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Football: Goal posts told the story

Football: Goal posts told the story

Football: Goal posts told the story

Fans took goal posts, postgame celebration clear out of Cajun Field.

Dan McDonald

For most members of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 1996 football team, the lasting image from then-USL’s 29-22 upset victory over Texas A&M remains the goal post.
Students and fans swarming the field had already torn down the south-end post, and another group headed toward the north end for a similar prize. Meanwhile, those with the south post faced a dilemma.

"They tried to get it up the tunnel, and it wouldn’t fit," said then-assistant coach Gerald Broussard. "So they just went up the hill."

The natural bowl of Cajun Field couldn’t contain that kind of enthusiasm, as the student army took the post up the steep slopes, passed it over a metal fence and eventually out into the nearby streets.
"I’d never seen that before, and I don’t expect I’ll ever see that again," said Marty Cannon, then a junior offensive guard and now assistant principal at Our Lady of Fatima School. "I’d seen it on TV, but there we were at the game, I was getting hugged by everybody, and all of a sudden there was this huge pounding on my back. I almost got trampled by the goal post."

Darren Strother was a senior wide receiver on that team, but wasn’t dressed because of a broken collarbone suffered in the season opener two weeks earlier at Florida.

"I remember the crowd storming the field," Strother said, "and I was running around, jumping around with my arm in a sling. It was a little frustrating because I wanted to be more a part of that, but I definitely won’t forget that night.

"We were out there celebrating, and it’s like all of a sudden everyone stopped and did a double-take, watching those guys take the goal post up the hill. We knew we had the fans for something like that. It was just a matter of getting a big win for them."

Cannon had another, more vivid image, one that came early in the fourth quarter when the Cajuns trailed the Aggies 22-21.

"There was a point that Jake (Delhomme) called a play during a long drive, we broke the huddle and we were running to the line like it was the first play of the game," he said. "I looked across at the A&M players and they were looking at us,

"Just the way their body language read, the fact that they knew we hadn’t given up and we were still coming. You could see it in their eyes. I knew right then and there we were going to win that game."

Britt Jackson’s interception and 30-yard touchdown return with 6:30 left provided the necessary points, and Damon Mason’s second interception of the game with 31 seconds left set off the celebration.

"We had a lot of talent on that team," Strother said, "so I knew we had a shot. I remember thinking that people didn’t realize what kind of talent we had. That win helped validate USL’s team. That team could play, and I think that game gave us some personal satisfaction, that we could play with the big boys."

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Broussard said. "After the game, Julie (his wife) handed (son) John to me out of the stands, like we did after every game. When everybody emptied out on the field, he grabbed me real tight. We were standing on the 50-yard-line watching, seeing the excitement of the people and our kids.

"It’s a feeling that you’re so happy you don’t know what to do. In 22 years of coaching, I still haven’t had another moment like that."

"Seventy of us," Cannon said, "all of a sudden, knew this was the pinnacle of our college careers."


Texas A&M 7 6 9 0 – 22

USL 14 7 0 8 – 29

Scoring Summary

A&M – D’Andre Hardeman 1 run (Kyle Bryant kick), 13:01 1st

USL – Damon Mason 42 interception return (Jeremy Deach kick), 8:58 1st

USL – Charles Johnson 17 fumble return (Deach kick), 4:43 1st

USL – Cody Romero 1 pass from Jake Delhomme (Deach kick), 9:58 2nd

A&M – Hardeman 39 run (kick failed), 2:46 2nd

A&M – Branndon Stewart 46 run (pass failed), 12:39 3rd

A&M – Bryant 48 field goal, 7:58 3rd

USL – Britt Jackson 30 interception return (Brandon Stokley pass from Jake Delhomme), 6:30 4th


First Downs 17 17

Rushes-Yards 41-218 37-98

Passing Yards 181 150

Total Offense 399 248

Return Yards 57 99

Passes 16-33-4 15-34-1

Punts 3-52.0 7-42.4

Fumbles-Lost 5-4 2-0

Penalties-Yards 15-124 8-75

Time of Possession 28:47 31:13


RUSHING – A&M, Hardeman 11-80 2 TD, Parker 15-67, Stewart 10-35 1 TD, Bernard 3-29, Broyles 2-7. USL, Cotton 20-69, Brister 11-37, Delhomme 6-minus 8.

PASSING – A&M, Stewart 16-33-4, 181 yards. USL, Delhomme 15-34-1, 150 yards, 1 TD.

RECEIVING – A&M, Hawkins 6-53, Connell 4-52, Johnson 2-47, Spiller 1-11, Hodge 1-8, Parker 1-6, Bernard 1-4. USL, Stokley 6-76, Richard 3-39, Buford 3-26, Smith 1-5, Cotton 1-3, Romero 1-1 1 TD.

Originally published September 8, 2006