The thousands of fans who rushed out of their seats after LSU’s win over Ole Miss last Saturday didn’t just stomp on the field at Tiger Stadium. They took some of it with them.
Grounds crew members had to replace at least nine patches of sod that had been dug up by fans following the Tigers’ 10-7 win over then-No. 3 Ole Miss. Five of the patches — as large as nine inches long and four inches deep — were located on LSU’s midfield tiger eye logo.
“People took big hunks out,” said Eric Fasbender, assistant director of athletic facilities and grounds at LSU. “They wanted a souvenir.”
Fans used the heels of their shoes to gouge portions of the field. Fortunately, LSU is off this week.
The No. 16th-ranked Tigers (7-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) host No. 3 Alabama (7-1, 4-1) on Nov. 8. Fasbender said the field is in “decent shape considering it had 10-15,000 people on it.”
“We’re going to be in good shape for Alabama,” he said.
Fasbender and his crew replaced the missing chunks with sod from the visitor’s bench, the area where fabric is placed. The transplanted pieces are already growing in with the surrounding grass, he said Thursday.
Fasbender rushed from the press box to the field as he saw hundreds of students clearing two barriers and rushing onto the field following the win — LSU’s first field-storming since Auburn in 2001.
He watched as his precious turf was overcome by the stampede.
“It was really kind of a helpless feeling,” Fasbender said.
While ground crew members and authorities guarded the goal posts in the north end zone, fans began digging up chunks of sod, specifically at midfield.
“There were a lot of people I had to sternly but politely tell to refrain from removing chunks of our field,” Fasbender said.
LSU punter Jamie Keehn was on the field for the mayhem.
“It was great. I loved it. I was not going to miss that opportunity. Few of the guys tried to get out of there real quick, but there was no chance I was going to miss out on that. It was good fun,” Keehn said in his disctinct Australian accent. “There was a lot of selfies going on. (Eric) said a lot of guys were cutting out patches of grass. People were filling their pocket up with grass, which is crazy and is awesome at the same time. Great story to tell.”
Before his game-winning touchdown catch in the win over Ole Miss, tight end Logan Stokes first had to put on a show.
Stokes acted as if he were cut-blocking Ole Miss cornerback Senquez Golson. Offensive players use cut blocks during running plays to chop the legs from under a defender.
Golson took one step inside as if he were attacking a running play as Stokes dropped to his knees on the fake cut-block.
Stokes’ acting paid off. He slipped into the end zone and caught the game-winner all alone.
“I had to sell it,” Stokes said. “I had to figure out a way to sell out.”
LSU practiced the play all week leading up to the game, and the Tigers had run the ball the first 12 plays of that 13-play drive.
Stokes is seen on replay dropping to the ground in front of Golson in what was a fake cut-block. He made it look poorly executed on purpose — he didn’t want Golson to fall on him.
“It didn’t look as good as I thought it was,” Stokes said this week. “He played off a little bit, and I didn’t want to really cut him and him fall on my back and me not able to get up.”
On Thursday, Former LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October.
Landry, a second-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins this spring, earned the honor after returning five kickoffs for 178 yards. He averaged 35.6 yards per return with a long of 54 yards for the month.
Landry’s average was the second-highest in the NFL in October. For the season, he has returned 16 kicks for 500 yards, including a long of 74, for an average of 31.3 yards per kickoff return to lead the league.