By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor
STOCK Up: D.J. Chark
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On a day when LSU’s vaunted running back tandem struggled to find running room, the speedy wideout proved to be LSU’s most effective weapon. Used in a multitude of ways, Chark rushed three times for 51 yards and caught both of his targets for 46 yards. Chark came up huge with LSU facing fourth-and-10 in the game’s closing minutes, beating All-American Jalen “Teez” Tabor across the middle for a 30-yard catch-and-run to keep the Tigers alive. Should LSU have looked his way again late instead of going ground and pound? Chark says he believed in the plays as called.
STOCK UP: Arden Key
LSU’s pass rusher extraordinaire didn’t deliver the three-sack performance he planned on having in honor of Senior Day — doing so would have tied him for LSU’s single-season sack record — but he made his made on history regardless. With his sack of Austin Appleby — one of many hurries on the afternoon — Key became the fourth Tiger ever to record 10 sacks in a single season and the first since Gabe Northern had 11 back in 1994. Key won’t reach the 20-sack plateau he set his sights on preseason, but he’s three away from setting a program record with two games to play.
STOCK DOWN: Red zone efficiency
With LSU leads 7-3 early in the first quarter, Caleb Brantley stripped Derrius Guice inside Florida’s 10-yard line and the Tigers didn’t score again until the fourth quarter. LSU turned it over inside again Florida’s 5-yard line when holder Josh Growden bobbled the snap on what would have been a chip-shot field goal. Then, in the fourth quarter, LSU drove inside the Florida 10-yard line only to settle for a 22-yard Colby Delahoussaye field goal, and on the game’s final play, Guice ran the wrong was and fumbled again short of the goal line to seal the result. That’s 10 points in five red trips, the difference in the game.
STOCK DOWN: SEC Brotherhood
The war of words between LSU and Florida dating back to October spilled over into a shoving match during pregame warm-ups. It started, of course, with the two groups of defensive backs who annually jostle for the moniker of “DBU.” Dwayne Thomas, Kevin Toliver and Saivion Smith were all in the center as the two teams came together near midfield during early warm-ups. Thomas was carried several yards backward by freshman linebacker Michael Divinity. Meanwhile, Leonard Fournette shoved Florida defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, who appeared to bump him. Ed Orgeron downplayed the idea that Fournette, a game-time decision, decided to suit up because of it.