Dec 19, 2011 11:40 AM by UL Sports Information
Brett Baer's 50-yard field goal as time expired lifted Louisiana to a 32-30 victory over San Diego State Saturday evening in the 2011 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in front of a record crowd of 42,841.
Trailing 30-29 with 35 seconds remaining, Blaine Gautier capped off a record-setting performance of 470 yards passing by directing Louisiana (9-4) into SDSU territory for Baer's game clincher.
Starting at the UL 18, Gautier completed back-to-back passes to Javone Lawson that covered 39 yards and moved the Cajuns to the SDSU 43.
Gautier found Harry Peoples on the sideline for five yards to the SDSU 38 to move into the 50-yard field goal range, then a five-yard penalty against the Aztecs (8-5) moved Baer and the Cajuns a little closer to victory.
Baer successfully converted the 50-yard field goal as time expired - his first career 50-yard field goal make - to give UL its first nine-win season since 1976.
Prior to Baer's heroics, the Aztecs had marched 10 plays in 69 yards capped off by a Ryan Lindley touchdown pass to Colin Lockett that gave SDSU a 30-29 lead.
"That was probably a fitting way to end our season because we have had so many of those type of games this year...you probably couldn't have scripted one any better," Ragin' Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth said. "Once again our guys win on hard work. They win on belief. They win on knowing they are never out.
"They make plays when they had to make plays, and they beat a very good football team tonight," Hudspeth added. "Once again no one gave us a chance to win. And for these guys to come from 120 in the nation to start this year to a 9-4 team and the New Orleans Bowl Champions says a lot about the character of these young men."
Gautier's 470 yards passing established an R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl record. He eclipsed the previous record of 387 passing yards set by Troy's Corey Robinson (vs. Ohio in 2010). The performance increased his season total to 2,958 yards which is the most in a single season besting the previous mark of 2,901 set by Jake Delhomme in 1996.
Gautier threw for three touchdown passes increasing his season total to 23 which surpassed the previous single-season record of 20 set by Jake Delhomme in 1995 and 1996.
"It's just a wonderful feeling to do so much in one night and to get the win," Gautier said. "That's what it was all about. The records are just an addition. We fight so hard as a team and we always talk about the fourth quarter being our quarter. We are all going to share this moment and it's something that is going to go down in history."
Lawson joined Gautier in the history book after posting 193 yards on nine catches to become only the third Cajuns receiver to post 1,000-plus yards in a season.
Lawson's touchdown catches tied the school record for touchdowns scored in a bowl game set by former Cajuns Director of Athletics Nelson Schexnayder in the 1970 Grantland Rice Bowl.
Aberlardo Perez gave the Aztecs a 3-0 lead after his 27-yard attempt was true at the 9:53 mark in the first quarter.
With 25 seconds left in the first quarter, the Cajuns grabbed a 6-3 advantage on an 18-yard touchdown strike from Gautier to Lawson. The extra point attempt was blocked.
The Cajuns increased their lead to 13-3 on an electrifying 87-yard punt return for touchdown by Darryl Surgent at the 14:00 mark in the second quarter. The punt return for touchdown was the first by a UL player since Nick Dugas returned a punt 68 yards for a TD against Minnesota in 2002. It was also the first punt return for a touchdown in the history of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
UL quickly added to its lead at the start of the second half going 73 yards on three plays in 59 seconds to make the score 19-3 on a 20-yard TD connection from Gautier to Ladarius Green. Baer would miss his second PAT of the game hitting the left upright after the touchdown.
San Diego State capitalized on a long kick return by Lockett to pull within nine points after a 16-yard touchdown pass from Lindley to Lockett at the 12:54 mark in the third quarter.
Later in the third quarter, Lindley hooked up with Lockett for another 16-yard TD strike in the back of the end zone to make the score 19-17 UL with 3:40 left in the quarter.
Gautier connected with Lawson for his second TD reception of the contest with an 11-yard TD reception with 12:48 left in the game to extend the Louisiana edge to 26-17.
Date: Dec 17, 2011 • Site: New Orleans, La. • Stadium: Superdome • Attendance: 42841
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
San Diego State 3 0 14 13 30
UL 6 7 6 13 32
SCORING SUMMARY SDSU -UL
1st 09:35 SDSU PEREZ, Abelardo 27 yd field goal
11 plays, 53 yards, TOP 5:25 3 - 0
00:25 UL Lawson, Javone 18 yd pass from Gautier, Blaine (Baer, Brett kick blockd)
10 plays, 80 yards, TOP 3:48 3 - 6
2nd 14:00 UL Surgent, Darryl 87 yd punt return (Baer, Brett kick)
3 - 13
3rd 14:01 UL Green, Ladarius 20 yd pass from Gautier, Blaine (Baer, Brett kick failed)
3 plays, 73 yards, TOP 0:59 3 - 19
12:54 SDSU LOCKETT, Colin 16 yd pass from LINDLEY, Ryan (PEREZ, Abelardo kick)
2 plays, 41 yards, TOP 1:07 10 - 19
03:40 SDSU LOCKETT, Colin 16 yd pass from LINDLEY, Ryan (PEREZ, Abelardo kick)
7 plays, 99 yards, TOP 3:05 17 - 19
4th 12:48 UL Lawson, Javone 11 yd pass from Gautier, Blaine (Baer, Brett kick)
14 plays, 78 yards, TOP 5:52 17 - 26
05:40 SDSU MUEMA, Adam 5 yd run (PEREZ, Abelardo kick)
10 plays, 55 yards, TOP 3:37 24 - 26
02:09 UL Baer, Brett 22 yd field goal
10 plays, 72 yards, TOP 3:31 24 - 29
00:35 SDSU LOCKETT, Colin 12 yd pass from LINDLEY, Ryan (LINDLEY, Ryan pass failed)
10 plays, 69 yards, TOP 1:34 30 - 29
00:00 UL Baer, Brett 50 yd field goal
5 plays, 49 yards, TOP 0:35 30 - 32
Kickoff time: 8:02 pm • End of Game: 11:52 • Total elapsed time: 3:50
Referee: Randy Christal • Umpire: Jim Adams • Linesman: Cal McNeil • Line judge: Kelly Deterding • Back judge: Corey Luxner • Field judge: J Taylor • Side judge: Ed Vinzant • Scorer: Kevin DeRamus •
Temperature: 69 • Wind: N/A • Weather: N/A (Indoors)
Highest attendance in New Orleans Bowl history.