There are dozens of plays in each football game, but some stick out more significantly than others. That is multiplied exponentially over the course of a whole season — even among hundreds of plays, there are a few that set the tone for what happened more than the others.
We at SEC Country are spending the next two weeks counting down the most important plays of the 2016 LSU football season. Today is the second day of the countdown, one that will continue with one post every weekday until we’ve reached No. 1.
Yesterday, Nick Suss got things started with the No. 10 most important play of LSU’s season — Leonard Fournette re-injuring his ankle late in the Auburn game.
No. 9: The Florida field goal flub
— FanSportsClips (@FanSportsClips) November 19, 2016
It was the chip shot of all chip shots — a field goal shorter in distance than an extra point. But in a game where virtually nothing went right for LSU, this play proved to be no exception.
After getting stymied near the goal line by the Gators defense midway through the third quarter, LSU settled for a 19-yard Colby Delahoussaye field goal attempt to extend its lead to 10-3. But it did not take long for things to go awry.
Freshman holder Josh Growden dropped the snap, backpedalling as players went every which direction in front of him. The Aussie, not exactly accustomed to throwing a football, launched what amounted to the world’s shortest Hail Mary attempt to a mass of humanity in the end zone. The ball bounced around before hitting the turf.
For a moment, it was a disappointing play, but hardly a devastating blow. And then the next play happened.
Florida quarterback Austin Appleby found freshman wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland deep downfield and connected with him on a 98-yard touchdown reception.
Just moments before LSU seemed on the verge of being up 14-3, or at the very worst 10-3. Instead, the Gators were somehow on top and would finish with a 16-10 win that extinguished LSU’s hopes of reaching the Sugar Bowl.
Though the Appleby-to-Cleveland connection is certainly more memorable, that play does not happen without the chaotic field goal attempt that directly preceded it.