Football notebook: ULL out to bounce back after Florida loss

Mark Hudspeth/

Lucas Aulbach

WKU and Louisiana-Lafayette have each had done well against the SEC this season.

The Toppers beat Kentucky in overtime back in September, marking their first win over an SEC team in school history and one of the the biggest wins in years for the program.

The Ragin’ Cajuns, meanwhile, came awfully close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the season last Saturday when they lost to No. 6 Florida 27-20. ULL led for much of the game before giving up the winning score on a blocked punt with two seconds left.

ULL coach Mark Hudspeth said that close loss has his team feeling confident heading into the weekend.

“Obviously the kids were disappointed, but the confidence level has obviously improved,” he said. “We’ve played awfully well in the last two weeks so I’m hoping we’re starting to hit our stride.”

Coach Willie Taggart said those two games are a part of a larger trend of Sun Belt Conference schools playing well against top NCAA competition.

“It just shows we’ve got a good conference,” he said. “The perception is that, ‘OK, it’s SEC and they should do this and do that,’ but those days are over with.”

Taggart not underplaying importance of ULL game

Another day, another biggest game in WKU’s history.

Taggart and others have called several games this season the most important in the history of the program, but he said considering the stakes, Saturday’s game against the Ragin’ Cajuns is the latest biggest game ever.

“The (2002) national championship was big, but considering where we’re at now, Division I and what we’re trying to do, this game here is one of the biggest in WKU’s history,” he said on Thursday.

WKU (6-4, 3-3 SBC) likely needs to win its last two games to assure it earns a berth to what would be the bowl game in school history at the end of the year. Last season the Toppers finished 7-5 and were excluded from the postseason.

Taggart said he would rather not have to worry about sneaking in at 7-5 this year.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us this week, so we have to go in there and take care of business and not leave anything out there,” he said. “We know what 7-5 got us last year and we’ve got to play ball.”

ULL is led on offense by quarterback Terrance Broadway, a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays with his feet if he can’t find an open man.

“Our D-line has to do a good job of containing him — he’s a tremendous athlete,” Taggart said about the quarterback.

Toppers spending next two weeks off Twitter

With his team riding a two-game losing streak, Taggart had a request for the Toppers as they prepared for this Saturday’s game — recommit to the team.

That means spending the next two weeks off of Twitter, which the coach said could be distracting to his players.

“I don’t mind you reading it, just don’t type anything,” Taggart said he told his team. “For two weeks, don’t get involved in anything other than WKU football and going to school and being the best person that you can be and see where that takes us.”

WKU has two games left before the Toppers can get back on Twitter. The team will take on ULL at 6 p.m. on Saturday and play its last game of the regular season a week later against North Texas.

Other notes

– Junior safety Brett Harrington and sophomore safety Cam Thomas will take the place of senior safety Tyree Robinson in the first half of Saturday’s game, Taggart said. Robinson was suspended by WKU for a personal foul penalty he received against Florida Atlantic.

– Despite giving up 335 yards and 37 points against FAU last Saturday, WKU still leads the Sun Belt in total defense. The Toppers rank No. 1 in rush defense and No. 3 in pass defense.

– ULL kicker Brett Baer leads the Sun Belt in average scoring with 8.7 points per game.