BATON ROUGE, La. — Some plays are exciting. Some plays are important. And some plays are just plain stupid. As is the case with our pick for the No. 8 most important play of the LSU football season, some plays are all three.
Over the next two weeks, we at SEC Country will be counting down our picks for the Top 10 most important plays of the 2016 LSU football season. They’re not all pleasant memories, but it wasn’t the most pleasant year.
To catch up with those, follow the links below.
Today, we reveal our pick for No. 8, the first happy play of the countdown, and perhaps the happiest play of the year.
No. 8: Tre’Davious White’s punt return vs. Jacksonville State
Senior cornerback Tre’ White is a lot of things. A great punt returner, though, he is not. This play, his best punt return of the year, illustrates that pretty well.
By all accounts, White should’ve been tackled five or six times on this play. Were this game against a higher degree of competition, he probably would’ve been taken down. But, because he’s a superb athlete, White kept his footing and never lost his progress.
Sure, he was running backwards for half the return, but that’s just part of his mystique.
Still, a cool punt return with a lot of broken tackles against an FCS opponent doesn’t justify our No. 8 slot on its own. More than the play itself, this return was a steadying point in LSU’s season.
Just a week after the Tigers’ disappointing season-opening loss to Wisconsin, LSU came out flat against Jacksonville State. So flat, in fact, that starting quarterback Brandon Harris was benched in favor of Danny Etling after one quarter.
But this return, along with Etling’s calming presence, steered the LSU football team’s season back on track. It would get derailed again two weeks later with the loss to Auburn, but that Auburn loss looks more excusable now that Auburn is in the Sugar Bowl than it did back in Week 4.
Plus, this play helped earn White a spot as a finalist for the Thorpe Award, given out to the best defensive back in college football. A signature play for a signature player. And our pick for the eighth best play of the LSU football season.