After Louisiana’s horrific loss at the hands of Rice last Saturday, the youngster started running back Chris Smith had a message for the winners.
“Thank you, Rice,” Smith tweeted in the hours after the 33-21 loss to Rajin Cagons (2-1).
It was the first loss by UL in more than a calendar year, the opening game of the 2021 season in Texas, after 15 consecutive games, which was the longest in the country.
“For me, it was a wake-up call for us,” Smith said on Wednesday. “Everyone was thinking about last year’s team, that streak we had. This is not this year’s team.” “This year’s team is what we have to do this year to win the Sun Belt, what we have to do to win the ball match.”
Since UL lost Rice, Smith and other players have echoed the reason for the game’s decline. Louisiana coach Michael DeSormo blamed the loss, saying he needed to do a better job preparing his team.
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What was most important to the team, DeSormo said, was not to let “one loss turn into two.”
“It’s all about getting back on track,” Smith added. “This loss hurts us. We want to win all of them, but obviously you can’t win all of them. Losing will make us realize we have to go out there and play every week and we can’t take any opponent lightly.”
“We have to carry energy as a team. We have to stay awake and start fast and finish strong.”
Smith said he felt it was important for players to let themselves feel hurt, a feeling that Cajuns had not had for some time.
“I haven’t felt that emotional since my last year of high school losing the state championship,” he said. “For me, it was like losing a state championship game.” “We wanted to win them all. She lost that game and now she’s wondering what ball game we’re going to play. How are we going to finish the season? Either it’s negative for us or we’re turning it into positive.”
“Now, we have to let that go. We lost. It’s time to move on. We got[Louisiana Monroe]. They go to us as best they can. How we respond will depend on us.”
UL doesn’t have time to get away from a road trip to Monroe to unlock a Sun Belt against the Warhawks (1-2). This week, DeSormo and his players, who have won the Western title in the past three seasons, put a premium on division games, said DeSormo.
The Cajuns have won four consecutive points over ULM but six of the last eight Battle on the Bayou series matches have been decided by seven points or less. Focusing all of Louisiana will be critical.
“This match is very important,” DeSormo said.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his coverage of the Tigers and Cajuns on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Do you have questions about LSU/UL athletics? Send it to Cory Diaz at [email protected].