Former Red Wolf Blake Grupe boots three field goals in NFL debut, helping Saints win
NEW ORLEANS (KAIT) - Arkansas State football’s all-time points leader Blake Grupe drilled three field goals in his NFL debut for the New Orleans Saints, boosting the team to their season-opening 16-15 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Caesars Superdome Sunday afternoon.
Grupe hit the first of his three field goals following a blocked punt in the first quarter, a chip shot from 26 yards out.
The Missouri native would tie up the game once more in the second quarter, nailing a 33-yarder. His biggest field goal came in the third quarter, splitting the uprights from 52 yards to tie the game at 9-9. The Saints would go on to win 16-15.
“I thought he kicked the ball well,” Saints head coach Dennis Allen said. “The 52-yarder there was a huge kick in the game. That was great to see the kid knock that thing through, I was pleased with the way he performed.”
Grupe became the first player in Saints history to kick a 50+ yard field goal in his first NFL game, and the second Saint to hit three-plus field goals in his debut (Zach Hocker, 2015). Just 26 other players in NFL history have drilled three-plus field goals in their first game.
Grupe wasn’t the only former Red Wolf to see significant playing time in the win. All-Pro linebacker Demario Davis had 10 tackles, including a tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter.
Kirk Merritt came into the game as a backup running back behind Jamaal Williams. He didn’t receive a carry but was on the field for a few snaps on offense and on special teams.
New Orleans will play on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at Carolina Monday, September 18 for a 6:15 p.m. kickoff.
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