by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Throughout their improbable 49-42 victory over Florida, LSU had many players stepping up, some we expected, some we didn't see coming, and others we'd been waiting for...
There were record-setting performances, NFL Draft-boosting displays, epic "eye of the Tiger" moments across the board from all three phases, and an unstoppable will to win that gave the Tigers a monumental victory on the day.
Every time LSU needed to respond, they did....with brute force, good play-calling, and smart execution.
Our Top 5 performers from Saturday morning's instant classic shootout?
NEIL FARRELL JR (DT)
7 Tackles (2 Solo)
7 Backfield Disruptions
21 Tackles (8 Solo)
2 QB Hits
Once again, Neil Farrell Jr's unheralded interior stuffage is the major reason why LSU's defense were able to shut down a running game, with the defensive tackle throwing off blockers and disrupting the backfield consistently throughout Saturday's contest.
Holding one of the nation's top rushing attacks to just 138 total yards, a 3.9 average, while breaking their leading rusher, Emery Jones, liquidating his output down to 16 yards on 1.6 per carry.
Grabbing yet another 0.5 tackle for loss, Big Neil is exploding his NFL Draft resume with yet another dominant, backs against the wall performance.
"I think this was Neil Farrell's best performance as a Tiger...." Coach Ed Orgeron told the media after the victory.
Neil has been incredible all season long....yet on Saturday, his influence was unmistakable. Whether or not he put the guys on the ground, he blew up everything in his path, creating multiple lanes or avenues for LBs and DEs to attack the backfield.
Had he been properly developed sooner, if some of the Covid misadventures that befell his grandmother hadn't happened, maybe Neil looks like LSU's direct answer to Tyler Shelvin throughout 2020, as well as 2021....
Right now, I believe he's in a grand position for NFL success.
JACK MASHBURN (TE)
-468 combined rushing yards in LSU's last 2 apps., most behind his lead blocking
Jack Mashburn isn't a selection regarding stats....unless you want to examine LSU's 321 rushing yards vs Florida...
Mashburn unlocked the Tigers' long lost fever dream running game, blasting Florida's defenders nonstop and unleashing Ty Davis-Price's record-shattering Saturday.
Helping the Tigers rush for consecutive 100+ yard performances, the first time this has occurred all season, Jack Mashburn's sudden installation into LSU's lineup isn't a coincidence.
On Saturday morning, he woke the Gators with one punishing, brutal hit after another, paving the way for TDP's record breaking rushing performance on the counter trey action.
Also adding a nice 7 yard catch, Jack Mashburn definitely deserves a spot in our top five, earning widespread recognition after proving to be one of LSU's most valuable players over the past two outings.
Other than a spot in our nifty Top 5, the walk-on TE has done more than enough to earn himself a scholarship to Louisiana State University.
DWIGHT MCGLOTHERN (CB)
4 Tackles (All Solo)
3 Forced Incomp.
1 INT RET FOR TD
-First Career INT & TD
-Allowed 2 TDs
17 Tackles (14 Solo)
1 INT RET TD
Constantly tested on the outside, Dwight "Nudie" McGlothern made a name for himself on Saturday.
In place of the injured Derek Stingley Jr, Nudie was routinely up against it vs Florida's receivers, allowing a pair of touchdowns and surrendering 4 catches, including a woeful hail Mary TD bomb before halftime.
Florida proved they could pass incrementally, throwing 4 touchdowns on the Tigers' inexperienced DBU representatives...but they shouldn't have believed in Richardson or Jones' passing abilities over LSU's corners...and McGlothern showcased exactly why.
Hauling in his first ever LSU interception, Nudie didn't settle for a mere pick:
Instead, McGlothern raced and mazed through the Gators' thunderstruck offense (nearly running into CB Cordale Flott) and scored his first ever LSU touchdown.
The timing of LSU's second defensive score of 2021 guarantees Nudie's place among our Top 5.
Surrendering another red zone score in the 2nd half, Dwight atoned with his glorious pick six, sending the uncertain 21-13 score line back to a two score lead at 28-13.
Without Nudie's heroics or willingness to forget the last play, perhaps LSU don't pull off the 49-42 upset.
DAMONE CLARK (LB)
11 Tackles (7 Solo)
-First Career INT
-5th double digit tackle game of 2021
79 Tackles (49 Solo)
-NCAA & SEC Leader in Tackles
-NCAA & SEC Leader in Solo Tackles
Make no mistake:
Damone Clark is an All-American LB.
Defying seas of doubters, including this very author who both hailed Clark's achievements while also questioning his limitations, Damone's brilliance and unstoppable fight cannot be questioned anymore.
I never doubted his heart, passion, or love for LSU, but now I can't even debate his acumen as a linebacker.
Not only is he flying around making every tackle in sight, leading the country in stops as well as ranking first nationally (in total and solo stops), he's able to produce plays in coverage, picking off his first ever pass and even forcing a fumble vs Florida.
We're now seeing the best out of Damone....all because Clark is now playing the position as he always should have: patrolling the scene, controlling the gaps, shutting everything down that he possibly can, and refusing to get caught out in the intermediary passing game, ala 2020.
Racking up a ridiculous number of tackles already, 79 to be exact, the former Southern Lab talent helped blow up the Gators' short passing game and rushing attack, never getting blindsided by Dan Mullen's trickery.
Soon enough, Clark will post his first 100 tackle campaign....the only question is:
TY DAVIS-PRICE (RB)
(8.0 per carry)
5.6 Per Carry
Well...to say we didn't see TDP's rise would be a blatant lie...
In fact, check out the final two lines of our last profile on TDP, which arrived midway this past week:
Talk about belief.
Building off his career high 147 yard burst @ Kentucky, TDP walked into Death Valley on Saturday with a mission:
Bury Florida, just as he did the last two seasons....only this time, he was geauxing historic.
Assisted by the presence of TE Jack Mashburn and RG Marlon Martinez, Ty went off against Florida, proving damn near impossible to take down.
The 2019 National Champion plowed over defenders, leaving them wasted on the grass, as trainers tended to their TDP-caused wounds; he shifted, squeezed, turned and burned all comers, using every pound of his muscle, every flinch of his underrated pace to set LSU's all time single game rushing mark, topping Guice's removed 285 and Leonard Fournette's 284.
He set his own all time career highs in rushing yards, touchdowns (only his second multi-TD outing), carries, and average, pulling off a disgusting 8 yards per touch.
In fact, being handed the ball 36 times for 287 yards vs Florida nearly matches Ty's total of touches through the first 4 games of 2021....(40 rushes through 4 games equaling 122 yards).
In the middle of last week, Offensive Coordinator Jake Peetz told Ty that he was "trusting him" and leaning on the junior.....and the trust, belief and smart play-calling concerning Ty paid historic dividends.
Rushing for 13 first downs, a trio of 3rd down conversions, 6 rushes of 10+ yards, 4 gains over 20, and 11 touches of 5-9 yards, Ty was a human lawnmower out there...chewing up Gators with intense glee.
After the game, what did Ty have to say?
"I'm ready to go another game...."
And he looked like it, didn't he?
The greatest ever LSU rushing display....and it comes from one of my favorite ever Tigers, and a young man I continually root for....what could be better or more beautiful?
His father Tyquency has always said "Make them believe, son...."
Well Big Ty, your son "Made 'Em Believe"....
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc
SHOUTOUTS: I SALUTE YOU, MR DELTON DOUCET & THIVANKA DA SILVA!