BATON ROUGE, La. — The 2017 LSU football season gave us electric offensive showings and stifling defensive performances. But only 10 plays could make SEC Country’s countdown of the top LSU plays of 2017.
This week, we work our way into the Top 5 — the creme de la creme. And no account of the most visually stunning plays of this LSU season would be complete without senior wide receiver Russell Gage Jr. jumping over some hapless defender.
- RELATED: No. 10 — Darrel Williams slashes Alabama with the Wildcat
- No. 9 — Derrius Guice blows past Arkansas
- No. 8 – Connor Culp stuns Auburn
- No. 7 – Danny Etling and Drake Davis go deep
- No. 6 — Donte Jackson dashes Auburn’s dreams
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 7, 2017
LSU went to Florida reeling. The Tigers were fresh off a stunning loss to Troy, and had been clobbered by Mississippi State in their only other SEC game before visiting Gainesville. There were already murmurs about Ed Orgeron’s job security not even halfway into his first full year as head coach.
LSU was in desperate need of an unexpected road win.
The first three possessions at Florida were precisely what everyone expected — ugly offense. Florida and LSU combined for two first downs before the Tigers took over on their own 14 after the Gators’ second punt.
The Tigers faced a second-and-8 from their own 28 when a jolt of excitement rocked The Swamp.
Quarterback Danny Etling faked a handoff up the middle to Darrel Williams, then handed the ball to Gage on an end around. No one was within Gage’s vicinity for the first 7 yards of his journey, but in order to get the first down, he needed to beat one man — Florida’s Duke Dawson.
But Gage did not spin, juke or lower his shoulder to go through Dawson. Instead, he went Olympian, leaping over the Florida cornerback with a full-blown hurdle. Though LSU fans were familiar with Gage’s penchant for hurdling, Florida fans were not. Gators fans could not help but let out an appreciative gasp for Gage’s move, even though it hurt their team. And with the game nationally televised on CBS, social media immediately started buzzing over the superhero-like maneuver.
The hurdle didn’t end up being Gage’s most important play of the game. He finished off the same drive with a 30-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep. Gage also helped close the 17-16 win out by downing a Zach Von Rosenberg punt at the 4-yard line to pin Florida on its final possession.
In theory, it could be argued that perhaps those plays wouldn’t have happened if Gage hadn’t hurdled to a first down. But in this case, importance is trumped by an athletic feat that looks impossible to replicate.