ARLINGTON, Texas — Cole Tracy, one of the many, many new players the LSU Tigers are counting to play critical roles this season, reached back with his right leg and kicked for all his might at the goal posts 54 yards away, his longest attempt ever he said.
The ball skipped over the crossbar and was good, tying a school record to boot.
When it is your night it is your night. And Sunday was most definitely LSU’s night.
I don’t know if LSU coach Ed Orgeron went to mass Sunday morning, but as it turned out the Miami Hurricanes, shockingly, didn’t have a prayer. His LSU Tigers didn’t just beat the ‘Canes, they routed them, stunning not only the nation’s No. 8-ranked team but all of college football in the process.
LSU 33, Miami 17. Not even Orgeron’s sainted mother Coco could have believed this was coming.
If former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Monday Night Football star Dandy Don Meredith were alive, about the middle of the third quarter Sunday night he would have been a croonin’:
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“Turn out the lights, the party’s over …”
Then again, maybe the Dandy One would have been too shocked by what he saw the LSU Tigers do to the Miami Hurricanes to get the words out.
“Got a happy football team in there,” said Orgeron as he came out for his postgame presser. He tried not to show it, but his inner Coach O had to be doing cartwheels.
ESPN commissioned a Marvel comic book illustration for this game showing a Tiger doing battle with a Miami ibis.
If Marvel folks had been given the chance to marvel at LSU’s victory, they might have shown a Tiger racing past one slack-jawed waterfowl on the way to the end zone.
LSU was physical, opportunistic and better prepared than Miami. For Orgeron, who was said to be sitting on one hot seat in his temporary coaching office in Tiger Stadium, this win will rival LSU’s amazing comeback victory against Auburn last season.
Tigers linebacker Devin White insisted he was not surprised.
“In the end,” he said, with a game-worn raspy voice, “we are LSU.”
And Miami is Miami. The U appeared to be back after starting 10-0 last season and thrusting itself into the thick of the national championship hunt before a season-ending three-game losing streak (now four). The ‘Canes rode their turnover chain to victory after victory and became something of a national sensation.
What of that celebrated and overwrought turnover chain Sunday? It stayed under lock and key the entire night, in a box labeled “Do not open until next Saturday.” LSU won the turnover battle, too, 2-nil, with Jacob Phillips rumbling for a pick six late in the second quarter off a tipped pass by Ed Alexander that put the Tigers up 27-3 and essentially put Miami’s lights out.
“They’re a great team,” Miami quarterback Malik Rosier said. “They did some stuff that we weren’t prepared for.”
Afterward, LSU’s “Turnover Towel” made its debut, as Phillips went back to his euphoric sideline and wrapped it joyously around its neck.
Miami is well-known for its infamous, flashy orange-green-and-gold "turnover" chain that players don on the sidelines after causing a turnover.
Personally, I would have preferred seeing a turnover link of boudin. Or, even better, nothing at all. These turnover props are getting out of hand.
But back to the game. Suddenly, what was a push-and-shove first quarter that saw LSU leading 10-3 at the end of it had become a rout that harkened back to LSU’s 40-3 clocking of Miami in the 2005 Peach Bowl.
Actually, the Tigers only led 20-3 at halftime of that one.
That night ended with a postgame fight, an absolute melee that extended up a field level entrance in the now demolished Georgia Dome. This night started with a skirmish, a pregame standoff and questioning of other people’s manhood on both sides, but did not escalate into anything serious. You may find such displays of male ego distasteful, but it showed that the Tigers were ready for the fight and had the confidence to stare down the Hurricanes and not blink.
“We thought they might pull something like that,” said quarterback Joe Burrow, LSU’s gritty new leader.