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At some point in the night, Les Miles is going to go home, tap his pet cobra on the head, then go back behind the shed, find his burlap sack, and make sure he still has a little of that LSU black magic in it.
It what will undoubtedly wind up as the most obtuse ending to a meaningful college football game this year, LSU did LSU things and beat Ole Miss in a fashion fit for debate forever. By now, we all know the story. Ole Miss was set to take a 47-yard field goal with nine seconds left and opted to run one more play.
You can debate forever what was the right decision. On my end, you go house money and try to kick the field goal. Others might say you put the trust in your senior quarterback to see a quick route to the sidelines and hit it, but if not, throw the ball away.
LSU and Ole Miss spent the better part of the night like two people stumbling around running into furniture in the middle of the night trying to find the bathroom. LSU made a litany of mistakes, while Ole Miss was completely unwilling to do anything with them. That failure to take advantage of LSU’s miscues came back to bite the Rebels in the fourth quarter. LSU shook off a sloppy evening to drive 95 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. The Tigers’ offensive line was so dominant on that drive that LSU threw only one pass… the one that scored.
That’s LSU doing LSU things, showing that the Tigers — after half a season learning how to play together — have clearly taken some forward steps.
Here’s your deal on how the last play that everyone will be kvetching over the next week went:
Ole Miss saw a long field goal to tie, ran onto the field to set it up, and LSU wisely called a timeout. Whether it’s to freeze a kicker, get your formation into the right angle, or if you saw something on film over the week that’d help you in this situation, you run with it.
Ole Miss gathered at the sidelines and decided that PANIC wasn’t at this disco, and there were nine seconds left, which in sports is something of an eternity if you play it right.
So the Rebels got to thinking, “We can make this a much easier field goal if we hit a quick out and give ourselves a better chance at taking this thing in overtime.”
Which is when Bo Wallace and the offense came out, because when you have a senior quarterback, it gives you some faith this thing can get done.
Do you just line up and kick the field goal? Hell if I know. The odds suggest you go that route, but then this is college football, and kicking is somewhat of a Ouija Board session every week. You know your team, Hugh Freeze … if your guy looks like he’s starving to tie this game and then end it in overtime, you go with it and let him have a crack.
If you feel your quarterback is going to make the right throw, you roll the dice with those nine seconds. Only Freeze knows his football team enough to understand why he scrapped the field goal for a few more yards. It’s easy to play “armchair Twitter guy” and say “HORRIBLE CALL” or “BLAME BO WALLACE FOR EVERYTHING,” but it doesn’t make it right.
Every coach has the pulse of his team. Freeze decided the pulse told him to take one more shot and get it closer. If it’s five yards closer and the field goal is missed, it’s “another coach relying on a college kicker.”
If it ends the way it did, it’s “Why even take a chance there?”
That’s why you get paid the paper money in mass quantities: to make those decisions and live the with results. You win some, you lose some.
Hugh Freeze grabs some bourbon; Les Miles more black magic.