Mark Hudspeth and Louisiana - Lafayette came tantalizingly close to one of the biggest wins in school history on Saturday. Leading 20-13 with just under four minutes to play, the Ragin' Cajuns allowed Florida to march 49 yards in 1:14 to tie the game, and then block a punt on ULL's ensuing possession that Jelani Jenkins returned 36 yards for a score with two seconds to go. Ballgame. Florida 27, Louisiana - Lafayette 20.
"Our guys battled their rear ends off for four quarters," Hudspeth said on the field after the game. "I really believed they were going to win this football game."
Louisiana - Lafayette could have put the game away early in the fourth quarter when, leading 17-13, it could not turn a first-and-goal at the 7 yard-line into a touchdown.
Hudspeth offered perspective on what the close call says about his program's progress.
"This is the seventh-ranked team in the country, on the road in a hostile environment, and our guys made plays when they needed to," explained Hudspeth. "And then we didn't make a play at the end when we had to. I hate for that to happen, for the game to end that way. Our kids really battled. I think it showed we're making progress with our team."
The Sun Belt owns two victories over the SEC this season, and Saturday marked at least the third near miss for the Sun Belt: Auburn's 31-28 overtime squeaker over ULM, Tennessee's 55-48 shootout survival of Troy and Florida's blocked punt escape of the Ragin' Cajuns.