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LSU silences critics in The Swamp

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No time management issues here. In fact, LSU needed all the time it could muster to pull off a stunning 33-29 victory over the Florida Gators on Saturday night. After a week full of criticism, controversy, and being the punch line to expert football humor, the LSU Tigers silenced their naysayers with a huge victory over their intra-division rival. Six weeks into the season, LSU sits at 6-0 and ranked in the Top 10 for the first time this year.

Looking briefly at the stat sheet, the Tigers shouldn’t have needed a last second touchdown pass from Jarrett Lee to Terrence Toliver to beat the Gators. LSU nearly beat themselves on a night that saw their offense rack up 385 total yards and a defense that held Florida to 243. Two LSU turnovers gave Florida a short field and led to two Gator touchdowns. Add on top of that a rare special teams breakdown and 21 of the Gators 29 points came as a result of Tigers miscues.

But the home team usually catches the breaks and The Swamp is a daunting place to play if you’re and opposing team. That’s all the so-called experts needed to pick against these Bayou Bengals.

Unfortunately for them, these Bengal Tigers had other plans.

You can’t measure a team’s heart and you won’t find its resolve on a stat line. Despite what is said about this team and its coach, these players fight tooth and nail for this program and, to borrow a line from Coach Miles, enjoy playing for victory. They say what won’t kill you will only make you stronger and that seems to be the theme of this Tiger team and it showed on Saturday night.

The turnovers nearly killed the Tigers. The fight and resolve to overcome those turnovers led to their victory. That, and a flip, bounce, scoop, and an up field move by a 171 lb kicker.

The play is called “Tiger.” In 2007 it worked to perfection at home against the South Carolina Gamecocks. LSU lined up for a field goal attempt, only to take the snap, flip it over the head of the holder into the arms of a dashing kicker, on his way to the endzone. That was Matt Flynn and Colt David. This time it was Derek Helton and Josh Jasper; and this time perfection wasn’t attained but execution was achieved.

With LSU trailing by three late in the ballgame, the Tigers lined up for what would have been a game-tying 53 yard field goal. Instead, the Mad Hatter went to his bag of tricks because, as he said, “we saw an opportunity for a score.”

When opportunity meets preparation, the end result is…..field goalroosky?

A bad flip by Derek Helton led to a lucky bounce on the line of scrimmage, three missed tackles, and an LSU first down. Four plays later Lee found Toliver in the endzone for the game winning score. It’s the third last second play this season that ended in LSU’s favor.

Whether its luck or preparation, the opportunity is there for a special season. LSU comes home for a non-conference game against McNeese St. before they have to take to the road again to face another undefeated team, the Auburn Tigers. Six weeks into the season an unblemished record probably has surprised a lot of people; but not the coach.

Not the Head Coach of a team full of “fighting, tough, hard-nosed group of kids.”

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