LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette freshman kicker Stevie Artigue had been feeling tight all week, and after he missed a 38-yarder wide to the right Saturday against New Mexico State, coach Mark Hudspeth decided to remove him from the game.
Most knew something was up when senior Carlos Alvarez lined up to kick the opening kickoff for the Cajuns. It was Alvarez’s first action since the 2011 New Orleans Bowl, when he also served as the kickoff specialist.
Artigue came on to kick the 38-yarder after the Cajuns’ first drive of the game, and also kicked the extra point after Brooks Haack’s 20-yard touchdown throw to Al Riles in the second quarter. But that was the last time he’d appear in the game.
“Stevie felt like he pulled something on Thursday, didn’t kick yesterday, thought he’d be better today,” Hudspeth said. “During pregame warmup we thought he was better. Then he ... missed the field goal and barely made the extra point. We made the decision to pull him, and the other guys did a great job.”
Aaron Bird, a sophomore out of Westgate High School in nearby New Iberia, filled in for Artigue for the rest of the game.
Bird’s first action of his career came on an extra point after a second-quarter touchdown run, and Bird also came on to drill a short 23-yard field goal near the end of the first half and a 31-yarder in the third quarter that tied the game at 20.
“I was really proud of Carlos Alvarez and Aaron Bird, who found out today they were going to be kicking,” Hudspeth said.
Heavy heart, big game
New Mexico State quarterback Andrew Allen drove into Lafayette on Saturday monring after attending a memorial for his father, Darrell Allen, the Marlin (Texas) police chief who died after he was shot while providing off-duty security at a bar in Temple, Texas.
Andrew Allen was in the locker room when the team arrived. New Mexico State started redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Jeanty, but Allen came on after Jeanty went 3-for-10 for 18 yards on the first three drives.
Allen stayed in for the rest of the game. He finished with 243 passing yards and four touchdowns.
The game clock stopped working on New Mexico State’s fourth drive, and officials were forced to keep track of the game manually until midway through the second quarter.
The clock on the scoreboard was stuck at 3:41 until right after Elijah McGuire’s 64-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, when the videoboard went completely blank as it was re-booted. When it came back online, the clock was operational again.
Odds and ends
The Cajuns trailed 20-17 at halftime. They have trailed at the break in seven of their 10 games. ... The Cajuns sported a new look Saturday, wearing grey uniform tops and bottoms with black helmets. ... Captains were Jamal Robinson, Effrem Reed and Chris Prater. ... Grant Horst did not start because he missed most of the week while recovering from a concussion, but he replaced Adrian Goodacre midway through the second quarter.