As the holder on field goals, Brad Kragthorpe rarely gets a chance to throw the football.
But when junior kicker Trent Domingue bobbled the senior quarterback’s lateral during LSU’s fake field goal against Florida on Saturday night, Kragthorpe thought he might have to do something even more unusual.
“I kind of stood up and was thinking, ‘If this hits the ground, I gotta go try and make a tackle if one of their guys scoops it up,’ ” he said Monday.
Domingue saved his holder from having to tackle a defender — and the undefeated Tigers from a potential home loss.
After a few juggles, Domingue wrangled the ball and scurried 16 yards for the deciding score in the Tigers’ 35-28 win against the Gators.
The play came early in the fourth quarter after Florida reclaimed momentum with two scores in the third. Facing fourth-and-13 in a tie game, coach Les Miles rolled the dice.
“I was excited. I wasn’t too nervous or anything,” Kragthorpe said. “We knew what we were looking for when we went out there. They were in the formation that we wanted them to be in, and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Domingue and Kragthorpe declined to specify what look the Gators showed them, but the right side of Florida’s line crashed inside to try to block the kick. Kragthorpe quickly tossed the lateral from one knee, and Domingue had just enough room to outrun the defenders for a touchdown.
Kragthorpe said the players have been practicing the play for weeks and that he and Domingue drilled it about 20 times last week.
The holder has the authority to audible if the defense is aligned unfavorably, but that wasn’t the case Saturday.
“We ran on the field and were intentionally gonna run the fake unless they were in a look that would make us check out of it,” Domingue said. “We got the look and executed perfectly.”
Miles said he “had six people calling that (play) before it ever came to my mouth.”
Kragthorpe, Domingue and special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto were among them, of course. Kragthorpe said he shared a special moment after the game with his father Steve, LSU’s special assistant to the head coach and chief of staff.
Saturday’s trick play wasn’t Kragthorpe’s first brush with a fake field goal: He attempted to run in a fake as time expired in the first half of LSU’s Music City Bowl loss to Notre Dame last year, but officials ruled him down short of the goal line.
This fake statistically was a rush for Domingue, so Kragthorpe doesn’t receive any share of the credit for the score.
“A lot of my friends were giving me crap (after the game),” Kragthorpe said, smiling. “They were like, ‘You’ve come this close to accounting for a touchdown twice now.’ ”
LSU might be without its starting fullback again when Western Kentucky visits Tiger Stadium on Saturday.
Miles didn’t provide a timetable for sophomore JD Moore’s return from the strained knee ligament he suffered against South Carolina on Oct. 10. He didn’t play against Florida, forcing the Tigers to rely on true freshman Bry’Kiethon Mouton when they used a fullback — about 37 of 60 plays.
“I know that he’s getting better,” Miles said. “I don’t know exactly to what extent or when he could possibly return.”
League awards for 2 Tigers
For the fourth time this season, the Southeastern Conference honored two LSU players with weekly awards.
For the first time this season, Leonard Fournette wasn’t one of them.
Junior defensive end Lewis Neal earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors, and senior right tackle Vadal Alexander was recognized as the Offensive Lineman of the Week.
Neal tied for the team lead with 10 tackles, 3.5 of which went for losses. He harassed Florida quarterback Treon Harris all night, finishing with three sacks, three hurries and a pass breakup.
Alexander had 13 knockdowns and didn’t allow any sacks or pressures. He helped Fournette reach 180 yards on the ground, and Florida failed to come up with a sack after averaging 3.5 in its first six games.
All about protection
Miles would like a word with the SEC office.
Following the Florida game, Miles expressed discontent with defenders throwing Fournette to the ground and piling on top of him after his forward progress was stopped. He said he was worried about player safety and wasn’t trying to get penalties called on the opponent.
Miles said he turned in several clips to league officials but had not heard back as of Monday afternoon.
“The whistle needs to be blown,” he said. “Then, when the whistle is blown, the defense is allowed to let go of (Fournette), as opposed to continue to drive (him) 10 yards and throw (him) on the ground. Those kind of things need not to happen.”
Alexander said he didn’t think the situation ever got out of hand. To him, that’s just what happens when LSU and Florida get together.
“When you play an intense game like that,” he said, “the defense wants to set the tone.”