Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Final Chapter - College Football Dad - 12-11-16

I sit here today reflecting on all of the things that happened during Matt's time at Louisiana Tech. It is just amazing how things went and how things turned out.
We are so blessed to have experienced these times with Matt, Kasie and all of our family and friends. It is hard for me to believe that 4 years have gone by since Matt was last on the field. We still go to all of the home games and have joined forces with some of our tailgate friends and formed a large tailgate family.
There is no place in the country where you can get as close to the action and we just love it.  As I look back on things I want to share some of the milestones that have happened during the last 4 years. After football was over Matt continued to work towards his masters.It is incredible that in 4 years and playing football that he could earn his masters degree.
We are so very proud of this accomplishment. Matt graduated with his masters degree in business/finance on August 15, 2013. During this time Matt continued to work on his kicking and continued to train with Michael Husted of Husted Kicking. Matt knew it was very difficult to make if to the NFL but wanted to give it a good go and see what would happen. In May of 2013 Matt got a call from the New England Patriots and they brought him in for a workout.
Everything went well and even though they did not bring him to training camp it was a great experience. Matt married his high school sweetheart Kasie Onken who also attended Louisiana Tech and earned her degree in biology. It was an beautiful wedding that was attended by family from all over the USA, along with several football players that Matt played with. Josh Scobee and his wife came in from Florida and it was very special for them to be there. We also had a special appearance from Champ who is La Tech's mascot.
It was really awesome as Champ led everyone in singing La Tech's fight song. I have several amazing memories from the wedding weekend from all of the groomsmen staying in our apartment to the amazing duo of Matt Sheppard and Mikayla Stiles (Currently attending La Tech) singing the Chris Young song "She's got this thing about her", to Matt and his mom dancing. We were so glad to officially have Kasie in our family. We are blessed in so many ways. As Matt continued to work on his kicking craft he decided to form a company called Matt Nelson Kicking Academy in the fall of 2013. This would allow Matt the ability
to work with kids who also have a desire to develop there kicking craft. He is working with grade school, high school and college kids. This will allow them to be at peak performance when they are called upon. He  puts on the kicking camps during the summer months at La Tech, ULM and Mississippi State. It is fun seeing him do this. As Matt continued with his kicking business he also joined the working force and started working for Merrill Lynch in February of 2014 as a financial adviser.
He has passed all of his certifications and will be working out of the Monroe, LA location. We are very are excited to see how his career advances. Working full time presented some challenges for him as he continued to stay in kicking shape in case he got a call from an NFL team. Sure enough in May of 2014 the Cleveland Browns brought Matt in for their rookie mini camp. It was an intense 3 days but in the end they did not bring him back to training camp. What a great experience just to get invited to an NFL tryout! Matt and Kasie, who works in pharmaceutical sales, decided to buy their first home in Ruston. They closed the deal in November of 2014. Oh happy day! Now we have a place to stay when we come back over for the football games. We are very excited for you both. In March of this year Matt joined forces with Husted Kicking and has formed Husted Kicking South and will be operating his training sessions, private lessons and charting for National Camp Series as Husted Kicking South.
This was huge for him as he continues to grow his kicking business. Matt is a highly successful kicker who has been mentored and trained by some of the NFL's elite all time kickers. He looks to pay it forward by mentoring and training young kickers who have the desire and passion to kick at a higher level. As parents of two amazing sons and the father in law to an amazing daughter in law it truly a blessing when you get a phone call and you find out you are going to be grandparents.
In March of this year we got that phone call and were in hog heaven. When Matt and Kasie were ready to release the sex of the baby they came to Dallas and had Janet and I throw darts at balloons until we popped the one that released the blue confetti. A baby boy it was going to be. Hoo ya! Shortly after the unveiling we were told that our grandchild would be named Stiles Jacob Nelson. How amazing is that?
Janet's maiden name is Stiles and what an honor it is to have Stiles and Nelson in the same name. We are so excited and so very proud of Matt and Kasie. As Stiles continued to develop we had an idea of a time frame but when you finally get that call that we are on the way to the hospital you start to freak out. On 9-29-16 at 9:16 PM Mr Stiles Jacob Nelson was born. He entered the world at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. The tears of joy were flowing.
Janet and I (AKA Nellie and Pop's) made it over early the following morning and we finally got to hold that young man. It was an incredible moment and it is something that we will never forget. Matt and Kasie we are so proud of you both. Mr Stiles I can not wait for the day that you can read this journey that your dad took all of us on. It was an amazing road in life that brought so many family members and friends together. We made so many life time friends along this path as well. We love you Matt, Kasie and Stiles and we can not wait to follow your path as you move forward in life.
As many of you know our family has been battling this nasty thing called cancer. Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and to this day is still going through treatments. Please keep her and our family in your prayers as we beat this thing. I love you Janet! Our family motto is Kicking Cancer - Fighting Together! Cancer truly Sucks! #teamJ. It is that time that I finally close the book on this amazing journey. What a blast it has been and I have been so honored and blessed to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes as he played football at La Tech. I personally have learned so much about life and I can not thank Matt enough. I have watched a young man grow into an amazing person and now an awesome husband and dad.
Thank you for so many memories. As I close the book I want to thank all of those who followed my journey. I write from the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that time. I am a college football fan and I love college football. Thanks again for the opportunity to share this journey. Merry Christmas and enjoy the time with your family! College Football Dad!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Waiting Game - 12-4-12

I've had a lot of time to sit in the corner and with my box of red wine as I try to figure out what happened the last 2 games. We had the tiger by the tail and we were in total control of our own destiny except we lost our grip. The offense was not the same the defense was not the same. Did our coaching staff forget about playing one game at a time? Did we look past Utah State and San Jose State? Were we trying to figure out what New Year's Day bowl we were going to? Something was going on with this coaching staff and I just didn't understand. When you go from a College Football Orgasm to Erectile Dysfunction it is time to take your box of red wine for a walk. I will get this thing figured out. The team had a few days off before they had to be back for a senior's only walk through/practice. Matt, RP, Ray & David were heading down to Austin to hang out at RP's dads house. Since Tyler lives in Austin as well he will get to hang out with them as well. My understanding was that golf, checking out UT's stadium, floating the river and checking out the night life on 6th street was a given.
I am sure they will eat some good food as well. I think it is always a good thing to get your mind clear and come back and get ready for your next opponent. They made their way back to Ruston Saturday morning. A late afternoon senior only gathering had occurred on the field as they got some stretching and such in. Coach Liken had called all of the senior's in and what they thought was to find out who they were playing in a bowl game but instead they found out they were not going to a bowl game! When Matt called and told us I was numb. I wanted to hit something but I did not know what. What had just happened? The #1 offense in the nation was not going to a bowl game. Please pinch me and wake me up. Matt said there were tears, anger and every kind of emotion across all of this senior class. He was still in shock. Our AD and head coach should be hung by their nuts. They need to feel the pain as this senior class deserved so much more and to show the college football world what they were all about.
Where was Dykes? Why did Coach Liken have to deliver this mind blowing message? Come to find out Dyke's was in New York for and award ceremony for his dad. Come on Sunshine! You have just shown us that you just did not care. As the real reason why came out the more frustrated I became. Quoted from ESPN. "Louisiana Tech will not play in a bowl game this season after finishing 9-3 and turning down an invitation to play in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, a source told ESPN. "Louisiana Tech was offered a bid Saturday to play Louisiana-Monroe," an Independence Bowl official told ESPN. "They turned it down." Athletic director Bruce Van De Velde told The Associated Press that Independence Bowl organizers offered a spot in their game on Saturday afternoon, but the Bulldogs had other possible options still available to them. Van De Velde said he asked the Independence Bowl
for more time to make a decision, but was told by game organizers that they could not wait. "Nobody turned a bowl bid down," he said. "We asked for more time to vet two other opportunities that we had that we felt good about." Independence Bowl chairman Jack Andres said organizers had to set a deadline for Louisiana Tech. They were concerned if they waited they would be stuck with a team that was barely bowl eligible and too far away from Shreveport to bring many fans to the game." We had to make some decisions to get somebody in there. We've got sponsors, hotels. There's a lot of money riding on this," he said. "Before we made another deal we called them back. We said, 'We're still willing to have you at the bowl, but need to know fairly quickly.' So we gave them a deadline and they didn't call us back until way later than that. If you don't call us back, that's a 'No.' and we made another deal so we'd have a quality bowl team."
The Independence Bowl ended up selecting Ohio University from the Mid-American Conference. This is very sad and who would have ever thought that this senior class would not be playing in a bowl game. I spoke with Matt the following day and even though he was pissed there was not much that could be done at this point. Now with no bowl game the seniors would be heading home in a few days for the holidays. Matt happened to be walking by Coach Jackson's office and Karl Malone was in there. Matt and the guys were having a big cook out at their house and Matt asked Karl if he would like to stop by. Karl said Matt let me tell you what. You get every senior and you have them at my house tomorrow night. I am going to cook for all of you. Matt said Karl was on the phone with people getting grills, steaks and everything that went with them.
Karl told Matt that he wanted to give them something back for what they were losing out on for not going to a bowl game and for what they have given to the Ruston community. I was blown away when Matt told me what Karl was going to do for them. They all showed up at Karl's and he made this incredible steak dinner for them. Matt said he opened up his home and it was really cool how giving Karl is. Karl Malone you are a hero in my book and thank you so much for being you and giving behind the scenes to this amazing group of seniors. I am sure this will be something that they will not forget. I know that I will not. I am still in shock. Why Why Why? They deserved much better than this. I saw a quote from Karl Malone and it hits the nail on the head for me. "I am Bulldog to the core, I am heart broken and embarrassed that our university would do this to Tech Nation.
To our football program and staff this ... is exactly what is wrong with our university. Now it's time to get former athletes to run our program. I'm (6-foot-9) and not hard to find," Malone wrote. Malone demanded to know the reason behind turning down the Independence Bowl and called for a change in leadership" Wouldn't it be nice to hire a person doing it for university, and not somebody doing it for a bigger and better job in their mind?" Thanks Karl I needed someone to say that. "Under no circumstances did I ever think there was any possibility at all that we would not play in a bowl game," coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. "It is a shame that our nationally recognized team and its 31 seniors have to end the season this way." Louisiana Tech said it was in line to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, but when Oklahoma missed out on the BCS, it caused a chain reaction that pushed Iowa State out of the Heart of Dallas Bowl and into the Liberty Bowl in the Bulldogs' place.
"I think we're just shocked Northern Illinois jumped that high," Van De Velde said. "I'm happy for them, but I'm disappointed for us." On top of being left out of the postseason, Louisiana Tech is facing the prospect of losing Dykes. Van De Velde said the coach had interviewed with California and that Louisiana Tech was waiting to find out if Dykes would be staying with the Bulldogs. Now we know the truth. It is not about not wanting to play our neighbors to the east. It is all about sunshine checking out before the Utah State game and Free Willy our ignorant AD want to be for not understanding that you take what you are given and go play the game on the field. I am so disappointed and heartbroken that this is very difficult to write about. It is time for me to move on but Sunshine and Free Willy I hope you fail in your career paths as you have failed these football players, fans and the community of Ruston. I never thought this would be my last blog on college football as I followed Matt through his eyes. What an amazing ride he has given me along with all of his family in tow. We are truly blessed to have been part of this story.
Get yourself ready for your next adventure. We are waiting to see what is going to happen next. My College Football Dad story will have a final chapter but I am not sure when that will be. Until then I wanted to thank all of you who have followed my College Football Journey. We have met so many incredible people and have made so many new friends. Even though we did not go to Tech my wife and I will be Dawgs for life. I write for the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that time. I am very passionate about La Tech Football. I am just a College Football Fan and I Love College Football! Until our paths cross again have a blessed Football Season! College Football Dad!

Friday, December 7, 2012

San Jose State - 11/24/12

I don't know where to start. I just rode this amazing roller coaster and then got to the grand finale where you hold your hands up and the roller coaster stopped! Why? We were at the grand finale! I just went from the thrill of seeing Matt Nelson walk down tailgate alley for the last time to the high of seeing him introduced as a senior as we walked on the field with him. Then we had a big dip in the road as we go down 27 - 3 in the 3rd quarter. Then I get to experience the dogs claw back with 5 seconds on the clock as Matt Nelson comes in to tie the game and send it into overtime. Even though I was in the tunnel during the kick once I heard the fans erupt I knew I had just experienced a College Football Orgasm. I am not sure I can say that word, but I am going to any way. My emotions after that kick were higher than any other play that I can recall while Matt has been playing at La Tech. We had about 10 minutes to enjoy the moment and then the overtime started and before I knew it Utah State was celebrating on the field with an OT win and a share of the WAC Championship. This could not be! We had set ourselves up so perfectly. I just went from a College Football Orgasm to Erectile Dysfunction in a matter of 15 minutes. Is that even possible? I need to see a shrink! I am still excited for the opportunity that Matt and this team had. Our never quit attitude has always been there and it showed even more during this game. I am very proud of these young men and I will never forget the ending in regulation.
Even though we did not win "Thank You" for letting me experience it. Now it is time for me to get my mind right for San Jose State. For us to even have a chance at sharing the WAC Championship we have to win this game on the road and we have to have Idaho beat Utah State. Stranger things have happened but I do not feel good about Idaho beating Utah State. The more games you win the better chance you have a securing a better bowl game. We win the game at San Jose State and let things take care of themselves. I spoken to Matt several times during the week. He has put the emotional loss to Utah State behind him and feels like the rest of the team has as well. He has kicked the ball really well and is confident about the game against San Jose State. He said the team has been very focused and all of the team practices have gone well. He said that they have worked on several specialty kicks and he felt like they would use some of them. He was not looking forward to the long flight, but would most likely watch a couple of movies and sleep. Since we are going to a bowl game Janet and I decided not to go to San Jose for Matt's last college game before the bowl game. With it being Thanksgiving week we decide to drive over early Thanksgiving morning and fix a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the guys. (Matt, RP, Ray, David, Ty, Vince, Hunter, Darby and anyone else who needed a meal) Earlier in the week my oldest son (Tyler) drove up from Austin on Tuesday evening and hung out with us until we left early Thursday morning.
We had a blast visiting our favorite after hours watering holes and watching his mom tell crazy adult beverage stories. :) We would not be able to spend Thanksgiving with Tyler this year as he had tickets to go see UT play TCU in Austin. It was good to spend time with him while he was there and he will be missed on Thanksgiving. Early Thursday morning we loaded up all of the food along with the dogs and made our way over to Ruston. We hit Matt's house at 10:00 AM and after we got the dogs settled we started to get everything unloaded and set up. The guys had practice and then a team meal at 1:00 PM. We set dinner time at 5:00 PM so this gave us a chance to get things organized and start cooking for these amazing guys. On the menu was 3 fried turkey breasts, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, fresh green beans, dressing, rolls, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. We were able to cook everything somewhat ahead time and put the food in large containers wrapped in foil so we could keep it warm in the oven. The guys wanted 3 different types of fried turkey breast so I injected one with blended up pickled jalapeƱos, olive oil and lemon juice (RP's dads recipe) another with jalapeƱo creole butter and the last one with crystal hot sauce and melted butter. I think experimentation is always good when playing with food. We spent the afternoon watching football as the turkey breast fried and Janet got the rest of the meal put together. I sliced each turkey flavor and sent out a sample for the guys to try.
It was pretty funny as the overall consensus was the crystal hot sauce and melted butted concoction was the winner. I would have to agree. It was pretty amazing! Janet got everything setup in the dining room and told the guys it was ready to go. By the way Janet did one heck of a job getting everything ready to go at the same time. Thank You! I had never seen plates piled up so high. You can go back for 2nd's & 3rd's. :) Once everyone got a plate we headed outside to the big table and Ray the said the blessing as everyone held hands. I think it is so awesome that prayer is involved in these young mens lives. After several trips back for food the guys started to peter out, but promised they would eat more. We still had a ton of food left and the guys would be traveling, but it would be there when they returned. The evening was capped off with pie and watching the UT - TCU game and then it was time for bed for me. It was an awesome day for me and I was so honored and blessed to get to hang out with these guys and play with a little food. The morning came early for me as I had 120 kolaches to make before everyone woke up. I made 2 pans of 60 so it would cook a little easier. Thank you smoke alarm for not going off. A few weekends back some grease had spilled in the oven and at 425 degrees we had a smoked filled house and smoked kolaches. It was all good! I had everything ready to go at 10:30 and it did not take long and the kolaches started to disappear.
Vince came over and made sure that there were not too many left overs. :) Janet and I started cleaning up everything as the guys had to get ready to head to the field house. What an amazing 24 hours! These guys are amazing. We said our goodbyes and wished them all luck and onward to North Dallas we headed. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to cook for the guys and just hangout. Thank You for including us. We took it easy Friday night and looked forward to watching some college football on Saturday as we waited for the 9:30 CST kickoff in San Jose. I might need to go find a parking lot and set up a tent until kickoff. I tried to hold off as long as I could but I was in great need of an adult beverage and I started probably earlier than I should, but I told myself I would pace myself. Yea right! The kickoff had arrived and I was ready to get this party started. The game was on ESPN 2 so this made it really cool. Matt kicks off and SJSU will start on their 29 yard line. SJSU runs 7 plays and kicks a 45 yard FG and leads 3 - 0. La Tech takes the kickoff and will start at our 25 yard line. Tech runs 4 plays and RA comes in to punt. SJSU will start at their 12 yard line and runs 8 plays as they connect on a 42 yard pass play for a TD. SJSU is up 10 - 0. No Way! I know we watched film on these guys. Tech takes the kickoff and will start at our 16 yard line. We run 8 plays and RA comes in to punt. We need you offense! SJSU starts on their 2 yard line and runs 3 plays and they have to punt.
Tech starts on their 49 yard line and runs 6 plays as KD runs it in from 8 yards out. Matt comes in for the PAT and it is no good. This did not really happen did it? I went into the other room like I normally do and I come back and it is missed. The replay looks like the snap was good and it was hard for me to tell on the hold, but the ball was pulled left and bounced off of the left upright. It is time for me to change to a different color of drawers and drink a glass of white wine. I prefer red wine, but I will do whatever it takes to get some good karma. These green things and red wine are not working right now. SJSU is up 10 - 6. Matt kicks off with a sky kick and SJSU calls a fair catch. CT, why are we doing this? SJSU starts the drive on their 26 yard line and runs 5 plays as the 1st quarter comes to an end. I am already nervous and I am not sure I have enough red wine in my box! The 2nd quarter starts with SJSU running 5 plays and they score on an 18 yard pass play. SJSU is now up 17 - 6. No! This is not happening! Tech takes the kickoff as DJB runs 32 yards to the Tech 41 yard line. Tech runs 3 plays and RA comes in to punt. He nails it 55 yards and it is downed on the SJSU 14 yard line. SJSU runs 1 play as LL intercepts the ball and Tech has the ball on the 50 yard line. Tech runs 7 plays as Matt comes in for 32 yard FG and it is a fake. Matt acts like he is kicking and DG pitches the ball to ML for a TD. Are you kidding me? I was not expecting that. Matt comes in and connects on the PAT. SJSU leads 17 - 13. That was cool! Matt kicks another sky kick and SJSU calls a fai catch. Really! Why are we doing this?
SJSU starts on their 24 yard line and runs 8 plays as SJSU scores a TD on a 1 yard run. SJSU is now up 24 - 13. Tech takes the kickoff and starts their drive on the Tech 14 yard line. Tech runs 9 plays as CC hits QP on a 52 yard bomb. Matt connects on the PAT and SJSU is up 24 - 20. Let's do this. Matt kicks off and SJSU fumbles the ball as CN recovers the ball. Hoo Ya! Tech runs 5 plays as CC runs it in from 1 yard out. Matt connects on the PAT and Tech is up 27 - 24. This is what I am talking about! Matt kicks off and the half comes to an end. Wow! Just wow! Red wine where are? I need you now! SJSU kicks off for the start of the 3rd quarter. Tech starts their drive on our 20 yard line. We run 12 plays as Matt Nelson comes in and drills a 29 yard FG. Tech is now up 30 - 24. Good job Nelly! Matt kicks another sky kick and SJSU returns if 37 yards to their 43 yard line. I will never understand why we do these things. SJSU runs 9 plays and runs it in from 4 yards out and is now up 31 - 30. SJSU kicks a sky kick and ML returns it to the Tech 44 yard line. The special teams coaches must have drank out of the same cup. Tech runs 5 plays as CC hits MW on a 33 yard bomb. Matt connects on the PAT and Tech is now up 37 - 31. Come on guys! Let's close this thing out! Matt kicks off and SJSU will start on their 29 yard line. SJSU runs 3 plays and scores on a 32 yard run play and takes the lead 38 - 37. Not good! SJSU kicks off and Tech will start on their 16 yard line. We run 3 plays and RA comes in to punt.
SJSU will start on their 29 yard line and runs 4 plays and has to punt. Tech takes over at our 40 yard line and runs 2 plays as CC throws an interception. SJSU runs 7 plays and the 3rd quarter comes to an end. Oh my! This is going to get the best of me. The 4th quarter starts with SJSU running 3 plays as they score a TD. SJSU is now up 45 - 37. Tech takes the kickoff and will start on their 24 yard line and we run 8 plays as CC hits QP on a 10 yard pass play. CC stays in as they go for 2 points and the pass is incomplete. SJSU is up 45 - 43. Matt kicks off and SJSU will start their drive on their 37 yard line. SJSU runs 8 plays and scores on a 26 yard pass play and is now up 52 - 43. No, No, No! Tech takes the kickoff and and runs 8 plays as CC throws an interception. No! SJSU runs 6 plays and has to punt. Tech takes over at our 23 yard line and runs 3 plays and CC throws another pick. SJSU runs 2 plays and the game is over. SJSU wins 52 - 43. What just happened? Why? This is not the same team that I am used to watching. What has changed? I just don't understand! I am going to go sit in the corner with a glass of red wine and try to figure this thing out. My dogs think I am crazy, but I don't care. Where did I go wrong? I know some of the blame has to go on me. I did not watch Matt's kicks and I did not have the right drawers on. I feel really bad for the guys. They deserve more and I know they gave it their all, but darn! How could we lose our last 2 games? It just does not seem right. Matt called right before they were getting on the bus. You could tell he was very upset with the loss.
He really did not want to talk and I understood. He said it hurts and it sucks! This team is too good for this loss. It will take a while for me to let this game go! He did tell me that they had to bus to Oakland because San Jose had a noise ordnance that went into affect at 11:00 PM so they could not fly out of there. They would have to fly out of Oakland instead. He said they should get back into Ruston around 9:00 AM. Flying back in from the west coast is not fun. Once they got back they had off until Thursday at 6:00 PM and they had to be back for a team meeting. Matt, RP, David and Ray were heading to Austin as soon as they got back in. They were going to stay at RP's dads house and Matt would get to spend some time with Tyler as well. I am still in shock! I would of never thought this would of happened. I know we are going to be playing in a bowl game, but I sure hated to end WAC play like this. I hope with the guys having a few days off that they can get their mind right when they return on Thursday. I will leave the San Jose State game alone. I don't know who we are playing next so I will wait for my next blog when the bowl game is in place. The upcoming week will be interesting as the championship games are played and we see how everything plays out. What a season it has been so far. I am exhausted! More red wine please!
I would like to give a special thanks to Mr. Tom Morris for the use of his photos and video in this blog. He is an amazing photographer. What a blast it is and we are so blessed to have the honor to watch Matt Nelson and this La Tech football team. I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and this Bulldog team. I write for the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that time. I am very passionate about La Tech Football. I am just a College Football Fan and I Love College Football! Until our paths cross again have a blessed week. College Football Dad!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Utah State - 11/17/12

Where do I begin? We go on the road and score 62 points and we are 9 - 1. I knew this team was special and they are taking me places that I did not even know existed. I am so darn proud of this team. I turned over a new leaf last week and I hope I can keep that booger turned over. I thought I did a pretty good job of staying positive and I think my melt down at the UTSA game really helped me get through the Texas State game. I was so proud of Matt Nelson after the Texas State game. Not only did he get his rhythm back he passed Josh Scobee and is now the all time career scorer for a kicker at La Tech. How amazing is that? Matt ended the night with 342 career points and now only needs 3 points to pass Troy Edwards to become La Tech's all time leading scorer. In my book that is one huge accomplishment. Congratulations Matt Nelson! It is time for me to get my mind right, extra drawers packed and my emotions in check for Utah State.
This is our 3rd Aggie team to play this year. I know it has to be another NCAA record. I stumbled across this fight song on the Utah State athletics site. It is called The Scotsman. Show me a Scotsman who doesn't love the thistle, Show me an English man who doesn't love the rose, Show me a true blooded Aggie from Utah who doesn't love the spot where the sagebrush grows! What the heck is that? Sounds like some wacky weed is being passed out in Logan! Now I know for certain that this Blue Aggie team is truly from a different mother. This will be a very tough game and I like our chances at home. With school being out I sure hope we get the fans in the stands. Theses guys need all of the support they can. This will be an emotional game for Janet & I. It will be Senior Day and the last time that we get to watch Matt play football at Joe Aillet Stadium. It is hard for me to believe that 4 years have gone by so fast.
We have made so many new friends and the support of Matt Nelson and our family has been so amazing. I just hope when I walk out on the field with Matt when his name is announced that I don't lose it. I spoke with Matt several times during the week. He said that practices have gone well. He said he was kicking the ball really well. The team has been very focused and the seniors have one thing on their mind and that is to win their last game at home. We have a lot of family (John, Carol, Bob, Margaret, David, Barbara, Cathy, Wes, Parker, Peyton and friends are coming to the game. My buddy and his wife (Jeremy & Lindsey) are coming over from Dothan. Ray Holly's family, RP Stuart's family and Ryan Allen's family, Mr. Harper, Mr. Hamm and his wife and Mr. Rust will all be hanging out at tailgate spot 52 as well. That is a big group! We made our way over to Ruston Friday afternoon. Once we hit Ruston we made our way over to the hotel where we hooked up with my parents and Jeremy & Lindsey. Jeremy and I were in training class together when we bought our Cruise Planners franchise. Jeremy is a huge Auburn fan and Matt had committed to La Tech earlier in the summer.
Since Matt's first game was against Auburn we hit it off right away and we have been friends ever since. Jeremy got to see his first game and now is getting to watch his last home game on senior day. I appreciate all of his support over the years. Matt had called and said he had a few minutes before chapel if we wanted to come to the field house. He wanted to show us something. We made our way over and he handed his mom a program. Matt was on the cover for senior day. How cool is that? That is such an honor and for it to happen on Senior Day. All I can say is Wow! As we were getting ready to leave Dan "The Equipment Man" Matthiesen drove up. It was so good to see him. He has been at Georgia State and there season was over so he had the opportunity to come see the game. Dan is such an awesome young man! We made our way over to Matt's house and loaded up the tailgate stuff for our last tailgate of the year. Onward to the tailgate spot to get the tents setup and then it was time for an adult beverage.
Alaskan Amber was the beer of choice. We got my dad's chair setup so he could supervise. :) All kidding aside my parents have been there almost every Friday night before the home games to help setup the tailgate spot and we are very appreciative of their support and help. After everything is setup and the adult beverages have kicked in we head over to Wow Cafe & Wingery for some wings and a few more beers. It was great just to kick back and visit with my parents and Jeremy and Lindsey. We headed back to the hotel for our last pre night bottle of red wine. After a couple of glasses of red wine we called it a night as Janet and I would head to the tailgate spot super early and Jeremy, Lindsey and my parents would head over a littler later. If you did not get there early then parking was going to be an issue because of graduation. Janet got everything setup the way she wanted and I had everything good to go when it was time to start the chili. Today was a chili fest with chili dogs, frito pies and chili on whatever you wanted it on. Senior day is going to be an awesome day, but an emotional day.
This has gone by way to fast! Mr. Harper showed up as well as Janet's parents. Andrew had his crew in full gear making gumbo and Bobby had his chili heating up. Ray Holley's family showed up and they were ready to party. Ryan Allen's family came by and it was awesome spending time with them. RP Stuart's family showed up along with my sister and her family and then Mr. Hamm and his wife came by. Kasie showed up and Dan and Dave Matthiesen came by as well. This is going to be an awesome day. We have such amazing family and friends. The chili is heating and Papaw has the dogs on the grill, so let's get this chili festival started. Everything is in position and the gun sounds. Let's eat! This might be the first tailgate that we don't have any leftovers. That would be awesome! Jeremy and I were talking and he said no where at Auburn can you tailgate this close to the stadium and he thought it was awesome that La Tech has it setup this way.
I told Jeremy so was I. The party is in full swing and the food looks like it is a huge success. Tailgate spot 52 has been so kind to us over the last 4 years and I hope to continue to keep her for years to come. We hear the sirens and that can only mean one thing. The team is close by. College Football Dad put your big boy pants on and get your emotions in check. It is time to head to tailgate alley and get that last hug from Matt as he enters the stadium for his last home game. Hold back your tears CFD. We make our way over and I give Ms. Toni a big hug. She has been such a big supporter of this football team. First comes Vince Cano and I get a big bear hug. Next it is Ray Holley and I get another bear hug. Then I see Matt and give him a hug, tell him I love him, I am proud of him and go have fun! When I saw him hug his mom I about lost it. We made our way back over the the tailgate spot and visited with everyone before we had to head up to the field house by 2:00. We made our way to the field house with Kasie. They gave us our instructions and then we made our way outside as we waited for Matt to come up the tunnel. You could tell he was ready for this to get over so he could get back to business.
He gave his mom a rose as we walked down the tunnel. I was still holding up ok. Coach Dykes was greeting everyone at the end of the tunnel next to the Bulldog. He said a few words to Matt, gave Janet a hug and shook my hand. Then Matt's name was announced. What a thrill for Matt and these players to be able to do this with their families at their side. I have not lost it yet! After all of the seniors are announced we gave Matt a hug and again told him to go have fun. We made our way up to our seats and joined the rest of the family. It looked like everyone had made it ok through the ceremony. I sat on the same row as Jeremy & Lindsey and we had family above and below us. To be honest I am ready to get this thing started. Come on Dogs! We can do this! UTS will kick off and DJB takes it 45 yards to our 46 yard line. That is a good start. Tech runs 3 plays and RA comes in to punt. UTS takes over at their 14 yard line and runs 1 play as they score on an 86 yard pass and run play.
What just happened? Did we not watch film? Tech takes the kickoff and runs 3 plays and RA comes in to punt. What are we doing. UTS starts on our 43 yard line and runs 3 plays as UTS attempts a 28 yard FG and it is no good. We just dodged a bullet! Tech takes over and runs 5 plays and RA comes in to punt. I am not liking these play calls.UTS takes over at their 14 yard line and runs 16 plays as they score from 1 yard out and UTS is now up 14 - 0. Tech takes the kickoff and starts this drive at our 27 yard line. We run 2 plays as the 1st quarter comes to an end. Wow! I was not expecting this. This is our house! The 2nd quarter starts as Tech runs 8 plays as Matt Nelson comes in to kick a 36 yard FG. It has left his foot and I see the hands up and it is good! Way to go Matt! Let's do this! Matt kicks off to the goal line and UTS takes it out to the 16 yard line. UTS runs 6 plays and has to punt.
Tech starts on their 15 yard line and runs 11 plays as Matt comes in and attempts a 44 yard FG. Through my lens I see Matt kick and the ball immediately goes backwards. It looks like 2 guys got through the right side and the FG is blocked. How does this happen? The protection has been so good in the beginning of the season. UTS takes over at our 42 yard line and runs 5 plays and connects on a 38 yard FG. UTS is now up 17 - 3. Tech takes the kickoff and runs 13 plays starting at our 31 yard line and CC is intercepted. Noooooooo! CC just threw is 1st pick of the season from the UTS 12 yard line. We have to regroup! UTS takes a knee as the half comes to an end. UTS leads 17 - 3. What is going on? I am in shock! Jeremy and I head out to down a couple of adult beverages at the tailgate. Bobby, Ross & Woody are already out there. We are all in disbelief. Where has our team gone?
It is about time for the kickoff so Jeremy and I head back in. Matt kicks off and UTS will start at their 22 yard line. UTS runs 5 plays and scores on a 13 yard rush play. Did our coaches just not talk to our defensive players. UTS is now up 24 - 3. This is getting out of hand! UTS kicks off and KD fumbles the ball and UTS takes over at our 12 yard line. Why is this happening? UTS runs 4 plays and connects on a 30 yard FG and is now up 27 - 3. We have got to turn this thing around now! Tech takes the kickoff and starts on our 22 yard line. We run 11 plays as KD scores from 2 yards out. Matt connects on the PAT and UTS leads 27 - 10. Matt kicks off and UTS starts at their 34 yard line and runs 7 plays as CK runs it in from 25 yards out. UTS now leads 34 - 10. This is not good. I need to go stand at the rail and change some of this ju ju up. Tech starts the next drive at our 25 yard line and we run 4 plays as CC hits MW on a 25 yard pass play.
Matt connects on the PAT and just like that the score is Tech 17 - 34. Come on guys! Matt kicks off and UTS starts at their 23 yard line and runs 9 plays and scores. UTS is now up 41 - 17. I think I am going to be sick. UTS kicks off and DJB takes it 98 yards and scores. Matt connects on the PAT and the score is now 41 - 24. Do you believe in miracles? Matt kicks off and UTS runs 2 plays as the 3rd quarter comes to an end. We can do this guys! Everyone is holding up 2 fingers on each hand for TD. The 4th quarter starts with UTS running 2 plays and they have to punt. We start on our 20 yard line and run 12 plays as KD takes it in from 1 yard out. Matt connects on the PAT and the score is 41 - 31. Here we go! Matt kicks off and UTS starts on their 33 yard line and runs 5 plays and has to punt. Tech takes the ball at our 25 yard line and runs 14 plays and CC throws another pick from the UTS 11 yard line.
This just did not happen. Come on CC we need to get you back on the field. UTS runs 4 plays and has to punt. Tech starts on our 14 yard line and runs 8 plays as HL runs it in from 7 yards out and Matt connects on the PAT and the score is now 41 - 38. We need you defense. I have a feeling my heart rate is pretty high. Matt kicks off and it is a touch back. UTS runs 3 plays and has to punt. Way to step it up defense. Tech starts on our 23 yard line 7 plays and goes for it on 4th down at the UTS 36 yard line and RH runs 21 yards down to the UTS 15 yard line. CC runs 1 play and the pass is incomplete and with 5 seconds on the clock Matt Nelson comes in to kick a 32 yard FG to tie the game and send this baby into OT. I could not watch even through my lens. I went down the tunnel and I heard the irruption. The FG was good! I sprinted back to my seat and hugged everyone I could. Adam McGuirt ran up and gave me a high five.
Then I started doing these hulk movements with my arm just screaming YEA! YEA! YEA! Matt has wanted this opportunity so long! I have never seen so much excitement from our fans. This is so awesome! Janet said DG tried to throw Matt on the ground and then Matt jumped into QP's arms and held up 2 fingers in each hand. Wow! Can we do this. UTS wins the toss for OT and runs 3 plays and scores a TD. Tech takes the ball and runs 4 plays and RH comes up short. UTS wins 48 - 41. I am speechless, I am sick, I am happy that Matt had the opportunity and I am not sure what I am going to do next. We are all sort of numb form the wildest roller coaster ride I have ever been on. I regrouped myself and we all made our way over to the field house. What am I going to say to Matt? Will he even come out? This was my last time to go to the field house to watch Matt come out of the field house. Matt finally comes out. He had already changed and he made his way to each family member and friend and gave us all a hug.
It is one that I will never forget. I told him I loved him and I was very proud of him. You could tell he was excited that he made the FG to send the game into OT, but the loss really did hurt. We visited for a little bit and then headed back to the tailgate area. The walk did me good. I was not ok with how the game ended, but I would survive. When we got back to the tailgate spot Bobby, Woody, Ross and several other were there waiting. I got a hug from each one of them. They had watched the kick from the opposite tunnel and they said when Matt made that kick it was a wild celebration in the parking lot. They all have been so supportive of Matt. Matt came over to the tailgate area along with Ray Holley and his family. We all got to visit with everyone and it did ease the pain some with everyone being together. I did sneak Matt off to the side as I had to know what happened on the blocked FG.
He said before he could even look up they were on top of him. It looked like the right side got gaped. We kick at 7 1/2 to 8 yards back and for someone to get to the ball they have to get through our line. He said he knew the kick at the end of the game was good as soon as he kicked it. He said he hated the loss but stoked that he was able to put the team in a position to win. We will spend time with the family tonight and then get ready for San Jose State. We went ahead and took everything down since we had an extra truck and so many people who could help. That made it really nice. We told all of our tailgate neighbors goodbye and told them we will see them at the bowl game. We made our way over to Matt's house and everyone helped unload the stuff into the garage. Then it was time to kick back with an adult beverage. RP's dad had every kind of meat on the grill and there was all kinds of food to eat.
Ray's family and Ryan;s family was there as well. Jeremy & Lindsey had to get up early for their trip back to Dothan so I took them back to the hotel and then I went back to Matt's for a while. We made our way back to the hotel and called it a night. My parents and Janet and I met Matt for church at the Bridge. It was my first time to go to church with Matt since he has been in Ruston. I was very impressed with the service. After lunch my parents headed back to Florida via Biloxi for the night. We were going to stay in Ruston one more night and spend some time with Matt since this was his last night. We had dinner with Matt & Kasie and Matt ended up staying at the hotel with us Sunday night. We took Matt to breakfast Monday morning and headed back to Dallas to get the dogs and to get ready for the last 2 days of the workweek since Thanksgiving was around the corner.
We will be heading back to Ruston early Thanksgiving morning to fix dinner for the guys before they head out to San Jose. While I am disappointed with the loss I am so proud of the team and how they came back after being down. They have that never give up attitude and it shows out on the field. I am so proud of Matt for hanging in there and trusting himself. That kick with no time on the clock was amazing. Matt scored 11 points and now is the all time leading scorer at La Tech. He now has 353 career points as he just passed Troy Edwards who had 345 career points. That is just incredible and never in my wildest dreams would I ever have thought Matt would have done that. Wow! I want to thank all of our family and friends who attended the game. We are so blessed with all of the support of Matt and words can not describe how grateful we are. Thank You! I want to give a special thanks to Jeremy & Lindsey for making the trip over to Ruston. It was such a blast to hang out.
San Jose State is up next. I won's discuss them until my next blog. I want to enjoy this last home game. I will leave Utah State alone. What a blast it is and we are so blessed to have the honor to watch Matt Nelson and this La Tech football team. I appreciate all of those who are following my journey. It is such a blast to follow Matt Nelson through his eyes and this Bulldog team. I write for the bottom of my heart and what my feelings are at that time. I am very passionate about La Tech Football. I am just a College Football Fan and I Love College Football! Until our paths cross again have a blessed week. College Football Dad!