Louisiana-Lafayette 17, Kansas St. 15
Watching from the sideline with the clock winding down and his team on a final desperate drive, Tyler Albrecht knew his first collegiate field goal attempt was going to be a big one.
He was ready for the moment.
The junior calmly nailed a 48-yarder with 32 seconds left to give Louisiana-Lafayette a 17-15 victory over Kansas State on Saturday night.
“When they went up on us 15-14 I started preparing mentally,” Albrecht said. “I knew if we got down there it was going to be up to me.”
Albrecht did not attempt a field goal in his first two seasons and was limited to six extra points in a season-opening 42-19 victory over Southern last week. He played on special teams in 2007 and was injured all of the 2008 season.
“I was just trying to treat it like any other,” Albrecht said. “For my first field goal, of course I was nervous, but I hit it real solid. I knew it had the distance but was leaning to the left a little.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns, unbeaten through their first two games for the first time since 1990, had only two first downs in the second half before quarterback Chris Masson completed four passes for 30 yards in the final drive.
Kansas State (1-1) had rallied from a 14-2 deficit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Wildcats running back Daniel Thomas threw for one score and ran for one in that quarter, throwing a 3-yard jump pass to Jeron Mastrud off a direct snap on the first play of the final quarter.
Seven minutes later, Thomas capped an 86-yard drive with a 3-yard run, and Josh Cherry hit the extra point for the 15-14 lead with 8:08 left.
The Wildcats forced Louisiana-Lafayette to punt near midfield with 6:34 left and had a chance to run out the clock, but the Cajuns forced a punt with 3:50 left.
Louisiana-Lafayette picked up two first downs but the drive stalled after Masson threw three straight incompletions to set up Albrecht’s heroics.
“The last drive to get into field goal range was a great team effort,” Louisiana-Lafayette coach Ricky Bustle said. “I’ve probably said some harsh things about our kickers the past few weeks, but I’m proud of them.”
Kansas State’s Thomas finished with 136 rushing yards, 92 in the second half.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead when Masson ran out of his own end zone after a bad snap with 2:43 left in the opening quarter.
Masson, who finished 20-for-36 for 185 yards, came back to guide the Ragin’ Cajuns on a 61-yard drive that was capped by Undrea Sails’ 9-yard touchdown run with 9:37 left in the first half.
Louisiana-Lafayette drove 73 yards in the final 2:19 of the half to take a 14-2 halftime lead on Masson’s 1-yard pass to Luke Aubrey.
The Ragin’ Cajuns had three first-half turnovers, but the Wildcats couldn’t take advantage despite having five first-half possessions in Ragin’ Cajun territory. Kansas State was 0-for-8 on third-down conversions in the first half.
“I was proud of the fact that we came back and played better in the second half,” said Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. “Our defense gave up only three points in the second half. We played reasonably well on defense, but we need to have a better balance in what we’re doing.”