LSU Uses Fake FG Play To Win Battle of Unbeatens

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Mad Hatter Call Does It Again

By John Ventola

LSU Coach Les Miles pulled another special team gimmick play out of his white hat Saturday night to score the winning touchdown in the Tigers victory over Florida. Place-kicker Trent Domingue took a lateral pass from Brad Kragthorpe 16 yards for a touchdown to break a tie between the upbeaten SEC teams with just under eleven minutes remaining to give the Bayou Bengals a hard-earned 35-28 victory.

Apparently Miles’ hat runneth over with fake field goal plays. He used some trickery to put a game away in Tiger Stadium in 2007 against Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina

hat

Miles Has Been Successful With Gadget Plays

Gamecocks. Miles then used the same play in Gainesville in 2010 to gain a crucial first down in a victory over the Gators. Both of those plays involved the holder flipping the football blindly over their shoulders to place-kickers running around the right side. The Carolina play worked flawlessly for a touchdown, while the Florida over the shoulder toss bounced before being picked up by the place kicker.

Domingue’s bobble, and eventual securing of the lateral, tested pacemakers all over Tiger Stadium. Following a couple of downfield blocks, Domingue beat All-American defensive back Vernon Hargreaves to the end zone.

LSU parlayed the running of Leonard Fournette and the passing of Brandon Harris to score four second quarter touchdowns and lead Florida 28-14 at halftime. Fournette scored on two and six yard runs while Harris threw nine and 50-yard touchdown passes to Malachi Dupre.

Despite Domingue’s score, special teams were again a problem area for the Tigers. After allowing a 96-yard kickoff return by Rashad Fenton for a touchdown last week

LSU

Special Team Breakdowns Continue For Tigers

against South Carolina, and unable to defense short kickoffs and punts against the Gamecocks, specialty team mistakes started early against Florida, and almost ended up costing the Tigers the game.

Punt returner Tre’Davious White botched Florida’s first punt, setting up Florida deep in Bengal territory. White’s muff (he touched the ball on a bounce with Gators surrounding him) set up Florida’s first score,

Treon Harris threw a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake McGee when Gator first year coach Jim McElwain gambled on fourth and one. Florida tied the game with one minute left in the third quarter when their punt returner Antonio Callaway scored on a 72-yard return.

While LSU corrected kickoff woes from earlier games by placing kickoffs in the end zone, usually reliable punter Jamie Keehn continued to suffer through a sub-par season. Against the Gators he shanked one punt, and kicked a couple of others that got good bounces. His best punt of the night was returned by Callaway as LSU special teamers got out of their coverage lanes and left one side of the field badly defensed.

football

Rushing Defense Strong While Pass Defense Needs Coverage Improvement

LSU was unable to return any kickoffs and had only two yards in punt returns.

LSU held Florida to 55 yards rushing, but gave up 271 yards passing as Treon Harris, who continually rolled to his right side, hit a couple of wide open wheel routes to the left side of the field. As stated in my blog following the South Carolina game, LSU will have to improve special team performance and tighten up their secondary if they are to contend with other SEC teams down the stretch.

Fournette showed why is gathering so much attention. He ran for 180 yards in 31 carries, but his various runs displayed different strengths that make him such a gifted talent. On his 2-yard score Fournette took a snap in shotgun formation and used his acceleration to get the jump on Gator defenders, practically walking into the end zone. Later in the second quarter, he bulled through the middle of the Florida defense for a score. His speed, power, balance, and acceleration were showcased on one jaunt around end when Gator

Lenord F

Fournette Continues To Show A Wide Range Of Abilities

defenders grabbed at his face mask and he actually punched the defender (in Fournette’s mind he was apparently an offender also) to gain another six yards.

Guess future opponents can forget about any attempts at intimidating the Heisman Trophy hopeful. He has the whole package—-including a devastating “throw them off” stiff arm!

Brandon Harris continued his maturation. The sophomore signal-caller hit Dupre with a beautiful nine-yard scoring pass in the corner of the end zone, and then threw a 50-yard touchdown when he rolled out of trouble, and heaved the toss to Dupre between two befuddled Gators. Dupre caught the pass right next to a turned around safety, and then stepped around him to finish the scoring play.

Miles’ call adds to his reputation as one willing to gamble with gadget plays. He also added to his reputation—at least with this blogger—of one coach who tends to take his foot off of the pedal when he has things going offensively in a game. Most coaches, with a team that has scored four touchdowns in a quarter, will keep up pressing for more. LSU, in typical Miles style, became somewhat conservative in the third quarter, and it almost led to a Florida comeback. This tendency has cost him a couple of defeats to Alabama in recent years.

Tiger fans can only hope Miles’ proneness to go conservative does not rear its ugly head in three weeks in Tuscaloosa.

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