In what could be his last game at Tiger Stadium, junior receiver Jarvis Landry might have made his best catch — even if you didn’t notice.
Landry’s 32-yard, left-handed leaping reception in the fourth-quarter of the comeback win over Arkansas on Friday was more than slightly overshadowed.
It had the unfortunate timing of coming on the same play in which starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger was injured and in the same game in which true freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings led a 99-yard game-winning drive.
So no, Landry’s catch didn’t get headlines, but the grab was a key play in the 31-27 win in the regular season finale. It happened midway through the fourth quarter and set up Colby Delahoussaye’s 37-yard field goal.
The catch came in spectacular fashion.
Reaching over Arkansas true freshman cornerback D.J. Dean, Landry caught the pass from Mettenberger with his left hand. He somehow corralled the ball, inches from hitting the turf, using his left palm with Dean in between the ball and his body.
The receiver’s left arm was draped around Dean’s neck so he could reach the pass. The cornerback’s hands were briefly on the football before Landry plucked it away with his left hand.
“It’s more likely that Jarvis Landry make catches like that than some freshman quarterback go 99 yards for the victory,” a smiling LSU coach Les Miles said after the game. “I’ve just seen it enough. I just expect it. He does too.”
Landry finished the game with 113 yards receiving on eight catches. He had more shining moments than the left-handed snag.
He caught an 11-yarder on the game-winning drive and had a third-down catch that continued a third-quarter drive that resulted in an LSU touchdown.
His left-handed catch came on first down at the LSU 47 with the Tigers down 27-21 and 6:40 left.
“I remember looking at the defense,” Landry said, “and it being a defense we wanted.”
The play might be mostly remembered for Mettenberger’s injury.
The quarterback underthrew the pass because of defensive tackle Byran Jones’ pressure. Jones fell on Mettenberger’s leg, and he later left the field on crutches.
The team has not released details on the quarterback’s injury.
Landry bypassed fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in yards and touchdowns with Friday’s performance. Landry finished the regular season with 75 catches for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He’s projected by most experts to be a second- or third-round NFL draft pick. Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft.
It’s unclear if he’ll elect to forgo his senior year, but Landry mentioned after the Arkansas game that he’s “excited to be a part of it next year,” when referring to LSU’s freshman offensive players like Jennings and receiver Travin Dural, who caught the game-winning pass.
A chat with Cam
Landry’s contribution to Friday’s game went beyond his midair adjustments and soft hands.
He was credited by most for pushing coaches to run the game-winning play, dubbed Tsunami. Jennings found a wide-open Dural for a 49-yard touchdown on the play.
In an unselfish move, Landry told coaches and Jennings that Dural would be open because defensive backs had been spying his shorter route throughout the game.
It’s exactly what happened.
Landry, LSU’s only viable receiver option at that time with Beckham out, wanted to involve other receivers after harkening back to a halftime conversation he had with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
“I figured they’d be keying on me,” Landry said. “I talked to coach Cam after halftime (and told him) to kind of feed me. He said, ‘You’ve got to take some other guys with you.’ That’s one of the thoughts that came to my mind.”
Cameron played a part in the play-call too, Miles said.
LSU’s coordinator noticed Arkansas cornerback Jared Collins’ tendencies earlier during the drive before Johnson ran for 21 yards to the Arkansas 49 to set up the play.
“Before Anthony’s scramble, Cam says, ‘You know. I’m looking at this corner, and this corner just doesn’t realize that’s Travin Dural and he can run,’” Miles said.
Alive in BCS?
LSU is still “under consideration” for a Bowl Championship Series bowl, the BCS announced Tuesday.
The Tigers, 9-3 and ranked No. 15 in the BCS standings, are one of seven teams being considered that are not involved in a conference championship game or still chasing a regular season title.
The list includes No. 17 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oregon, No. 14 Northern Illinois, No. 8 South Carolina, No. 4 Alabama and No. 13 Clemson.
LSU may be the least likely of those seven teams to get an invitation into a BCS bowl.
Alabama, most feel, will be invited to a BCS bowl, and the SEC championship game winner will head to the Sugar Bowl. A conference can’t get more than two teams in the BCS unless it has two teams playing for the BCS national championship.
No. 2 Ohio State and top-ranked Florida State would have to both lose their conference championship games for that to happen, experts say.
LSU is likely headed to the Cotton or Outback bowls. Bowls are announced Sunday.
Beckham is one of five finalists for the Paul Hornung Award, and fans can vote for him online. The award recognizes the most versatile athlete in college football. Fan voting will serve as the 17th vote, adding to the 16-person selection committee. Fans can vote at www.votepaulhornung.com until midnight Dec. 9. The recipient will be announced Dec. 13. … LSU’s game against Alabama on Sept. 9 drew the third-best television rating of the 2013 college football regular season, according to CBS. The Iron Bowl was No. 1, and Bama’s win at Texas A&M was second.