November 28, 2015
23 - 17
SENIOR SAFETY CEDRICK TILLMAN'S DIVING INTERCEPTION SEALED THE WIN FOR LOUISIANA
It took a diving interception by Cedrick Tillman in the endzone on fourth and goal with six seconds left in the game for Louisiana to put away Arkansas State in a game that turned out to be the closest the Cajuns have played this season.
Louisiana trailed 10-7 after the first quarter with Arkansas State scoring first when DeZmond Stegall connected with J.D. McKissic for a 25 yard score. Stegall would throw for 328 yards and a pair of scores, using McKissic and former Michigan receiver Jehu Chesson heavily.
Lousiana, who was without starting quarterback Brooks Haack, tied the game when Jalen Nixon found Adam Savoie for a 56 yard score on a seam route.
Arkansas State added a field goal by Victor Barrett later in the quarter.
Louisiana kicker Jeffrey Yatkowski added a pair of field goals in the second quarter and the Cajuns led 13-10 at halftime.
Nixon was dragged down awkwardly, twisting his leg under his body late in the second quarter and did not return to the game, leaving redshirt sophomore Matt Hayden as the only available quarterback.
Hayden would extend the Louisiana lead when he found Scott Austin on a deep crossing route for a 37 yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Yatkowski added a 19 yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to put the Cajuns on top 23-10.
Late in the game Stegall found McKissic deep down the left sideline when he got the Louisiana secondary with a double move. McKissic had a six yard cushion when he crossed the goalline on the 56 yard scoring play.
Following a Louisiana punt Arkansas State took possession on their own 20 yard line with 1:29 left to play. After a pair of completions to runningback Michael Gordon brought them out to the 40 yard line Stegall connected with Cheson for a gain of 33 yards. After spiking the ball and an incompletion Stegall hit tight end Darion Griswold for a gain of 27 yards, putting the ball at the one yard line. After another spike Stegall hit tight end Jonah Hill on a swing route but he was quickly brought down behind the line by Louisiana linebacker George Hill. Stegall's next pass was batted down, bringing up a fourth and goal from the three yard line with six seconds left to play.
Stegall took the snap and dropped back, the protection was good. McKissic, who had lined up wide left, planted and made a in cut on a slant. There was a moment of opportunity when McKissic got a step on Jevante Watson and Stegall led him but Tillman was there to make a diving interception and came down with the ball clean to end the game.
"What a play!" Coach Porter Davis said after the game. "As a coach you hope to call the right plays to get players in position to have an opportunity to make a play like that. The stars aligned on that one and Cedrick made a heck of a play!"
Defensive end Dominique Tovell notably recorded his 15th sack of the season, breaking his own record of 14 from last season. When asked about his personal success Tovell just wanted to talk about the great team effort it took to get the win.
Jalen Nixon will be evaluated Monday but Coach Porter did not believe he would be available for next week's regular season finale against Louisiana-Monroe. Brooks Haack's status has been stated as day to day. If neither of them can go then Matt Hayden, who finished the day 4/4 for 75 yards and a score, would get the start. The team would then likely burn freshman Rashad Brooks redshirt status to make him available as a backup.
ARKANSAS STATE'S J.D. MCKISSIC PUTS UP THE FIRST POINTS OF THE GAME
ADAM SAVOIE ATTEMPTS TO QUIET THE CROWD AFTER HIS LONG TOUCHDOWN
JALEN NIXON LANDED AWKWARDLY ON THIS PLAY AND DID NOT RETUNR TO THE GAME
SCOTT AUSTIN JUST GETS INTO THE ENDZONE ON THIS SCORE
MCKISSIC'S LATE SCORE PUT ARKANSAS STATE WITHIN SIX POINTS
1Q ARST J. McKissic 25 Yd pass from D. Stegall (V. Barrett kick)
1Q ULL A. Savoie 56 Yd pass from J. Nixon (J. Yatkowski kick)
1Q ARST V. Barrett 37 Yd FG
2Q ULL J. Yatkowski 22 Yd FG
2Q ULL J. Yatkowski 18 Yd FG
3Q ULL S. Austin 37 Yd pass from M. Hayden (J. Yatkowski kick)
4Q ULL J. Yatkowski 19 Yd FG
4Q ARST J. McKissic 56 Yd pass from D. Stegall (V. Barrett kick)
Key Player Stats
Passing: J. Nixon 4/6 92Yds 1TD, M. Hayden 4/4 75Yds 1TD
Rushing: K. Hicks 15/47, E. Reed 9/41, J. Nixon 5/26
Receiving: A. Savoie 2/74 1TD, S. Austin 3/45 1TD
Tackles: C. Polk 7, J. Rainey 6, D. Tovell 4
Sacks: D. Tovell 1, C. Prater 1
Interceptions: C. Tillman 1
Special Teams: J. Yatkowski 3/3FG 2/2XP, E. Reed 96 Ret YD
Passing: D. Stegall 21/39 328Yds 2TD 1Int
Rushing: K. Daniels 3/20, J. McKissic 1/7
Receiving: J. McKissic 3/112 2TD, J. Chesson 4/70, D. Griswold 4/69
Tackles: Q. Struble 9, J. Fulcher 7, Q. Heath 7
Sacks: B. Williams 1, Q. Heath 1
Special Teams: V. Barrett 1/1FG 2/2XP, J. McKissic 46 Ret YD
Key ULL Defensive Stats
Points Allowed: 17
First Downs: 14
Total/Rush/Pass Yards: 358/30/328
Coach Davis' Take
Jalen played very well while he was in there and we hated to see him get hurt like that. Matt came in and got the job done and the defense was able to step up when we needed them to and secure a very close win for us there.
Coach Davis' Player of the Game
QB M. Hayden 4/4 75Yds 1TD, FS C. Tillman game sealing pick.
7-4 (5-2) | 11-0 (7-0)