Not his best effort but Flynn's still the one

After waiting since 2003, Matt Flynn is finally getting his chance to lead LSU as the Tigers quarterback. Well, as quarterback ‘A,' anyway. Much like the "running back-by-committee" LSU has established, "quarterback-by-committee" has been established as well.

Times have definitely occurred this season where Flynn's numbers would have been better if not for dropped passes, and there have indeed been plays where he was hobbled with an ankle injury that prevented him from scrambling or putting enough zip on a throw. Against Florida, however, Flynn proved once again that he is deserving of his starting role. LSU head coach Les Miles is well aware of the dual personalities his quarterbacks each bring to the table.

 

"Eleven comes in, he gives us a spark. Fifteen kind of handles the business," Miles said of Ryan Perrilloux and Flynn, respectively. "Fifteen can run, too. Notice on that fake field goal, that was 15 running around there. So, we're using the talent that we have. We're fortunate to have two quarterbacks that can both play."

 

A tipped pass that turned into an interception on LSU's third play from scrimmage, a fall by Brandon LaFell on a bubble-screen that seemed destined for a touchdown, and a drop were some of the miscues that Flynn had to overcome early in the game. At the half, Flynn had completed eight of 15 passes for 102 yards but had no touchdowns to show for his efforts. Worse yet, the Tigers were facing a 10-point deficit.

 

"I thought he played well, and if we don't have couple of dropped balls here and there, guess what? He did play well," Miles said of Flynn. "Things look a lot different."

 

Ultimately, Flynn completed 14 of 27 passes for 144 yards and was chiefly responsible for two of the five needed fourth-down conversions. The first came on LSU's opening drive of the second half on the Tigers' 11th play of the possession.

 

Faced with a fourth-and-five at the Florida 25-yard line and needing points, Flynn was in place to hold for a Colt David field goal. Upon receiving the ball, however, Flynn immediately took off and dashed for 8 yards and a first down. Five plays later, he pitched to Keiland Williams for a touchdown to pull LSU within three points of the Gators.

 

"It kind of boosted us a little bit," Flynn said of the fake field goal. "It gave us some confidence, and that was the play we needed. We needed to get a touchdown. After that we went in and got a touchdown, and it was big for this team."

 

Down 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, LSU caught a break when Kirston Pittman intercepted Tim Tebow and gave the Tigers possession at the Gators 27-yard line with 12:05 to go in the game. Faced with a fourth-and-three at the Florida 4-yard line, Flynn found Demetrius Byrd in the end zone to once again cut the Tigers deficit to three.

 

"On the play, we have a little option route with Demetrius (Byrd) there, and they came out and played a Red Seven Defense, and they were doubling him," Flynn said. "They were only rushing four, so I dropped back and I knew they were doubling him. So as soon as that right end crashed inside I squirted out to the right and was running at Byrd because I was trying to make one of the guys that was covering him take me. Or, if he didn't take me I was going to run it. So, he took me and I just dumped it right behind him."

 

Two more times LSU would go for and convert fourth downs for first downs in the second half – on its last possession as it turned out. Flynn was the one to hand off to Jacob Hester on the first of those conversions and was the one to hand Hester the ball for the Tigers' final score of the night – their first lead of the game.

 

"Looking at everybody's eyes in the huddle, there was no doubt in our minds that we were going to pick up each one of those fourth downs," Flynn said. "Coach Miles, I think he knew the same thing. He never asked for our input or feedback because he knew the answer. He knew that if he asked us we were going to tell him that we want to go for it."

 

Matt Mauck, Marcus Randall, and JaMarcus Russell have all contributed to Flynn's progression as a quarterback at LSU in some way. But none of them took snaps with the Tigers ranked No. 1 in the nation. None of them had to play in the dual quarterback system that Flynn has, and none of them were introduced to a new offensive coordinator in their final season. Flynn has embraced his role. He showed against the Gators that he is a scrapper, and that attitude seemed to be taken on by everyone around him.

 

"This is a huge confidence builder, because we know we can go out there and win games in the fourth quarter," Flynn said. "We know we've been in a fight now, and we know we're tested. We're going to improve from here, but we know each player on this team has each other's back, and we're going to give it our all every play."

 

In the six games LSU has played with Flynn as a starter, the Tigers are undefeated. He's shown his grit and has even proven he can be a weapon on special teams. Against Florida, he showed why LSU is in good hands with him under center and why he is part of the reason that an LSU team is 6-0 to start a season for the first time since 1973.


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