LAFAYETTE — University of Louisiana running back Chris Smith nearly returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against South Alabama.
Smith didn’t quite make it into the end zone in Saturday’s 20-18 road win as he took the opening kickoff 87 yards. The redshirt sophomore running back-kick returner did have a stellar night, returning four kickoffs for 137 yards.
For that performance, Smith was named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week.
The 2020 All-American has returned 10 kickoffs this season for 280 yards, while also adding 231 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns and hauling in six receptions for 36 yards.
Smith is the second Ragin’ Cajun to earn weekly SBC honors this season after Montrell Johnson was named SBC Offensive Player of the Week following Louisiana’s win over Ohio.
Louisiana (4-1, 2-0 SBC) will host Appalachian State (4-1, 2-0 SBC) on Tuesday. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
According to this week’s latest projections, the Ragin’ Cajuns won’t be traveling too far for bowl season.
Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller, CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, Athlon Sports’ Steven Lassan and Action Network’s Brett McMurphy all have Louisiana playing in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl on Dec. 18.
Louisiana’s opponents are different among the four with the team projected to take on Charlotte (Miller), Louisiana Tech (Palm), UAB (Lassan) and UTSA (McMurphy).
The other projections have the Ragin’ Cajuns traveling to either Alabama or Florida.
Sporting News reporter Bill Bender has them playing Kent State in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery on Dec. 25, and USA Today’s Erick Smith has the team playing Buffalo in the Lending Tree Bowl in Mobile on Dec. 18.
Yahoo Sports has Louisiana facing Florida Atlantic in the Cure Bowl in Orlando on Dec. 17.