NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Did he or didn’t he?
Just before halftime of Tuesday’s Music City Bowl, LSU looked like it was going to settle for a 19-yard field goal try by Trent Domingue.
Instead, holder and backup quarterback Brad Kragthorpe took the snap and took off for the end zone. Near the 2, Kragthorpe bumped into teammate Terrence Magee, slowing his momentum.
He lunged for the goal line, but officials ruled him down inside the 1-yard line with 5 seconds left before halftime. A review of the play didn’t reverse the call.
Notre Dame ran a play into the line to run out the clock and went into the break up 21-14 — a critical turn of events in what eventually was a 31-28 LSU defeat.
ESPN video of the play appeared to show Kragthorpe broke the plane with the front half of the ball. LSU coach Les Miles said on the school’s radio broadcast at halftime he and his coaches in the press box watching on TV monitors thought Kragthorpe scored.
His opinion hadn’t changed after the game.
“Just before the half, they tell me that with all the review I could get from the field, that ball crosses the goal line,” Miles said. “If that’s the case, then we need a better way to communicate that to us. We need to see it better on the field.”
Kragthorpe is the son of former LSU offensive coordinator and current LSU football chief of staff Steve Kragthorpe.
“(He) said he absolutely scored,” Miles said. “Kids will be kids, but this guy’s going to tell the truth. He’s going to tell it to you straight.”
The officiating crew, including head replay official Dan Hill, was from the Pac-12 Conference. A statement from referee Mike Batlan was requested but not provided.
Smith’s big day
Sophomore tight end DeSean Smith entered LSU’s game against Notre Dame with zero catches on the season.
He exited LP Field with four.
Smith caught four of quarterback Anthony Jennings’ seven completions.
His 66 yards were nearly half of LSU’s 151 yards through the air.
“Guess it was my time,” Smith said after the game. “I just pray every day and stay humble. Happened to be my biggest game of the season.”
It came almost four months after Smith dropped what would have been a lengthy reception in the season opener against Wisconsin. It’s rarely, if at all, been targeted since that drop.
“Told myself that’s not me. I don’t do that,” Smith said. “After that, man, I stayed late after practice and even when people didn’t see me working I was working on getting my hands stronger.”
Jennings found Smith on two 17-yarders, a 21-yarder and a 7-yarder. Smith, a consensus four-star recruit out of Lake Charles, caught every ball thrown in his direction.
“I felt like they had trust in me all along,” Smith said. “It just took time to get the opportunity again and it finally came.”
Freshman receiver Malachi Dupre took to Twitter after Tuesday’s game to air his frustration.
Dupre tweeted “Smh” immediately after the game, an acronym for “shaking my head.” He followed that by tweeting: “Something has to change.”
Dupre, according to the stats, was not targeted in the game against Notre Dame. He finished the season with 14 catches and 318 yards with five touchdowns.
LSU had just four receivers catch passes this season, an SEC low. Dupre, Travin Dural, John Diarse and Trey Quinn were the four.
Jones didn’t travel
LSU backup fullback Melvin Jones did not travel with the team to Nashville, team spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed.
Jones has played little, if any, since he dropped a critical pass in overtime in LSU’s loss to Alabama on Nov. 8. Connor Neighbors appeared to be the only fullback to play in the game against Notre Dame.
Jones, a sophomore from Lake Charles, played significantly when Neighbors missed the Tigers’ win at Florida.
His drop against Alabama came on the first play of overtime with the Tigers down 20-13. LSU didn’t pick up a first down in its overtime series, and the Tide won.
Vadal still undecided
LSU starting left guard Vadal Alexander said he still hasn’t decided whether to forgo his senior season and place his name in May’s NFL draft.
“I will have to sit down and talk to my parents about it,” he said.
Alexander said earlier this week he got a stay-in-school grade from the NFL draft advisory board as did most if not all of the other LSU juniors considering leaving early.
The deadline for players to make a decision is Jan. 15.
Captains for LSU’s final 2014 game were Magee, punter Jamie Keehn, left tackle La’el Collins, linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive end Jermauria Rasco. ... Leonard Fournette started at running back for LSU, his sixth start of the year. … LSU played its first bowl game under sunny skies for the first time under coach Les Miles. The Tigers have played indoors in seven of 10 bowls under Miles, and the two previous outdoor bowls have come under cloudy and rainy weather. … LSU is now 5-6 against Notre Dame, 2-1 in bowl games. … LSU is now 23-22-1 in bowls overall, 6-4 under Miles. … Notre Dame is 17-17 in bowls after its first back-to-back bowl wins since winning three straight from 1991-93. … LSU opens the 2015 season at home on Sept. 5 against McNeese State.