On Friday, the 5-foot-5, 159-pound LSU freshman receiver made the biggest play of his short college career, returning a fourth-quarter kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown during the Tigers 31-26 win over Arkansas.
Holliday's touchdown lifted LSU to a 31-19 lead with 10 minutes, 14 seconds remaining. It was the Tigers' (10-2 overall, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) first kickoff return for a touchdown since Kevin Faulk did the same against Notre Dame in 1998.
More importantly, it came following Darren McFadden's 80-yard touchdown run, which pulled the Razorbacks (10-2, 7-1) to within 24-19.
"We knew there was a chance that if he got a sliver, he could go the whole way," LSU coach Les Miles said. "To answer right then, to turn right around the next play and say, ‘OK, we'll play ya, let's go,'" was big for us."
Before his touchdown return, Holliday had watched Arkansas kicker Brian Vavra's previous three kickoffs sail into the end zone for touchbacks. When he saw the fourth coming his way, Holliday couldn't wait for his chance.
"I knew we needed something big after that Arkansas touchdown," Holliday said. "And when I saw that hole open up and I hit it, it was a good feeling."
The win secured back-to-back 10-win seasons for LSU in the first two years under Miles, who lobbied afterward for a spot in one of the Bowl Championship Series games.
The Tigers finished a game back of the Razorbacks in the SEC West standings, but their two losses each came on the road to teams ranked in the top 10. All four of LSU's road games this season came against top 10 opponents, and the Tigers finished 2-2 in those games.
"I don't think there is any question," Miles said when asked if the Tigers deserve a spot in the BCS.
LSU entered the game with the top-ranked defense in the country, a defense that hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 15 games. On Friday, the Tigers allowed two such rushers in McFadden (182 yards) and Felix Jones (137), who combined for 319 yards.
"I would never have thought they score 26," Miles said. "I would never have thought they would rush for 300 yards, to be honest with you."
Kickoff Return The Answer For LSU
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