last season, Jamal Robinson, also returns to the lineup. He caught 54 passes for 862 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Johnson (6-foot-2, 295 pounds) is one of four returners on the offensive line for Hudspeth.

The number of returners on defense, seven, is high for the Ragin’ Cajuns, but the experience doesn’t include the leading tackler from last season, Justin Anderson, who had 131 total stops. While UL-L’s defense does return more than half of its starting lineup from 2013, the unit allowed almost 400 yards per game, and 26.5 points per contest.

James Willis, a former assistant coach to Tommy Tuberville at both Auburn and Texas Tech, was brought in during the offseason to improve the defense as coordinator and linebackers coach.

Another familiar face, David Saunders, coaches the cornerbacks on defense. Saunders was an assistant coach at Ole Miss under both Ed Orgeron and David Cutcliffe.
UL-L has two home games at Cajun Field before heading up to Oxford, opening the season against the Southern Jaguars on Aug. 30 and then hosting Louisiana Tech on Sept. 6.

john.davis@journalinc.com

Twitter:@oxfordcitizenjd

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football

Parrish’s Twitter Feed

Meet the Writers

JD and Parrish


Want Email Updates? Warning... We Update Often

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 778 other subscribers