Crawford's Catch Jolts LSU

London Crawford hasn't had many highs in three seasons at Arkansas, but the junior wide receiver was smiling after a big-time catch sent Casey Dick out a winner.

Little Rock -- Paul Petrino characterized London Crawford as the Energizer Bunny for the Arkansas football team. He was talking about practice. Now Petrino can add one big-game performance, too.

Crawford gave the entire Arkansas program some big-time energy with a 24-yard touchdown catch to jolt LSU, 31-30, Friday in War Memorial Stadium.

Petrino, offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach, raves about the way Crawford works on the practice field.

"He's always the same, lots of energy," Petrino said. "As far as our group, he's the one who leads us. He gets us going. I couldn't be happier for him."

Crawford admitted he's heard that.

"He tells me they follow me and that how I go, we go in practice," Crawford said. "He says they feed off my vibes. I can tell you this, you better work hard. That's what this staff demands.

"What I can say is that the head coach treats everyone the same from the starter to the fifth man. If you work hard, he believes in you."

That might not be the case for the rest of the Razorback Nation. Crawford has been roasted by fans for his drops and pass interference penalties. It's often been a bumpy ride since he decommitted to LSU late in the recruiting process.

"That's why this victory is so great for me, because I saw myself playing for LSU for a long time," he said. "But everything didn't work out. I fell in love with the fans and just the people of this state when I came on my visit. Everything changed then.

"Not everything has worked so well. Hopefully, this erases some of the past. Whatever the downs have been, maybe this is the start of the ups."

Crawford was pleased to send quarterback Casey Dick out a winner.

"What you know is that things haven't worked out too great for him," he said. "And, they haven't gone great for me, either.

"That's why I'm so happy. He's been a great quarterback for me. He's always had a smile. He's always been great. Never has his head been down."

It was clear to Crawford that the last pass was coming his way.

"Basically, he told me in the huddle, it's your time," Crawford said. "I just knew I had to catch it."

First, he had to beat press coverage. Crawford couldn't believe his eyes when LSU cornerback Chris Hawkins lined up tight.

"I was surprised, yes," he said. "At the same time, I was happy. I knew it was my chance to go make a play. In that look, it's an outside release. I'm the first look. It was press man with a safety free."

Petrino said it was a classic release.

"We actually worked on the releases extra this week," he said. "We put a lot of emphasis on the release all year, but we did two days of releases this week instead of just one. It was great footwork. He won it right off the line. That's what we coach, winning the release."

Crawford tossed the football to an official in the back of the end zone after the play, but it came back to him on the sideline thanks to the ball boy.

"I just kept it," he said. "I've gotten some game balls before after victories in high school, but this one is the ball from the touchdown."

There was another prize tossed from the stands in the wild celebration afterwards. Crawford ran off the field twirling a stuffed tiger with a rope around its neck. He thinks he got it when he climbed onto a bench.

"I took it into the middle of the locker room and I just started swinging it around and around," he said. "That was pretty fun. You can't imagine.

"I know a lot of those guys on the other team. To do that against LSU, a team I thought I'd be with, that's pretty good."

Crawford still had the football and the stuffed tiger when he made it to family in the parking lot late Friday. The only thing missing was a bunny.

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