HAROLD PERKINS FRESHMAN 🐐: BEHIND THE FLU GAME THAT WAS
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
In one of the most viscerally omnipotent, explosively cosmic, orgasmically unstoppable defensive showcases I've ever seen from an LSU Tiger, specifically concerning the high stakes on the line, his team's desperate need for his influence or the player's tender young age, freshman linebacker Harold Perkins almost single-handedly delivered victory in Fayetteville, tying Chuck Wiley's single game LSU record of 4 sacks (Wiley 1995), while forcing 2 game-changing fumbles.
In what proved to be the Tigers' final obstacle on their way to an SEC Championship Game, Perkins' defensive masterclass decided the outcome in a close, bruising affair played in 35 degree weather, securing an SEC West division title during his debut season.....oh yeah, I forgot to mention: he also accomplished his career night as he dealt with the flu.
Head Coach Brian Kelly compared Perkins' historic display to Michael Jordan's legendary "flu game":
"He got sick before the game," Kelly said at the start of the postgame press conference. "He threw up as we were going into our team meeting. "I said, 'Hey, you know, MJ threw up when he had his greatest game,'" Kelly detailed.
Messing with BK, Harold replied "Who's MJ?"
Imagine if he didn't have the flu....8 sacks?
It was a scary performance from Harold Perkins and one we'd been expecting from the fiery young phenom:
Perkins was building to this explosion all year. His profound weekly impact was already apparent: without Perkins vs Alabama, Florida, Auburn or Ole Miss, LSU do not win those games.
Harold's NFL speed, next level playmaking, athletic ability to mirror the league's premier quarterbacks or skill position players and solid tackling in all areas of the field offers this LSU defense an added dimension of unpredictability and overwhelming pace.
And on Saturday @ Arkansas, with an LSU offense generating less than 300 total yards, only 13 points and 86 passing yards, LSU needed Harold Perkins to end Saturday's low scoring bloodbath.
Officially credited with 4 sacks, though he was involved in 6 (one negated through replay review), forced 2 fumbles (a 3rd was removed by the replay booth), broke up a pass when covering a slot receiver and cobbled together the second-most tackles on the team with 8, Harold enjoyed a legendary night.
Giving Arkansas' multiple quarterbacks hell, Perkins savagely attacked KJ Jefferson's replacements....with their last names still imprinted somewhere on the floor of Donald W. Reynolds Stadium.
Rattling off pressure after pressure, smashing quarterbacks just as they released errant throws, jarring the ball loose at every chance, ruining four 3rd down attempts thanks to his backfield chaos, Perkins was grade A entertainment from first snap to last....sealing the game with his emphatic final strip sack of the night.
Perkins even forced a 3rd fumble and 5th sack that was called back, an instant replay review marginally taking away another brilliant moment.
After a season that began with his 2 TFLs and 1.5 sacks vs Mississippi State, a late 4th quarter interception in a tight game at Auburn, his unceasing 6 pressures & sack vs Ole Miss, a magical showing vs Alabama where the young defender controlled Bryce Young's every move, the culmination arrived on Saturday when "Perkules" annihilated Arkansas when his team needed him most.
Now at 7.5 sacks, 8 TFLs, both team leads, while packing on a 2nd ranked 52 tackles and creating 3 turnovers, Harold Perkins has just been unleashed....and there's not a single offense who can stop him.
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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