My Favorite Cajun Football Games – Part One – From the Bird’s Nest
With my 300th Cajuns' football broadcast coming up this Saturday, several have asked me about my favorite...and least favorite...Cajuns' games I've been a part of, either as a play by play man or color analyst. Over the next four days I'll count them down.
Today, my favorites #10-#6
#10--CHERY GOES WILD--LOUISIANA 59, NORTH TEXAS 30--FOUTS FIELD, DENTON, TX 10/11/2008
In the early days of the Sun Belt Football Conference, North Texas was the team we all wanted to be. They won the first four Sun Belt titles and dominated the league. But after (inexplicably) firing Darrell Dickey and replacing him with Southlake HS coach Todd Dodge.
It was an idea whose time had not come.
The 2008 Ragin' Cajuns were one of the more exciting teams to watch. Quarterback Michael Desormeaux and running back Tyrell Fenroy were seniors.
But this night belonged to Jason Chery.
The Cajuns' wide receiver scored on an 81 yard run on the Cajuns' second possession. Later in the quarter, he snagged a 17 yard touchdown pass from Desormeaux and, just over two minutes later, caught a 49 yard bomb for his third touchdown, giving the Cajuns a 21-10 lead. After a field goal, Chery returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and later in the quarter, scored on 57 yard pass play.
Five touchdowns, all in the first half.
For the game, Chery had three rushes for 85 yards, three catches for 123 yards and the kickoff return Desormeaux rushed for 130, Fenroy added 93 and the Cajuns rolled up 590 yards of offense and won 59-30.
#9--FOUR IN A ROW FOR JAKE--USL 37, LOUISIANA TECH 31--JOE AILLET STADIUM, RUSTON, LA. SEPTEMBER 28, 1996
The Cajuns won two Big West Conference championships during Jake Delhomme's tenure the the USL quarterback. But by 1996, the Cajuns were back to being an independent. The Cajuns headed to face Louisiana Tech in Ruston with a 2-2 record. Tech was 2-1.
The Cajuns jumped out to a 21-7 lead thanks in part to a Delhomme touchdown pass of 78 yards to Brandon Stokley. But Tech tied the game at the end of the first half. Kenyon Cotton scored a pair of second half touchdowns and the Cajuns had a 37-28 lead in the fourth quarter. A field goal with 3:11 left made it a one possession game.
Louisiana Tech had two time outs and the Cajuns needed a first down. But USL was faced with third and 12 from its own 18 yard line. Decision time. Run the ball and force Tech to use its last time out and give them one last possession...or throw the football and risk giving the 'Dogs the ball back with a time out to spare.
No decision to make. After all, Jake Delhomme was the Cajuns' quarterback. He found Donald Richard for a first town at the 32 and the Cajuns ran out the clock. And, Jake Delhomme left Ruston having beaten Louisiana Tech four straight times.
#8--A POWER FIVE "W"--LOUISIANA 17, KANSAS STATE 15--CAJUN FIELD--SEPTEMBER 12, 2009
Bill Snyder brought his Kansas State Wildcats to Cajun Field for an early season contest. The Cajuns had said goodbye to Tyrell Fenroy and Michael Desormeaux and expectations were up in the air. Kansas State scored on a safety, but the Cajuns scored twice in the second quarter on an Undrea Sails 13 yard run and a pass from Chris Masson to Luke Aubrey and took a 14-2 lead at the half. But the Cajuns' offense couldn't get untracked in the second half and Kansas State scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to take a 15-14 lead.
With 3:50 to go, Louisiana had one last chance from its own 33. Mason hit Ladarius Green on a third down play to the K-State 42. Sails picked up another at the Wildcats' 30. But after three straight incomplete passes the Cajuns faced fourth down. Coach Rickey Bustle sent Tyler Albrecht into the game for a field goal attempt, the first of his career. Albrecht calmly nailed the 48 yard attempt with :37 left to win it for the Cajuns.
#7--TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS AND WORKING OVERTIME--LOUISIANA 57, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 51 (4OT)--FLOYD STADIUM, MURFREESBORO, TN, NOVEMBER 15, 2003.
Neither team set the world on fire as the 2003 season drew to a close. The Cajuns were 3-8 entering the game. MTSU was 3-7. And, only 4,311 showed up to see it.
Those that stayed away missed a classic.
The Cajuns led 20-10 entering the fourth quarter but the Blue Raiders put on a furious comeback and took a 34-27 lead with 2:47 left to play. But Jerry Babb engineered a 10 play, 84 yard drive, completing five of six passes, three to Dwight Lindon, to open the drive. With the ball on the Raiders' 25 yard line, Babb hit Bill Sampy for 14 yards and Fred Stamps for nine, and with just :26 remaining, found Sampy for the two yard touchdown to send the game to overtime tied at 34.
Middle Tennessee scored first and Babb answered with a touchdown pass to Stamps. In the second overtime, Lindon scored on a one yard run,, but the Blue Raiders answered to the the game at 48. The teams traded field goals in the third overtime and Babb scored from a yard out to give the Cajuns the lead. The Cajuns' defense would make that score stand, as Antonio Floyd got a sack and David Prater intercepted a pass to end the 3:48 marathon. Babb finished with 435 yards passing on 37-56 with four touchdowns. Stamps caught 13 of those passes for 201 yards.
#6--"AFTER FURTHER REVIEW"--LOUISIANA 24, ARKANSAS STATE 19--CAJUN FIELD--NOVEMBER 26, 2016
If you looked at the stats, it was a game the Cajuns had no business winning.
Arkansas State came in 6-0 in conference play and they were a big favorite against the Cajuns on Senior Night. They led in first downs, 28-15. They led in rushing yardage 128-50 and passing yardage 393-242. They ran 90 plays to 51 for the Cajuns.
The Red Wolves got on the board first on a touchdown pass from Justice Hansen to Dijon Paschal, but the Cajuns tied the score when Taboris Lee picked off Hansen and returned the INT 17 yards to tie the game. Arkansas State drove 81 yards to the goal line, but the Cajuns stuffed Johnston White on fourth down and the Red Wolves came away with no points. That proved to be a momentum changer as Anthony Jennings drove the Cajuns 99 yards on eleven plays, hitting Elijah McGuire with a 14 yard touchdown pass to give the Cajuns a 14-7 lead. The Cajuns' defense forced two punts on the next two possessions and Louisiana went to the locker room with a seven point lead.
Arkansas State drove to the UL three yard line but had to settle for a field goal, cutting the lead to 14-10. But it was 21-10 two plays later as Jennings hit Ja'Marcus Bradley for 42 yards and Al Riles for the 32 yard touchdown to make the score 21-10. Arkansas State then drove 47 yards but missed a field goal. They then drove 55 yards on their next possession, but again settled for a field goal, cutting the Cajuns lead to 21-13 early in the fourth quarter.
Stevie Artigue answered with a field goal of his own with 10:24 to play, but Arkansas State answered just over a minute later with a touchdown to cut the score to 24-19 with just over nine minutes to play. The two point conversion was no good and that play would loom large.
The Red Wolves had one last chance, taking over at their own 20 with 2:54 to play. Hansen converted a pair of third downs and then hit three straight passes to move the football to the Cajuns' 11 yard line. Hansen threw three straight incompletions, leaving the Red Wolves with fourth down with nine seconds left.
Hansen scrambled but only got as far as the seven yard line before Mario Osborne got to him. As Hansen was going down, he lateraled the ball to no one in particular. Offensive lineman Joseph Bacchus got the ball on a bounce and lumbered into the end zone to win the game for the Red Wolves, sending their bench into a frenzy.
But replay showed Hansen's knee was on the ground when he made the lateral. Osborne's tackle was the game winner and Louisiana had a most improbable victory.