My favorite thing about the sport of football is the individual moments it creates.
We construct stories and narratives around the sport and then get to watch it play out in real time on Saturdays. Some of these moments are special. These are the ones that deconstruct the narrative and give us something we never expected.
There are also times when everything we did expect comes to fruition, like the perfect payoff at the end of the story. Sometimes, it's just as simple as something we've never seen before.
LSU had no shortage of these big moments this year. Some might be better to forget, like the blocked extra point in the opener. But LSU had big wins too and they gave fans plenty of good times.
With that in mind, here are the top five plays from LSU in 2022.
No. 5 - Ojulari and Ward put LSU on the board against Auburn
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LSU, as the 2022 team was prone to do, got off to a slow start against Auburn. The offense was stagnant and the defense was getting picked apart. LSU needed a jolt and needed it bad.
Auburn was up 17-0 and had the ball in its own territory. [autotag]B.J. Ojulari[/autotag] came off the edge and chased down Auburn QB Robby Ashford.
Ashford coughed up the ball and it bounced right into Jay Ward's hands. He weaved through a defender or two and found the end zone.
The momentum shifted and LSU didn't look back. The Tigers forced a couple key turnovers late in the game too. [autotag]Harold Perkins[/autotag]' interception and the play [autotag]Greg Brooks Jr.[/autotag] made at the end of the game both could have been put here, the magnitude of the touchdown gave Ward's score the edge.
To watch the play in full, skip to the 3:20 mark in ESPN's game highlights.
No. 4 - Malik Nabers' fourth-down conversion against Mississippi State
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LSU's top 10 wins over Ole Miss and Alabama made some people forget about the early season win against Mississippi State, but it was as critical a moment as any for this team.
It was LSU's first Power Five win of the year. LSU entered the game 1-1 and we still didn't know much about what this team was. LSU got off to a slow start but fought its way back in.
LSU was driving up one in the fourth quarter. [autotag]Jayden Daniels[/autotag] had been going to [autotag]Malik Nabers[/autotag] in big moments all night.
On fourth and three with 7:34 left to play, Daniels took it from the shotgun, took a couple of steps back, and threw a fade to Nabers on the sideline.
Daniels knew where he was going the whole time. Malik Nabers, with a yard or two of separation, went up and made the play.
[autotag]Josh Williams[/autotag] punched it in the end zone on the next play, and LSU began to pull away.
There were some other big plays in this game. LSU recovering a muffed punt allowed LSU to take the lead in the first place. [autotag]Jaray Jenkins[/autotag] scored a critical touchdown before the half. But the way Daniels pushed the ball down the field in such a big moment is why this play belongs here.
No. 3 - Joe Foucha's Ole Miss interception
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After storming back from an early deficit, LSU was up four at home against No. 7 Ole Miss.
Late in the third, the Rebels were driving, threating to take that lead back. It was second and goal just inside the LSU 10. Jaxson Dart took the snap, quickly faked a run, then threw a fade in the direction of Malik Heath.
A blitzing [autotag]Micah Baskerville[/autotag] put a hit on Dart as he let it go and the ball came up short.
[autotag]Joe Foucha[/autotag], playing under Heath, was able to make a one-handed play on the ball.
According to GameOnPaper's win probability model, Ole Miss had a 52.1% chance of winning prior to the play. After the pick, the Rebels' chances shrunk to 34.5% and even further to 22.2% when LSU scored on the ensuing drive.
This was one of LSU's biggest wins and unlike some of the other games, it wasn't hard to choose this play.
No. 2 - Jayden Daniels' overtime scamper
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I'm going to go head and spoil the final two plays. With this being No. 2, you can probably guess the two-point conversion tops our list.
Alabama struck first in overtime and LSU needed a touchdown to stay alive. Daniels kept it, made a man miss on the corner to cut it inside, and let his speed do the rest.
What made this play so special wasn't just Daniels and the moment, but the blocks he got downfield as well. Williams laid out to give Daniels the sealing block, and [autotag]Brian Thomas Jr.[/autotag] went to work on Eli Ricks in what was one of the better displays of wide receiver blocking I'd ever seen.
It set up LSU's biggest moment of the year on the next play.
No. 1 - Mason Taylor's two-point conversion
This is LSU's best play of the year, but it also might be one of the sport's best.
In primetime on Saturday night against Nick Saban's Alabama, Kelly and LSU went for the win in overtime, opting not to kick the extra point.
Daniels sprinted right, and just as he did all night, showed incredible poise putting a ball right on Mason Taylor's chest. The freshmen tight end, who made a huge play at the end of regulation, showed up again.
The blocked extra point against Florida State was no longer the moment that defined 2022 LSU on the national stage. The two-point conversion flipped the script on LSU's season. Kelly's first year became a success in that moment.
I've already mentioned a few plays that could have made the list, but here's a recap as well as some others that could have been considered.
[autotag]Jarrick Bernard-Converse[/autotag] picking off Bryce Young set the tone for the night. It brought Tiger Stadium to life and gave LSU the momentum after Alabama put together a sustained drive.
Tied at 21 in Gainesville, Daniels connected with Jenkins on a 54-yard touchdown. LSU needed a win after a Tennessee drubbing the week prior. This score gave LSU its first lead of the night and allowed LSU to pull away when the Tigers scored coming out of halftime.
There's not a video with this one, but late in the fourth against Alabama, LSU turned to Williams on third down. He carried Alabama defenders across the first down marker and set up a critical score for the Tigers.
Perkins had a massive day against Arkansas. He forced two key fumbles, both of which LSU probably needed on a day the offense didn't have it. From a win probability standpoint, this one late in the game was the most impactful.
Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire