Countdown to Kickoff: Fake field goal lifts 2015 LSU against top-10 Florida team

The Les Miles era at LSU was filled with dichotomy.

The results of the games were thrilling yet rote. The team enjoyed success, but seasons never lacked in disappointment. There was ample chaos, but the absurdity always felt measured. It was as if each moment of entropy was all part of the design of a calculating mastermind.

There was absolutely no mastermind behind the curtain, but it sometimes felt that way.

When it came to LSU teams coached by Miles, there were many experiences that were, for lack of a better word, unexpected, but there was one predictable element that appeared frequently in this period of Tiger football.

With Miles, the certainties in life always seemed to be death, taxes, and trick plays against the Florida Gators.

The 2015 installment of the LSU-Florida rivalry did not buck this trend.

It was a Saturday night in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Tiger Stadium was playing host to a top-10 matchup between two undefeated Southeastern Conference teams.

Florida began the contest with the ball, but its drive was quickly halted by the LSU defense.

Unfortunately, Tiger returner Tre’Davious White muffed the ensuing punt at the LSU 13-yard line, and the Gators quickly capitalized with a touchdown.

After an exchange of punts, the Tigers finally put a methodical drive together that included several completed passes between LSU quarterback Brandon Harris and wide receiver Travin Dural which culminated in a touchdown run from running back Leonard Fournette.

However, unlike previous games discussed in this countdown to kickoff series, the Tigers were not the one-trick pony that previously had to rely on Fournette.

The sophomore running back was definitely a big part of the offense, but LSU’s Harris carried his weight as well.

On the Tigers’ second scoring drive, Harris connected with receiver Malachi Dupre on a beautiful 9-yard pass in the back of the end zone, and the touchdown gave LSU a 14-7 lead.

Creativity was also a factor on the LSU sideline. With the ball at midfield, the Tiger coaching staff decided to dial up a flea flicker to take advantage of the Gators’ game plan to key in on Fournette at any cost. The result was a 52-yard completion to Dupre that set the Tigers up nicely for another touchdown run from Fournette.

With 2:24 seconds left in the first half, Florida wasted no time in cutting its deficit back to seven with a 50-second touchdown.

Surprisingly, LSU did not play it safe and take it to the locker room. Instead, the Tigers drove down the field in four plays and scored thanks to another 50-yard pass play to Dupre.

LSU led 28-14 at half, and the stadium was buzzing, but the last of the fireworks had yet to be ignited.

However, whatever fireworks were left for the fans of the purple and gold ambled their way toward ignition in the second half.

The Tigers struggled to get anything going on offense, and while the LSU front seven played admirably thanks to the likes of Lewis Neal, Davon Godchaux, and Kendell Beckwith, the secondary struggled mightily.

Florida tied the game 28-28, and the Tigers entered the fourth quarter with the ball and their backs against the wall.

LSU managed to drive into Florida territory but stalled around the Gator 15-yard line. On fourth and long, the Tiger kicker Trent Domingue lined up for a 33-yard attempt. The stadium grew silent with the held breath of more than 100,000 LSU fans praying for the ball to split the uprights.

Fans watched in awe as the ball was snapped, first to the holder Brad Kragthorpe before the ball was shoveled to Domingue in stride as he sprinted to the far sideline. It was a patented Miles fake, and the Gators were completely caught off guard.

Thanks to a lead block by Colin Jeter, Domingue strutted into the endzone untouched, and LSU took a 35-28 lead.

Tiger Stadium erupted with the energy that had been suppressed for nearly the entire second half, and the momentum of the game shifted squarely into LSU’s hands.

The 35-28 lead held to the end of the game in spite of some late heroics from the Gators. The Tigers had successfully knocked off a top-10 opponent to remain unbeaten heading into the seventh week of the season, and the road to the College Football Playoff was in the team’s sight.

What a great time to be an LSU Tiger, and what an awful time to be a Florida Gator.

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