LSU’s defeat by Alabama is likely to end the Tigers pursuit of a top four place and with it a Play-Off spot.
While disappointment reigned in Baton Rouge, 1,520 miles away an unlikely benefactor materialised.
But let’s take a step back.
In 2015 a young Cole Tracy left California to travel to a small college in Worcester, Massachusetts. The college was Assumption College.
Assumption plays it’s football in Division II and is probably as far removed as you will find from the 102,320 seater stadium of Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
During his time at Assumption, Cole Tracy broke school records kicking for the Assumption College Greyhounds. Tracy has aspirations of kicking in the NFL but scouts bypass Worcester on their way to Boston College regularly. Advice to Tracy was to find a division one team to raise his profile. He was told he needed to kick before larger crowds. Simultaneously, LSU’s disappointing season was ending poorly, not helped by a series of missed kicks at key times. In fact LSU missed 11 field goals during 2017. Upon graduating earlier this year, Tracy was invited to travel to Baton Rouge as a graduate transfer to join the LSU Tigers summer camp.
It was kismet, a marriage made in heaven and Cole Tracy won the kicking job at camp, starting the season as the Tigers kicker.
His eighth field goal of the season was a game winner against Auburn which saw Tracy carried off the field in a “Rudy-esque” finale. That field goal was the first walk off field goal in program history and set the Tigers on the march to the SEC clash on Saturday against Alabama.
More was to follow. In LSU’s 36-16 deafest of Georgia, Tracy’s 18 points were the most kicking points for an LSU player since 1949 and tied the school record. He has made three kicks over 50 yards, with the longest at 54 yards equalling the school record and grabbing the attention of NFL scouts.
In Assumption, Massachusetts the Monday after season-opening win over Miami the College’s VP responsible for fundraising started to see an increase in out of state donations. There was a theme, donations started appearing from South Louisiana. More curiously, gifts were being made made in odd amounts. Over time it became apparent that these amounts reflected the length of Tracy’s school record-tying kick against the Hurricanes: $54. LSU were paying homage to the home of their new hero. Post the Auburn game, the steady trickle became a flow. This time donations were being received in amounts of $42.36. 42 being the length of the game winning field goal and 36 being Tracy’s jersey number.
Fundraising is an important event for Assumption. The entire academic budget for the School annually is $70m. To put that into context that is 50% of the annual budget for the LSU football programme alone.
To date over 200 donations have been made totalling over $16,000. Assumption student athletes have to sell raffle tickets to raise funds, so that’s welcome relief when selling tickets around campus. And the cash is still coming in. So the donations while small are crucial and will go straight to the football program.
A campaign has started to see if enough funds can be raised to get the school a video screen. There has been, mostly jokey, talk of naming the football field, Cole Tracy Field. But regardless, it’s a kinda cool story and who knows where it ends.
photo credit: si.com