By Glenn Guilbeau
BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU wide receiver Travin Dural has the gift that keeps on giving — a game-winning touchdown catch.
The fact that it happened with 1:15 to go in the game is only more gift wrapping. His 49-yard touchdown catch for the 31-27 win over Arkansas happened on Nov. 29, and the redshirt freshman from Breaux Bridge just can’t get enough of it.
“I’ve watched it too many times, actually,” Dural said last week as the No. 14 Tigers (9-3) prepare to play Iowa (8-4) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla.
“I was at home the Saturday after watching it, and my mom was like, ‘Are you ever going to stop watching it?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, once it feels real that I actually did it.’ I finally did stop watching it.”
But it stayed in his mind, mainly because he kept getting reminded of it, like when he went Christmas shopping.
“I went to the mall in Lafayette, and a couple of people kind of noticed me more,” he said. “They kind of made me feel good about myself.”
Dural has always been well thought of by LSU’s coaching staff. As a true freshman in 2012, he was expected to play a lot as a deep threat with his 4.6 speed in the 40-yard dash. A knee injury in pre-season practices ended his season, though. He played in 11 games in 2013, but with just six catches for 96 yards entering the Arkansas game, he did not develop into that game breaker — until 75 seconds remained against the Razorbacks.
“Travin runs fast, and really to this point, no one on the field really seemed to know that,” LSU coach Les Miles said after Arkansas found out the hard-and-fast way. “If you had told me that was the scenario, I would have said, ‘No way.’ This group, there is just something about them.”
Iowa will be ready for Dural. The Hawkeyes are 11th in the nation in passing yards allowed with 182 a game.
“They look every bit of what people say,” Dural said. “Their corners cover and tackle real well. Their secondary has big guys, especially the safeties. They’re everything everyone says they are.”
Iowa’s secondary is experienced, as well. Senior Tanner Miller (6-foot-2 and 207 pounds) is the free safety, and he has three interceptions on the season. Junior John Lowdermilk (6-2, 207) is the strong safety. Senior B.J. Lowery (5-11, 193) is the left cornerback, and he also has three picks.
“I see why they’re ranked No. 11,” Dural said.
Meanwhile, LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings is a true freshman who will be starting his first game, as regular starter Zach Mettenberger’s season ended in the Arkansas game in the fourth quarter when he injured his knee. Jennings threw the 49-yard touchdown to Dural.
“I feel bad for Zach,” Dural said. “He didn’t get to finish his last game in Tiger Stadium, and he doesn’t get to play his senior year in the bowl game. I feel bad. The bowl game is a very exciting event. I didn’t get to play in it last year, but I went on the trip (to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta). Just being around the atmosphere, just being there, is a great thing, even though we lost (25-24 to Clemson). We really want to make up for that this year.”
Dural also wants more home movies.
“I need to catch some more big touchdowns so I don’t ruin that tape,” he said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football