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Football: Lemoine helped UL pull off Homecoming upset

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • August 29, 2008

The sequence still replays in Mike Lemoine’s head from time to time. When the memories get fuzzy, he can pop in a video tape to relive the moment.

Flash back to Oct. 21, 1989. UL – then known as Southwestern Louisiana – was battling Southern Miss and quarterback Brett Favre at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Miss.

A junior at the time, and a former walk-on, Lemoine nailed a 50-yard field goal with two seconds left to clinch a 24-21 win for the Ragin’ Cajuns

in front of 20,732 fans in USM’s homecoming game.

It remains UL’s lone

win in Hattiesburg in 22 tries. The Cajuns get another shot on the road against USM at 6 Saturday night.

"When I hit it, I had a pretty good feeling," said Lemoine, now St. Thomas More’s head baseball coach. "I knew I hit it right. When the ball went through I was on the 25-yard line celebrating.

"It was a great feeling."

According to Daily Advertiser archives, the game-winning drive for the Cajuns started with 1:41 left on their own 19-yard line. On the second play of the series, Wayde Butler tossed a 38-yard halfback pass to wide receiver Lester Mitchell, moving the Cajuns to USM’s 42.

Two plays later, the Golden Eagles were flagged for interference to put the ball on the 34 with 20 seconds left. After a rush for one yard and incomplete pass by quarterback Brian Mitchell, Lemoine trotted out onto the field for the game-winner.

The former three-sport standout at Lafayette High did his best to relax during that final drive.

"When we got the ball back, coach (Lou) Hebert told me to get ready and to get my mind straight," Lemoine said after the game. "Every time we’d run a play, I’d kick, and I hit them all pretty sweet.

"My mouth dried out a lot, and I got nervous … I couldn’t hear the stands at all."

As Lemoine lined up for the kick, USM called a timeout. The attempt to ice him failed. Lemoine drilled the longest field goal of his career to beat a Golden Eagle team that upset Florida State earlier in the year.

The kick remains tied for the fifth-longest in program history since the use of kicking tees were banned for field goals and point-after attempts in 1989.

"When (head) coach (Nelson Stokley) sent him in, you know a 50-yarder on grass is a pretty good hit," said UL defensive line coach Gerald Broussard, a Cajun assistant at the time. "As soon as he struck it, it was good. You could tell by the thud.

"It was very exciting to go down there and do that."

The game still holds a special meaning to Lemoine. It was the first game his father attended after undergoing cancer surgery.

"People ask about the kick now, and I’ll talk about it," Lemoine said. "The kids (at school) are kind of amazed when they hear. I’m pushing 40 now, so I guess they don’t think of guys my age as being athletes."

On that night, Lemoine shared the spotlight with former Cajun great Brian Mitchell. The Advertiser reported that Mitchell racked up 477 yards and three touchdowns in the game, while Favre was held to 100 total yards. The Cajuns went on to finish that season 7-4, while USM ended up 5-6.

Lemoine wrapped up his Cajun career the following season as a three-year starter. He made 38-of-54 field goals and 78-of-82 point-after attempts for 192 career points while at UL.

For his career Lemoine finished tied for second in PATs, was fourth in field goals and fifth in total points in school history. He’s also tied for first in single-game field goals (five against Central Michigan in ’89) and fourth in PATs (six against Lamar in ’89) and was fifth for single-season PATs (30 in ’88).

Looking back, Lemoine will always remember his kick that knocked off the Favre-led Golden Eagles.

"Sports-wise, it’s my best memory," Lemoine said. "But there are memories in my life better than that, my family, my kids, my wife. It was still a great moment."