Foster Moreau, Nick Brossette, Garrett Brumfield and 15 other seniors walked down Victory Hill and ran through the goal posts at Tiger Stadium for the final time Saturday night.
LSU sent those seniors out in style with an almost-too-easy 42-10 rout of a 1-10 Rice team that was a cupcake even by Cupcake Week standards around the Southeastern Conference.
The Citadel they were not, to put it mildly. The Tigers were up 28-3 by halftime and emptied the bench well before the game reached the fourth quarter.
“Good night for the Tigers,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “18 seniors, a lot of guys last nights in Tiger Stadium, a great place to play. It was a good night for our team. All the seniors got to play. A lot of the young guys got to play.”
It was an emotional night for all involved, even if linebacker Devin White reported that he didn’t see anyone cry before or after the game. The admiration and appreciation went both ways between the coach, his senior leaders and the fans who showed up to see them play one more time.
“My last hurrah in the stadium,” said Brumfield, who gave fellow senior John Battle a piggyback ride to the locker room after telling the student section he loved them. “Just excited to have been able to go out with a victory next to the guys I love to play next to.”
Graduate transfers like Cole Tracy and Terrence Alexander aside, Orgeron wasn’t yet the head coach when these seniors signed with LSU. They bought in and helped him establish his program at LSU from the minute he took over nonetheless.
It hasn’t always been a smooth ride. These seniors were on the team during the near-miss firing of Less Miles in 2015 and the actual one the following fall. The Troy debacle and four — or five, depending on the player — losses to Alabama happened on their watch.
However, it’s a group that should leave LSU with their heads held high as they’ve helped Orgeron solidify himself as head coach and left the program in better shape than they inherited it.
LSU will head to Texas A&M next weekend with a chance to post its first 10-win regular season since 2011. Victory would also ensure LSU a place in its first New Year’s Six bowl, with a long-awaited return to the Sugar Bowl very much in play.
“It would mean a lot for this program,” Moreau said of a potential 10-win campaign. “I remember saying at SEC Media Days that that was one of my targets. I didn’t want to go too big. I didn’t want to go too small, but we haven’t had 10 wins here in a couple years, and I think that would mean a lot.
“I’m really happy with what this team has done and the adversity we’ve fought through. Just the fight that we’ve shown.”
The class of 2018 won’t go down as most star-studded or decorated group to come through LSU, but they’ve contributed — both as leaders and players — to a season in which LSU has overachieved by any set of realistic expectations.
Brossette, a little-used reserve for most of his career, was once again a productive workhorse at tailback. He scored twice on Senior Night and rushed for 69 yards, keeping him on pace for a 1,000-yard season.
“I’m glad I came here,” Brossette said. “My time here, it’s been crazy. It’s been an up-and-down ride. It’s an exciting one, and I’m enjoying every moment of it right now.”
Moreau, No. 18, has seen his receiving numbers clipped this season because LSU needed him as a blocker, but he got into the end zone against Rice. Joe Burrow found Moreau wide open over the middle for a 13-yard touchdown, his first of the season.
“I think it adds a lot, but knowing him, he doesn’t care about that,” Orgeron said. “He just wanted to win.”
Moreau’s final night in Tiger Stadium turned into a career evening. The tight end set career-highs with five grabs and 73 yards to go along with his touchdown, a touching for the player who was once Mr. Irrelevant of National Signing Day.
“There was no extra emphasis on getting seniors the ball, it just kind of worked out like that,” Moreau said. “It just happened naturally. It happened organically, and that’s the best way for it to go.”
He continued: “It’s special for me, but more importantly, it’s special for my family, the people who’ve gotten me here and raised me and molded me. I’m blessed to have a lot of great people in my life, and I’m glad I could share it with them today.”
Of the three senior starters on offense, only left guard Brumfield didn’t wind up in the end zone. Now that would have been something.