The LSU Tigers football team had its share of ups and downs during the 2012 season. However, throughout the season, the Bayou Bengals had several big plays that affected the outcome of games and led to a 10-2 regular season record for LSU. With so many big plays this season, the LSU squad definitely kept the fans on their toes in 2012. Here are the most meaningful plays of the season for the Tigers.
10) Odell Beckham Jr., 70-yard punt return vs. North Texas
With LSU already leading North Texas 7-0 with over six minutes to go in the first quarter, Odell Beckham Jr., took the Mean Green punt 70-yards to the end zone. Not only did the score give LSU momentum to continue their domination of North Texas, but it also provided a big play extremely early in the season. It was also the beginning of what would end up being a good special teams year for Beckham Jr, with him taking another one to the house in a tight game against Ole Miss later in the season.
9) Tharold Simon late interception vs. Texas A&M
On a day when the LSU defense gave up 410 yards to Texas A&M, they ended up being the deciding factor in the 24-19 victory for the Tigers. Tharold Simon intercepted Johnny Manziel with 4:55 to go in the game to give LSU excellent field position to eventually take the lead, and not look back. LSU forced 5 turnovers by the Aggies on the day. However, this was definitely the most meaningful one.
8) Eric Reid interception vs. South Carolina
With the Tigers coming off of a 14-6 loss to Florida the week before, the South Carolina game was huge for the season and the national title hopes of LSU. The interception by Eric Reid set up the go-ahead drive for LSU, as they were down 14-13 before the drive started. The Reid pick put LSU in great field position and led to the 22-yard field goal by Drew Alleman. The Tigers never trailed after this point.
7) Kevin Minter defensive performance vs. Florida
Despite LSU losing to the Gators by a score of 14-6, Kevin Minter could still hang his hat on his performance for the day. Minter finished the game with 20 tackles and two sacks, and he missed most of the fourth quarter with an injury. In fact, Florida ended up scoring it's second touchdown, and game sealer, on the drive that Minter was injured and had to leave the field. It was a dominant day for the LSU defense with five sacks in the first half. Even with the loss, Minter was definitely a bright spot for the Tigers on a dark day.
6) Craig Loston pick-six vs. Mississippi State
In the game against Mississippi State, the LSU secondary allowed the Bulldogs to throw for 304-yards and two touchdowns. Even though the game went in the Tigers favor in the second half, Craig Loston still had a chance to redeem the secondary, and he did just that. Loston stepped in front of a pass from Tyler Russell on the goal line. He raced 100-yards, untouched, to the end zone, marking the longest interception return in school history.
5) Jeremy Hill touchdown run vs. South Carolina
Following two LSU field goals, Jeremy Hill made one of the most memorable runs of the 2012 season for the Tigers. Hill raced 50-yards to the end zone to put the Tigers ahead of the Gamecocks 23-14. The run itself was spectacular, and given the situation that it was in makes it even better. The run also signaled the start of a great season for the freshman Hill. Hill finished the game with 124-yards and two touchdowns.
4) Jeremy Hill touchdown run vs. Texas A&M
Fresh off of a comeback victory over South Carolina, LSU had to pull another one out against Texas A&M. With the Tigers trailing for most of the first half, they eventually took a 17-12 lead with around four minutes to go in the game. Jeremy Hill, who finished the game with 127-yards and a touchdown, gave the Tigers the jolt they needed to put the game out of reach. With 3:12 to go in the game, Hill raced 47-yards to the end zone, putting the game out of reach with the score being 24-12. A&M would eventually score again to make it 24-19, but time ran out before they could make another drive.
3) Kadron Boone touchdown reception vs. Texas A&M
With LSU trailed 12-7 before half time against Texas A&M, the Tigers were finally able to take the lead for good when Kadron Boone made an incredible diving catch for a 29-yard touchdown. The connection between Boone and Zach Mettenberger swung the momentum back in the favor of the Tigers and put them ahead at the end of the first half. LSU eventually added a few more scores, but this was perhaps the most important of all of them.
2) Jarvis Landry touchdown reception vs. Arkansas
In the final regular season game for the Tigers, Jarvis Landry produced one of the best highlights of the college football season. Landry made a one-handed, twisting catch that headlined most highlight reels for the week following the game. At the same time, Landry gave LSU a two score lead early in the contest with his 22-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Zach Mettenberger. From this point forward the Tigers never trailed and eventually defeated the Razorbacks 20-13.
1) Odell Beckham Jr., punt return vs. Ole Miss
On a night where LSU repeatedly traded punches with Ole Miss, the Tigers found themselves trailing 35-28 with just over nine minutes to go in the game. Odell Beckham Jr., changed the score in one play with an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown. He eluded multiple defenders on the run and following Jarvis Landry, who was waving him home, into the end zone. The return instantly drew comparisons to the historic return by LSU great Billy Cannon. The comparisons are definitely on point, given that both returns happened against the same opponent, and more interestingly, went for the same yardage. Les Miles even encouraged people to track the return and compare it that of Cannon, saying that it took a very similar path. LSU eventually scored the go-ahead touchdown to make the score 41-35 and clinch the victory for the Tigers.
Top-ten moments of 2012 season
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