Normally, LSU kicker Trent Domingue doesn’t forget about kicking extra points.
He’s usually on the sideline when the touchdown is scored, waiting patiently to run on the field, swing his leg and run off the field.
On Saturday night, he was standing in the end zone, ball in hand and breathless, having won the Tigers a game in a top-10 showdown via a fake field goal.
“I kind of did black out a little bit in the middle of it,” Domingue said.
No. 6 LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter on that fake field goal, threw a flea flicker to set up another TD and beat No. 8 Florida 35-28 in an electric Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, thrilling a sellout crowd in a top-10 clash.
Coach Les Miles just loves to pull out his bag of tricks and risky play calls against Florida.
Said Domingue: “They call him the Mad Hatter for a reason.”
The Tigers moved to 6-0 and 4-0 the Southeastern Conference. They’re the only unbeaten team left in the SEC, and they got here, in part, because of that 16-yard fake field goal run.
“I’m not really sure what happened after (I scored),” Domingue said. “I just know I ended up on the other side of the field and almost forgot to kick the extra point, which was also difficult because I was pretty tired from that run.”
Running back Leonard Fournette, the Heisman Trophy front-runner, rolled up his eighth straight 100-yard rushing game with a 180-yard day on career-high 31 carries. Brandon Harris threw for 202 yards and two scores, and the Tigers kept Florida out of the end zone on UF’s final three drives.
Defensive end Lewis Neal had a team-leading 10 tackles and three sacks. Defensive back Dwayne Thomas, on one of Florida’s final drives, knocked away a potential touchdown reception, and linebacker Deion Jones batted away a fourth-down pass on another one of those late Gators possessions.
And LSU? It survived a wild one in this wacky rivalry with some — you betcha — trickeration.
“Man,” Jones said, “it was crazy.”
Domingue, a former walk-on, caught a lateral from holder Brad Kragthorpe, the Tigers’ third-string quarterback, and raced in from 16 yards with 10:40 left, breaking a 28-28 tie. LSU had practiced the play for a few weeks Domingue said.
The kicker bobbled the lateral, overhand pass from Kragthorpe before hauling it in and barely beating UF All-America defensive back Vernon Hargreaves to the end zone.
“Told Kragthorpre, ‘We’re not throwing that thing unless you master it,’ ” Miles said. “How many bobbles were there? My heart fluttered with every bobble.”
Said UF coach Jim McElwain: “That was pretty awesome.”
Miles and the Tigers converted on a fake field goal in a win over Florida in 2010. Josh Jasper picked up a first down on a one-hopping lateral in a 33-29 victory; that set up the winning score.
Miles has a long history of such plays against the Gators (6-1, 4-1). Remember the 2007 game in Tiger Stadium? LSU converted on five fourth-down attempts, two of them coming on a go-ahead drive.
“The tricks were on today,” Fournette said.
There was more. LSU led 28-14 after a 28-point second quarter. It included a scrambling 50-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Malachi Dupre and a flea flicker that set up Fournette’s 6-yard plunge into the end zone. But LSU needed a great escape from defensive coordinator Kevin Steele’s unit in the end. The Tigers stuffed Florida’s final three drives while holding that seven-point lead.
“Gets your heart pumping real fast,” Jones said of those final stops. “We had to stick together. We had to become one unit and try not to make any mistakes on the sidelines.”
Florida’s last drive ended at midfield. Treon Harris launched a pass short of the end zone and just out of bounds, eliciting a roar from the 102,321 in Tiger Stadium.
One of the guests on this cool October night? Movie star Tom Cruise, taking in his first college football game while in the state filming a movie. He saw a dandy.
Florida scored a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter, and then the Gators tied the score at 28 on Antonio Callaway’s 72-yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:04 to play in the third quarter — another special-teams miscue for LSU. For the first time since 1999, LSU has allowed touchdowns on punt and kick returns in a season.
All of a sudden, the Tigers’ 28-14 halftime lead was gone.
How did they answer? They marched 75 yards on 11 plays, capped with that wild fake field goal. Domingue, who is 7-for-7 on field goals this season, earned a scholarship this year. He hauled in Kragthorpe’s lateral pass, to a roar.
“I was talking to Coach Frank (Wilson), just telling him about the defense,” Fournette said. “Next thing you know, I look up and saw Trent bobbling the ball and running. I thought, ‘Please don’t drop it.’ ”
Domingue said it was his first touchdown in organized football. It might be his first time touching a football in live action, too.
“Everything looked good,” he said. “It was the look we wanted. I was like, ‘We’re actually running it now.’ ”
It was the highlight of an electric night.
For just the sixth time in LSU history, two unbeaten top-10 teams met in a night game at Tiger Stadium after the month of September.
Students had nearly completely filled their section in the north end zone 90 minutes before kickoff, and tailgaters blanketed campus with bumper-to-bumper traffic meandering through — all a far cry from last week’s bizarre setting against South Carolina.
That game — a 45-24 Tigers victory — was moved from Columbia because of the massive flooding in South Carolina. LSU sold just 42,000 tickets, the least-attended game in Tiger Stadium since 1957. Tailgate lots were empty, and parking spots were an easy find.
That wasn’t the case Saturday. The average price for a ticket on the secondary market was more than $200, and some were priced as high as $1,000.
The Tigers started in a hole because of a special teams miscue.
Tre’Davious White muffed a punt after Florida’s first drive, and the Gators recovered at the LSU 13-yard line. Treon Harris, filling in for suspended starter Will Grier, found wide-open tight end Jake McGee on fourth-and-1 from the 4-yard line to give the Gators a 7-0 lead.
The rough start continued. Travin Dural dropped what could have been a first-down pass on the opening series. Even Fournette had a blooper: He fumbled out of bounds on the game’s second series.
The Tigers got it together, though. They went on that second-inning scoring binge, rolling up four touchdowns in snazzy fashion. That flea flicker that had Tiger Stadium rocking to set up one score, and a scrambling Brandon Harris found Dupre for a 50-yard touchdown with just 15 seconds left in the first half.
The 28 points in the second tied the LSU record for points scored in a second quarter from records that date to 1948.
The 52-yard flea flicker — Harris to Fournette, then Fournette back to Harris — set up the running back’s 6-yard plunge for a 21-6 lead. Fournette said he nearly fell to the ground as he turned around to flip it back to Harris.
“The only thing going through my head was, ‘Can’t go down,’ ” Fournette said.
Florida marched down to make it 21-14 before Harris wowed the raucous crowd, eluding a sack and then finding Dupre at about the 10-yard line. Dupre skated into the end zone, and the Tigers celebrated wildly — a stunning score on third-and-9 from midfield.
“It was exciting to go out there and show that we can throw the ball,” Harris said. “Apparently people think I can’t throw.”
He’s proving the doubters wrong with each passing game. Harris is a combined 27 of 41 for 430 yards and four touchdowns in the last two outings.
The star of this one, though? That former walk-on kicker from Mandeville, of course. Domingue beat out Colby Delahoussaye during a competition during preseason camp. He’s 7-for-7 and now has a touchdown.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.