Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns have won their first-ever Division I bowl game, upending the San Diego St. Aztecs, 32-30, in the 2011 New Orleans Bowl. They came out hot, played like madmen, bled from their foreheads, took every available risk and made endless mistakes, but in the end, the team that wanted to win more did.
Blaine Gautier was heroic, throwing for 469 yards, including the game-winning drive, and taking shots aplenty while dealing with constant center exchange issues. Ladarius Green and Javone Lawson combined for 275 of those yards. SDSU's Ryan Lindley was quite impressive as well, producing 413 yards despite facing a blazing fast secondary and lacking the running game the Aztecs have relied on all year.
With six minutes left, the Aztecs pulled within two on a Adam Muema run up the middle, and ULL's many and creative special teams mishaps from earlier in the evening loomed large.
In response, Darryl Surgent made a one-handed, self-tipping catch while having his arm yanked, gaining 55 yards despite being interfered with. In true UL-Lafayette fashion, some snapping difficulties followed, but a spectacular Lawson catch (while being interfered with) later and it was first-and-goal. A successful field goal followed, shrinking San Diego State's window.
The Aztecs followed with a two-minute drive, needing a touchdown. With a minute left, Lindley ran for a first down to ULL's 30. Fullback Chad Young took a screen inside the red zone. He struck a seam-splitting Colin Lockett from 12 yards out with 35 seconds left to give SDSU its first lead since early in the first quarter. The two-point attempt was no good.
With just seconds remaining, Gautier powered the Aztecs within range of a 55-yard field goal try for Brett Baer. A penalty drew him within 50, but it would've been good from the original distance.
The nation's third-leading rusher, SDSU's Ronnie Hillman, may have seen his profile dinged just a bit. He averaged only two yards per carry, but it's hard to do much beyond that when the athletically superior opposition is clearly keyed to shut down the run.
For more on this game, visit Big East blog Big East Coast Bias and Mountain West blog Mountain West Connection. Surely one of those covers SDSU. For more college football, stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news coverage. And visit our many college football blogs.