When J.D. Moore stood up, he had no idea what was happening.
Tight end Foster Moreau was the first to sprint to him, with left tackle Saahdiq Charles a close second.
A few moments later Moore recognized Blake Ferguson in the crowd of people surrounding him.
But that couldn’t be right, he thought. Ferguson is LSU’s long snapper and shouldn’t be on the field with the offense.
That’s when it suddenly dawned on Moore where he was standing.
With two 2:31 left to play in the third quarter and LSU on the Ole Miss 11-yard line, quarterback Danny Etling had three options: he could hand the ball off to Russell Gage on the jet sweep, he could pitch the ball inside to Moore or he could hold it himself and run.
At that point in the game, Etling already proved his worth as a runner, taking a ball 5 yards for a score about three minutes of game time earlier.
And few plays have been as effective for the Tigers this season as letting Gage race a defender to the edge.
That’s probably why no one expected Moore to get the ball — especially not him.
Pulling a call out of Matt Canada’s old Pitt playbook, Etling faked the handoff to Gage before popping back for a quick shovel pass to Moore, all while four Ole Miss defenders followed Gage around the left side.
Moore made it 4 yards before the defenders adjusted to put a body on him, which he easily shook off. An Ole Miss safety stepped up to make a hit at the goal line, but by then it was too late.
J.D. Moore had scored the first touchdown of his college career.
“I knew it was a triple option, so I knew there was a 33 percent chance I might get the ball,” Moore said. “I was just like, ‘OK, I’m going to do my job, stay in my lane, and if I get the ball we’ll see what happens.
“Usually I can tell when Danny pulls it if he’s going to flip it, so when he pulled it I said, ‘Let’s go.’"
Moore knew the call was in the playbook and there was always a chance it could come to him, but he never expected he would score.
Even when he got the ball, a little piece of him remembered in the back of his head what happened last time he came close to the end zone.
On LSU’s first offensive drive against Florida in 2016, Etling hit Moore on a 6-yard pass that initially was called a touchdown. But an official review determined Moore's knee hit the ground before the ball crossed the line, negating the score.
Moore said he wasn’t nervous a similar fate would befall on him this time around, but it was a nice feeling when the touchdown was made official.
“It was a little bit surreal, because I hadn’t done it in five years,” Moore said. “At the beginning of that play, I wasn’t really expecting it. I just made the right move, saw the opportunity, it was right there and I went for it and dove in. It’s a surreal memory right now.”
After the game, the first people Moore sought out were his parents, who travel with the team to all the games.
Melinda and Byron Moore sat with Danny Etling and Foster Moreau's families in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, with the entire group going crazy after each of the three families' sons got in the end zone.
But just like J.D., the Moores weren't prepared for how fast everything moves after a touchdown.
"We knew that whenever it would happen we would go crazy, and we totally did," Melinda said. "This week since we’ve been back, we’ve been able to watch it on the TV and kind of see what happened to him on the field afterward. If I had a regret, it was that I didn’t watch on the field with all the guys high-fiving him in the end zone and on the sideline because we were all going crazy."
Moore's confidence boost comes at a crucial time for LSU as it heads into the Alabama game this weekend.
Ever since LSU lost to Troy a month ago, there's been a renewed sense of urgency among team leaders to do their part in pushing the Tigers to victory.
Few players on LSU’s roster inspire as much respect from teammates as Moore.
A walk-on from Ruston, he fought his way to a scholarship his redshirt sophomore season.
Two years later as a senior, he became the first person to ever share the coveted No. 18 jersey, awarded each season to a player who shows strong signs of leadership and dedication to the program.
Defensive end Christian LaCouture earned the jersey first but suggested just before the start of the season that Moore should share it with him.
So when Moore reached the end zone for the first time since he was a high school senior, it was almost as sweet a victory for those around him.
“I’ve always said J.D. … is an All-American boy,” said left guard Garrett Brumfield. “Just seeing J.D. coming as a walk-on to getting a scholarship to getting a starting spot and seeing him progress through that and then seeing him (score) in that stadium was really great. I was happy for him.”
Etling didn’t find out until after the game that it was Moore’s first touchdown, but he was happy to be a part of it, nonetheless.
“It was the look we got, and we decided to call that play instead,” Etling said. “J.D. did a good job of making that play work, and we got it.”