* Has the injury bug caught up to the Ragin' Cajuns, and does not having Blaine Gautier taking snaps at quarterback make that big a difference to the entire team?
* Has the UL defense been exposed as ordinary if that unit doesn't either force or benefit from turnovers?
* Most important, can the Cajuns regroup against a rugged schedule over the next four weeks and still reach bowl eligibility, which this year will likely still mean a bowl bid?
The answers, in order: Yes, yes and possibly.
The Cajuns have been a walking-wounded corps offensively for the past month, and it's caught up with them in the last two games. Against North Texas in a surprising 30-23 loss and again Tuesday night, UL showed little consistency in moving the ball and finishing drives.
Most of that has to do with turnovers — seven of them in the last six quarters, including five on Tuesday from the quarterback position.
"Five turnovers, and didn't get any," said an exasperated coach Mark Hudspeth. "That's critical. We did such a good job of that early, and that's disappointing."
Defensively, in addition to not forcing ASU to give up the ball once, the Cajuns allowed 526 offensive yards to a Red Wolves team that only collected 316 one game earlier against new league member South Alabama. ASU had 13 possessions on Tuesday and scored on 10 of those — five touchdowns and five field goals from Brian Davis, three of them from 29 or fewer yards.
"We've got to cause some turnovers," Hudspeth said. "That's one of our plans to win, is win the turnover battle. If we won the turnover battle, we would have won the game tonight."
That's saying a lot in a 23-point game, but the Cajuns did enough on the offensive side to possibly do that had they not turned the ball over. UL had 450 offensive yards, 388 of those coming from quarterback Terrance Broadway, and scored on all of its red-zone trips. But Broadway, starting for the third game due to Gautier's broken left (throwing) hand, was picked off three times and had two fumbles while being sacked.
The loss — the first at home since Hudspeth became head coach prior to last year, a string of eight straight games — drops the Cajuns to 4-3 and 2-2 in the league heading into a Nov. 3 road battle against Sun Belt Conference leader UL Monroe (5-2, 3-0). After that, it's a trip to face a top-five team in Florida, and then back home to meet a Western Kentucky squad that has crunched the Cajuns two straight years, and which led 28-7 against ULM before stumbling for the entire second half.
If UL doesn't win one of those, they'll need to win the two season finales — the Nov. 24 final home game against South Alabama and the Dec. 1 regular-season wrapup at Florida Atlantic — just to finish at bowl-eligible 6-6. Those two teams are a combined 3-11 overall heading into this weekend.
The future silver lining is that, even with a 6-6 overall mark and a 4-4 Sun Belt record, UL will still be in a position to play in its second straight bowl game. Since several teams are not eligible to play bowls this year — Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina — and with several FBS teams losing games to FCS opponents, whether 70 teams out of the currently 117 eligible FBS teams makes it to bowl eligibility is an iffy proposition.
The NCAA board of directors last week approved some additional regulations to ensure that bowls will be filled with teams, setting up pools of available teams, but the first priority will go to teams that meet the current requirements. That means that 6-6 teams are pretty much assured of bowl bids, depending on what happens between now and early December.
UL isn't thinking about that right now, though. The Cajuns have to be more concerned about holding onto the football, and taking it away from their opponents. That's what they did last year, when they went 9-4 and won the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. And that's the biggest thing they're not doing right now.
Authorities said that a Chevron Corp. subsidiary was still releasing natural gas Sunday from a pipeline off the Louisiana coast where a Saturday incident killed a maintenance worker.
Meet the WWMB Class of 2014, extraordinary women guiding our exceptional community
Software development center represents third such project in Hub City this year.
Elizabeth Abdalla and Abform are poised for a new era of growth.
Lafayette’s most highly regarded attorneys were honored by their own at the Hall of Fame Banquet sponsored by the Lafayette Bar Association.
Collaboration and relationships give you the help you want — and the help you need.
A look at recent promotions, hirings and recognitions from Acadiana's business community.
Who doesn’t like grilled cheese?
There has been much progress in the 50 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed, but there is still work to be done.
Amid widespread criticism, two former U.S. senators say they are not lobbying Congress on behalf of a shady Russian bank, although a federal disclosure suggests otherwise.
Banks are the ones taking the financial hit for retail security breaches, and that just doesn’t seem fair.
It’s time to embrace a new regional model for economic development.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 1,961 from the previous week's total of 2,237. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,190 claims.
Hurry, rush to Jersey’s Daiquiris Sports Bar in Broussard for a cold one because at noon tomorrow its license is suspended for two months by the state!
The feds say Donald Domingues reported $259,725 as income and paid $64,909 in taxes but he allegedly failed to mention a $351,000 sales commission, which would have bumped his income up to just over $610,000 and his tax liability to $186,000.
Year-to-date sales are outpacing 2013 by 4.7 percent.
“The connector is a crucial part of the larger I-49 South project from Lafayette to New Orleans that would convert U.S. 90 into an interstate-quality roadway.” — U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu
Despite what was said at a coastal forum in New Orleans last month, oil and gas insiders contend a settlement is not in the stars for the massive lawsuit filed against nearly 100 energy companies by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.
Environmentalists, fishermen and others are celebrating a federal judge's ruling that could mean $18 billion in additional fines for BP over the nation's worst oil spill.
St. Louis-based Perficient Inc. says it will establish a software development center in Louisiana that is expected to create 245 jobs.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's ruling Thursday could nearly quadruple the amount of civil penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with oil from BP's Macondo well in 2010.
Co-founder Ryan Trahan goes solo to keep it local.
Halliburton's agreement to pay more than $1 billion to settle numerous claims involving the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be a way for the company and victims of the spill to avoid years of costly litigation — if all the pieces fall into place.
BP says it recently obtained correspondence between Patrick Juneau's Lafayette law firm and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility showing he argued for liberal compensation, flexible documentation requirements and other terms that would help Louisiana claimants at BP's expense.
A replacement is expected by January to fill the vacancy left when Greg Roberts resigned after allegedly pointing a fake gun at an engineer during a June meeting.