Louisiana had to endure over a two-hour rain delay and lost their starting quarterback to injury in the first quarter, but the Cajuns responded with a dominant 41-21 win over the UAB Blazers Saturday night in Birmingham.
Louisiana benefitted from a great performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Zeon Chriss as well as freshman receiver Harvey Broussard to score 27 straight points after the weather delay.
“Ben will be out for the foreseeable future”
Quarterback Ben Wooldridge suffered an injury to his lower body on the team’s first offensive possession of the game. He walked off the field with the help of trainers before being carted to the locker room and not returning. Head coach Michael Desormeaux offered an update on the senior quarterback.
“Ben’s not going to require surgery,” Desormeaux said at his Monday press conference. “He will be out for a significant amount of time, the foreseeable future for sure. We’re going to support him and do everything we can for him because one thing we’ve learned about him (Wooldridge) is his resolve and determination to come back. This is something they (the medical team) feel like, by the end of the year, maybe 4-6 weeks, he’ll get himself in a position to come back.”
This is a hard injury to swallow for Louisiana as Wooldridge missed the final four games of 2022 with a torn ACL and worked rigorously to return in time for the start of the 2023 season.
Zeon Chriss is ready to lead this team
Although Desormeaux didn’t come out and directly say it, it feels like Chriss will be the starter in Wooldridge’s absence, especially with the way he came in and played against UAB. The redshirt freshman from Baton Rouge went 14-20 for 174 yards and a score while rushing for 103 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
Wooldridge will be out for several weeks, and although it may be a small sample size, the way the offense operated under Chriss was just too good to ignore. While Wooldridge is away, it will be interesting to see if Chriss stays the starter or if Desormeaux will go in a different direction.
The defense looked spectacular
After an up-and-down first two games, the Louisiana defense went up in a big way on Saturday against UAB. LaMar Morgan’s group had seven sacks and two interceptions in the contest, their first interceptions of the young season. Currently, the Cajuns have 15 sacks through three games, good for second-best in the country. Players like Jordan Lawson, Tyler Guidry, and KC Ossai have stepped up in big ways for this young corps and it’ll be fun to see how they develop as the season progresses.
After a big win on the road, Louisiana returns home to play a Buffalo team that is full of veteran experience. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. from Cajun Field at Our Lady of Lourdes Stadium and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.