December 13, 2017

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RAGIN’ CAJUNS FOOTBALL GAME 10 PREVIEW: vs. New Mexico State (Homecoming)

LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns football team returns home to Cajun Field for the first time in over a month when it plays host to Sun Belt Conference opponent New Mexico State in the annual Homecoming game on Saturday.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. The game, which is sponsored by Cox Communications, will be available on ESPN3 with David Saltzman (play-by-play) and former Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason (color) providing commentary. The game will also be available statewide on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Radio Network with Steve Peloquin (PBP), former Ragin’ Cajuns receiver Richie Falgout (color) and Cody Junot (sideline) on the call.

During halftime of Saturday’s game, the UL Athletics Hall of Fame will recognize its 2017 class – Lacey Bertucci Sharp, Dion Brown, JoJo Harris, Jonathan Lucroy and the late Kim Perrot. Also during halftime, three former UL Athletics administrators – Sherry LeBas, Danny Cottonham and John Porche – will be recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Louisiana (4-5, 3-2 SBC) returns to SBC action after facing Ole Miss last week in Oxford, Miss. The Ragin’ Cajuns will wrap up their home schedule on Nov. 25 against Georgia Southern in a 4 p.m. contest before wrapping up the regular-season on Dec. 2 at Appalachian State.

GAME 10
LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt)
Head Coach: Mark Hudspeth (Delta State, 1992) • @ULCoachHud
Record at LA: 28-36* (seventh season), Career Record: 94-57* (14th season)

NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES (4-5, 2-3 Sun Belt)
Head Coach: Doug Martin (Kentucky, 1995)
Record at NM State: 14-43 (fifth season), Career Record: 43-95 (11th season)

Nov. 18, 2017 • 4:05 p.m. • Lafayette, La. • Cajun Field (41,426)
Series History: New Mexico State leads, 5-4*
At Lafayette: Louisiana leads, 4-2* | At Las Cruces: NM State leads, 3-0* | Hudspeth vs. NM State: 0-2*
First Meeting: Louisiana 31, NM State 7 • Sept. 27, 1975 at Lafayette
Last Meeting: NM State 37, Louisiana 31 (2ot) • Oct. 1, 2016 at Las Cruces

ESPN3 | WatchESPN • David Saltzman PXP • Hutson Mason Analyst
KPEL 1420 AM (Flagship) • Jay Walker PXP • Richie Falgout Analyst • Cody Junot Sideline

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
• Louisiana is one of four FBS schools (Houston, Maryland, Michigan) that have started three quarterbacks (Jordan Davis, Levi Lewis, Andre Nunez) in wins this season.
• Louisiana’s three 100-yard rushing performances this season have been recorded by freshmen (Levi Lewis, Elijah Mitchell, Trey Ragas).
• Louisiana’s 7.4 yards per carry against Ole Miss was a season-high.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns are officially 39-28-2 in Homecoming games.
• Louisiana has gone 32-for-34 (94.1 percent) when inside the opponent’s 20-yard line this season with 27 touchdowns scored. The Ragin’ Cajuns opened the season 31-for-31 in the red zone this season before a turnover on downs at South Alabama.

GAME NOTES
CALL US “LOUISIANA”
• The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® is the nickname of the University’s athletic teams. As listed by the Sun Belt Conference, the NCAA and ESPN.com, we politely ask that you refer to our athletic programs as simply “Louisiana” on first reference, or use any of the following: Ragin’ Cajuns or Cajuns.
• For all electronic sports tickers and TV crawls only, please use “LA” as the official abbreviation for all athletic programs.
• The Sun Belt Conference made public its University Reference Guide in 2016 that is used to reference each member institution’s athletic title and nicknames.  The publication of the guide comes after all of the conference’s presidents and chancellors submitted their preferred reference.
• The Sun Belt Conference will begin to use these references immediately.  Sun Belt member institutions and media partners are encouraged to use these references so that there is consistency across all communication platforms.

THE SERIES
• Louisiana and New Mexico State meet on the gridiron for the 12th time overall with the Aggies holding an official 5-4 lead in the series that dates back to the 1975 season.
• NM State has won the past two meetings in the series, including a come-from-behind 37-34 win in the last meeting at Cajun Field on Nov. 21, 2015. The Aggies claimed last year’s meeting in Las Cruces in a 37-31 double overtime decision.
• Louisiana holds an official 4-2 lead in games played in Lafayette.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns had victories in 2013 and 2014 vacated due to NCAA sanctions.

THE SHOW WILL GO ON …
• With this year’s game between Louisiana and New Mexico State being the last as conference foes for the foreseeable future, the series is not ending in the short-term future.
• With the Aggies set to become an FBS Independent in 2018, the schools will compete in a home-and-home series.
• The series will resume on Oct. 13, 2018 when the teams meet at Cajun Field before Louisiana returns to Las Cruces to face NM State on Oct. 24, 2020 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

A RAGIN’ CAJUNS VICTORY WOULD …
• improve their overall record to 5-5.
• improve their Sun Belt Conference record to 4-2.
• improve their overall home record to 3-1.
• secure their first winning record at home since 2014 (4-2 in 2014, 3-3 in 2015-16).
• officially improve Louisiana’s homecoming record to 40-28-2.
• officially give head coach Mark Hudspeth his 29th career win at Louisiana, tying him with Ray Didier (1951-56) and Sam Robertson (1980-85) for eighth-place in school history.

RAGIN’ CAJUNS COACHING EXPERIENCE
• The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns coaching staff brings a combined total of 196 years of collegiate experience to the table along with 82 bowl/postseason appearances.
• Defensive coordinator Mike Lucas (36 years) and offensive line coach Mitch Rodrigue (32 years) are the most experienced coaches on the staff with co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison (19) and Rodrigue (15) the most experienced in post-season/bowl games.
• Both coordinators for the Ragin’ Cajuns – Will Hall (West Alabama/West Georgia) and Mike Lucas (Southeastern Louisiana) have been head coaches during their collegiate careers.

#RAGINGRADS – AMONG BEST FBS PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTRY
• Louisiana is one of two in-state FBS schools (LSU) and seven Sun Belt Conference schools (Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, South Alabama, Arkansas State, Idaho and Troy) among a list of FBS schools across the country with at least five graduates on its roster.
• TE Matthew Barnes, OT Grant Horst, LB T.J. Posey and WR Devin Scott all earned their bachelor’s degrees from UL with punter Sam Geraci earning his degree from Cincinnati.
• Here is a list of FBS schools with five or more graduates on their current 2017 roster.

18 – Northwestern
14 – Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, East Carolina
13 – Toledo
12 – TCU, Alabama, Oregon, Virginia
11 – Georgia State, Kansas State, Maryland, UCF, USF
10 – Kent State, Nevada, New Mexico, South Alabama, Texas Tech, West Virginia
9 – Houston, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Temple
8 – Auburn, Clemson, Iowa, Kentucky, NC State, Northern Illinois, Ole Miss, Penn State, SMU, Syracuse, UAB, Western Kentucky
7 – Arizona State, Georgia, Kansas, Marshall, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, North Texas, Utah, Virginia Tech
6 – Akron, Arkansas State, Colorado State, Duke, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma, UMass, UTEP, UTSA, Troy, Tulsa, Washington
5 – Arkansas, Baylor, UConn, FAU, Idaho, Louisiana, LSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, USC, Washington State

TEAM CAPTAINS
• Quarterback Jordan Davis, linebacker T.J. Posey, offensive tackle Grant Horst and nose tackle Taboris Lee were voted as team captains for the 2017 season.

SBC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME COMING IN 2018
• The Sun Belt Conference will hold its first ever football championship game as the league’s presidents and chancellors, as well as athletic directors, voted unanimously to play the game beginning in 2018.  The announcement was made on June 8, 2016.
• Details regarding how the two participants will be selected will be available at a later date.  Rules set forward by the Division I Council in January require conferences with fewer than 12 members to hold championship games in football, as long as they meet one of two conditions.
• A conference can choose to either play their championship game between division winners after round-robin competition in each division or between the top two teams in the conference standings following full round-robin, regular-season competition between all members of the conference.

HUDSPETH HEADS THE SUN BELT COACHING FRATERNITY
• Now in his seventh year at Louisiana, head coach Mark Hudspeth is the dean of the Sun Belt Conference coaching fraternity, having taken over the reins of the Ragin’ Cajuns program in 2011.
• Hudspeth, in his 14th season as a head coach, spent seven years as head coach at North Alabama and was an assistant at five schools, including FBS programs Navy and Mississippi State.

CUE UP SOME WILLIE … THE CAJUNS ARE ON THE ROAD AGAIN
• For the first time since the 2011 season, Louisiana will play seven football games on the road, including trips to SEC opponents Texas A&M and Ole Miss, along with American Athletic Conference member Tulsa.
• Also on the road schedule are dates at Sun Belt Conference co-championships Arkansas State (Oct. 19) and Appalachian State (Dec. 2), plus league rivals Idaho (Oct. 7) and South Alabama (Nov. 4).

RAGIN’ CAJUNS RECEIVERS IN ELITE GROUP
• Louisiana is one of eight FBS schools to have three players record 100 receiving yards in a game during the 2017 season.
• Keenan Barnes (at Tulsa, at Texas A&M), Ryheem Malone (at Tulsa) and Jarrod Jackson (vs. ULM) have all surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark in games this season.
• Currently four players – Barnes, Malone, Jackson and Ja’Marcus Bradley – have all recorded 100-yard receiving games in their careers for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
• FBS teams with at least three players with 100 or more yards receiving in a game:

Arizona State – 5
Oklahoma State – 4
Louisiana – 3
Virginia – 3
Washington State – 3
SMU – 3
Louisiana Tech – 3
Massachusetts – 3

FORMER DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JAMES WILLIS REJOINS CAJUNS AS ANALYST
• Former defensive coordinator James Willis rejoined the Ragin’ Cajuns program as a defensive analyst during the team’s open date and will be in the booth beginning with Louisiana’s game at Idaho on Oct. 7.
• Willis served as defensive coordinator for Louisiana from 2013-14, helping lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to a pair of bowl games. He left after the 2014 season to become a defensive assistant/linebackers coach for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.
• A former Auburn standout and seven-year veteran in the NFL, Willis worked as an assistant at Rhode Island, Temple, Alabama, Auburn and Texas Tech before joining the Ragin’ Cajuns program in early 2013.

FORMER CAJUNS LUCROY, PERROT HEADLINE 2017 HALL OF FAME CLASS
• Five former Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns student-athletes, highlighted by two-time Major League Baseball All-Star Jonathan Lucroy and the late Kim Perrot, along with three legendary administrators make up the 2017 UL Lafayette Athletics Hall of Fame in an announcement by the Board of Directors of the Ragin’ Cajuns Letterman Club, an organization of former athletes who have lettered in their sport.
• Entering the University’s Hall of Fame with Lucroy and Perrot are former student-athletes Lacey Bertucci Sharp (softball), Dion Brown (men’s basketball) and JoJo Harris (women’s track and field). Entering the Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement are longtime administrators Danny Cottonham, Sherry LeBas and John Porche.
• The 2017 class will be inducted into the UL Lafayette Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 17 and will be recognized during halftime of the 2017 Homecoming football game against New Mexico State on Nov. 18 at Cajun Field.

About Andy Bryson 572 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach