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Florida Football

Brad Stewart sticks a fork in home state LSU

October 7, 2018
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Brad Stewart Jr. saw Joe Burrow’s eye’s shift towards the sideline. Burrow, the LSU passer, had receiver Stephen Sullivan there and with the linebackers blitzing, took that shot. Stewart jumped in-front of Sullivan and had a short distance to cover, 25-yards, to return it to the house for a pick-six.

Before the interception the Gators had been up only by one with 2:21 to go and LSU with 3rd and 4 from their own 18-yard line. The Stewart pick-six and ensuing PAT put Florida up 27-19 and sent the sell-out crowd of 90,283 that were still packed in Ben-Hill Griffin Stadium into an absolute frenzy.

Vosean Joseph—who had a spectacular night with 14 tackles, 3.5 for loss and two sacks—had been waiting all night for a moment to present itself such as that one. So he got the ball from Stewart and punted it straight up into the stands, à la Brandon Spikes in the 30-point win over LSU in 2008.

It drew an unsportsmanlike penalty and a smile on Dan Mullen’s face when asked about it in his post game press conference.

Looking to the back of the room where Joseph stood he asked, “Did you really do that? Kick the ball in the end zone? In the stands?

“He’s paying homage to the 2008 team right there. Yeah, I dunno.”

“I just had to do it because I seen it on Twitter,” smirked Joseph.

“I was like I’m gonna boot it. I’m gonna kick it. Brad got it so I was happy for him but he gave it to me so I’m gonna kick it.”

But if there’s any one thing Stewart said should have happened on the play, it was to not actually score. With 2:21 to go, the football play there would technically be to kneel or go out of bounds at the 1-yard line and let the offense play the clock game, something Mullen immediately pointed out to Stewart in a teaching moment.

“Great play by him. Great play by him. One of the hardest things to do in football is if he runs it back to the one and takes a knee, the game’s probably over at that moment. It’s just tricky when you’re up one and we score and it goes to eight, and they can still go do it,” explained Mullen.

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“I was super excited because I knew the game was about to be over. But, what I should’ve done is took a knee, so we didn’t have to be back on the field. But I was excited,” agreed Stewart.

“He told me like immediately when I was running back out to go on kickoff, and Coach be like, ‘See, well you should’ve took a knee because now we have to go back out there, and we’ve got to finish the game off again.’”

But still, a great defensive play that made the mountain for the Tigers to climb much higher. In addition to the pick-six, Stewart was also the first to ruin what had been a statistically perfect category for Burrow, no interceptions, through the first five games—and for that matter until the last two minutes of this game.

“Yeah, we knew,” said Stewart of the no-interception stat for Burrow.

“We knew he was a smart quarterback, and he ain’t made too many mistakes, and, really, we just wanted to rattle him and get to him and get to the quarterback late in the game like we did last week and seal the deal.”

For Stewart, the New Orleans native playing against LSU, it was a meaningful game and moment though, beating his quasi hometown team and swinging the pendulum towards Florida in the DBU debate.

“It meant a lot for him. He already done talked to us about it, just playing against his town,” explained Joseph.

“Going out there and giving it all you got and actually coming out with something like that is amazing. He just told us ‘them ain’t my brothers, y’all my brother.’ We gonna come out here and go to war against them and I’m gonna put it all out there on the field.”

“It was emotional, because B-Stew, knew they fumble easy. When he catches the pick-six, everybody knows who’s the real DBU,” bragged Chauncey Gardner-Johnson of Stewart and the secondary.

“That defined it right there. We can make plays when it’s time to make plays. That’s my boy. I was just happy for [Brad], because it was in front of his home team, a team that really recruited him, so you know to see him pay back for them and he executed and made the play.”

Well, he almost made the play. Looking back, there are two things Stewart conceded should have happened instead.

One, “Yeah, me kneeling the ball.”

And two, “I should’ve punted the ball. But, I’m happy [Vosean] did.”

Brad Stewart sticks a fork in home state LSU

1,154 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by Gatorcove
EricN
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Fitting that B-Stew took the pick 6 back right in front of the LSU section, stood there, and took it all in.
KassidyHill
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This is the front of the Baton Rouge/New Orleans paper today then Stewart's subsequent reaction. Gotta be a pretty cool memento for the NOLA native.

Gatorcove
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That play was fun for the crowd and recruits. But it was only check, not checkmate. Our players need to learn the difference. No punting into the crowd until checkmate and only by a senior
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