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Football: Stover regrets the one that got away

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, December 20, 2014



UL Ragin’ Cajuns place kicker Hunter Stover (45) kicks a field goal during the first half of Saturday’s R�L Carriers New Orleans Bowl against the Nevada Wolf Pack at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Photo: Paul Kieu/The Advertiser)



With shoelaces untied as the game’s trophy was presented to UL for a fourth straight time, Ragin’ Cajuns senior kicker Hunter Stover walked away from the Superdome and a 16-3 New Orleans Bowl win over Nevada on Saturday thinking about the one that got away.

It was a 36-yard field goal attempt that went wide left — and, had it been good, would have given him a New Orleans Bowl-record four made field goals.

Instead, Stover finished with three — tying him with ex-teammate Brett Baer (three vs. East Carolina in 2012) and Southern Mississippi’s Britt Barefoot (three vs. Troy in 2008) for the bowl record.

He also tied a bowl record for field goal attempts, four, with Southern Mississippi’s Darren McCaleb (from 2004).

“I’m gonna think about that field goal I missed more than any of the three I made the rest of my life,” Stover said. “It’s gonna keep determined the rest of my life to keep working.”

Stover seemed obsessed with the minnow that fell from the hook, however, when it seemed OK to brag a bit about the whale he finally landed.

The Notre Dame High product’s three makes Saturday were from 30, 35 and 46 yards. The 46-yarder — his first of the game, putting UL up 10-0 in the first half — was a career-long.

Stover went into the bowl 15-of-15 this season on tries from 38 yards and in. His only three misses of the year before Saturday were from 51, 46 and 46 yards. Stover’s only other career make, and attempt, was a 27-yarder in last year’s New Orleans Bowl win over Tulane.

“Never in my life in college have I hit it over 40,” he said. “It’s just haunted me.

“But if I wanted to play well, this is a good stage to do it. So, I was excited about that,” he added with reference to the 46-yarder. “I did what I always do, and the results finally came out right.”


Saturday’s announced attendance of 34,014 was the smallest the New Orleans Bowl has had since UL attracted 42,841 for its 2011 win over San Diego State.

It also was 20,000-plus less than the record-54,728 that watched the Cajuns beat Tulane in the Superdome in 2013.

Yet 34,014 still is the fourth-largest crowd in New Orleans Bowl history, meaning UL — along with 48,828 for its 2012 win over East Carolina — has had a hand in all four.

Of this year’s 34,014, more than 12,000 tickets were sold through UL.


After a hard hit on the sideline that kept Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo from picking up a second-half first down, UL linebacker Dominique Tovell was flat on his back on the field.

Tovell remained there for a while, then was taken off on a cart – conscious, and sitting upward as he headed to the locker room.

He seemed okay afterward, walking and celebrating the win with teammates. Tovell had just one tackle but collected a key fumble recovery, the first of his career, for the Cajuns.


Within hours of Saturday’s win, Harold Bicknell Baton Rouge-based Bicknell Management Group tweeted that he’s signed Cajuns defensive lineman Justin Hamilton, an NFL prospect who had one tackle for loss Saturday. … UL is the first team to win the same bowl in four consecutive years. Eight other teams have won three straight in the same bowl, most recently Southern California in the Rose Bowl from 2007-09. … Cornerback Corey Trim had a team-high eight tackles Saturday, including seven solo stops, and finished the season with a team-high 79 tackles. Tovell was second with 71. … UL’s bowl captains were seniors Boris Anyama, James Butler, Trevence Patt and Daniel Quave. … Daniel Cadona’s 59-yard boot in the second quarter was the longest by a Cajun punter in a bowl game, surpassing Roy Pendergast’s 48-yarder in the 1970 Grantland Rice bowl against Tennessee State in Baton Rouge. … After originally saying some white would be involved, the Cajuns wound up wearing red helmets, red jerseys and red pants for Saturday’s game.