The plays that make up the course of a football game sometimes do not occur in a vacuum. The same can be said for Florida State’s incredible block of LSU’s game-tying extra point attempt to punctuate its wacky 24–23 Week 1 victory over the Tigers. One team’s playmaking ability is often another team’s gaffe exploited. The fact is, LSU had issues that led up to that point, which in retrospect made the blocked kick an unfortunate culmination of a night of protection woes.
The Tigers made their first kick when Damian Ramos connected on a 36-yarder on the first drive of the game, but if you look closely, you can see that the short kick could have been an early disaster.
Tigers senior Cameron Wire (No. 61) does an admirable job of anchoring when two Florida State defenders drive him nearly back into Ramos as he completes his kicking motion. LSU benefits from the operation time (a term for the time from the snap until the kick leaves Ramos’s foot) is good. Anything more significant than the optimal 1.3 seconds and Ramos may have had to alter his stroke, causing an errant kick or the kick hitting Wire in the back.
But on Ramos’s second kick attempt, which FSU blocked, the acceptable margins bit the Tigers.
FSU again sends two defenders (No. 38 Shyheim Brown and No. 5 Jared Verse) at Wire, but this time in a slightly different fashion. Both defenders take a piece of Wire on the first kick to drive him backward. On the second, Brown takes on Wire more thickly down the middle of his body, and Verse squeezes through to block the kick barely impeded.
“As it relates to the field goal, it came from the same left side,” Brian Kelly said after the game. “We made an adjustment after the [blocked] field goal and made a switch in personnel, and that didn’t work either. That’s on us. We have to do a better job coaching.”
The personnel change he’s talking about is Wire coming out for No. 50 Emery Jones. FSU doesn’t attempt to entirely rush LSU the next two times the field goal unit is on the field for the made PATs on LSU’s two touchdowns, but on the final PAT—as we’ve all seen—the Noles bring the heat and get the block.
“It was the type of block [special teams coordinator John Papuchis] called that secured the block and was able to get it,” Brown said after the game. … “It’s all because of Jared Verse and [Knowles] on the edge, they bring the pressure so my hole opened right up. I was able to get through, shoot both hands and block the kick.”