Saturday night’s high-scoring dramatic LSU defeat of the Florida Gators in Baton Rouge had another subplot going that we’ve only become aware of in the last couple of days.
That’s when Alabama authorities have announced that a freshman at the school called in a bomb threat to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge in an attempt to halt the finish of the game.
A University of Alabama freshman being held in the Tuscaloosa County Jail is suspected of calling in a threat to LSU’s Tiger Stadium during the school’s football game against the University of Florida on Saturday night. https://t.co/o0kkZKQpxx
— Stephanie Taylor (@TNews_Steph) October 14, 2019
As the Tuscaloosa News reported on Monday night and followed up on Tuesday afternoon, nineteen-year-old Connor Croll was taken into custody Sunday and being held without bond after confessing to phoning in the threat.
Alabama spokesman Kris Bryant made this statement Monday evening,
“We are aware of the arrest of a UA freshman over the weekend. Threats and pranks can have serious ramifications and necessitate an appropriate response. The university and UAPD are cooperating fully with the investigation, but we cannot provide any additional details on a pending matter.
“UA will follow its student conduct policies and procedures. The LSU community has always been gracious to us, and we regret these events.”
LSU media relations director Ernie Ballard said they couldn’t comment on the specifics of the threat that Croll made but did have this to say about the arrest,
“It is important for the general public to know that LSU Police and officials, along with federal and local law enforcement agencies on location, have protocol in place to respond immediately and appropriately to real and perceived threats at Tiger Stadium and all campus facilities,” he said.
“In this case, protocol was followed efficiently and effectively to quickly ascertain the source of the threat. That protocol including an immediate sweep of the stadium and a multi-agency investigation, which led to the suspect being identified within minutes and arrested soon thereafter. LSU appreciates the cooperation of all agencies and the University of Alabama and UAPD in this very serious matter. There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of the public on campus.”
Over 100,000 fans were in attendance Saturday night for the battle between two of the top teams in college football, so far this season.
The gossip site TMZ reported that Croll confessed quickly to Alabama authorities that he made the call, because a friend of his was on the verge of losing a large bet in the game. Florida was a 14-point underdog and led the game 28 – 21 early on in the third quarter.
LSU, behind Heisman Trophy candidate QB Joe Burrow, rallied for 21 unanswered points to win 42 – 28.
It’s unclear as to whether the 19 year old will need to be extradited to Baton Rouge to face charges or not?
As of Tuesday night, Croll had not been charged with anything in the Baton Rouge court system.
However, the Tuscaloosa paper reported the Louisiana State Police told them, that the terrorizing law that exists in Louisiana is a felony and the Croll could be facing as much as $15,000 in fines and up to 15 years in jail for making the bomb threat.
Gators down stretch look very familiar
It sounds like an insult, but it’s not: Gators are McElwain 2.0
It does seem like an insult to say that the 2019 Florida Gators, under Dan Mullen, are a better version of Jim McElwain’s SEC East champion Florida teams. McElwain was not a beloved coach. He didn’t enjoy coaching at Florida. He didn’t handle the prominence or the pressure of the job very well.
Dan Mullen enjoys coaching the Gators. He relishes pressure. He has performed well in the SEC for a long time, as a head coach and offensive coordinator. He is so many of the things McElwain wasn’t.
Few men in college football scheme receivers open better than Dan Mullen. He has a gift for play calling, and he squeezed a lot out of his Mississippi State teams. One can very reasonably say that he took the Bulldogs as high as they could fly, as far as they could go.
That is pretty much what Mullen has done with this 2019 team.
He has had a backup quarterback for most of the year, not Feleipe Franks. He has had a below-average offensive line which simply cannot facilitate a consistent or especially productive running game.
He has had Jabari Zuniga, arguably his best defensive player, healthy for a tiny fraction of the season. Jon Greenard has been injured for multiple games as well.
Everywhere you look, Florida has been limited. Everywhere you look, Florida has not had the ideal players it would want to face Georgia and LSU.
Speaking of Georgia and LSU, Florida had to play those two teams this year. It also had to play Auburn and Miami and still has Florida State on the slate.
If you were to tell Mullen that he would have his best players within the context of an injury-free season, this 2019 course of events (in terms of wins and losses and style of play) would have been noticeably disappointing. Yet, given the injuries and the limitations, Florida being 6-2 in the SEC and 9-2 overall is pretty damn good.
Adjusted for circumstances, Florida has done as much as it realistically could have been expected to do. LSU is the best team in college football this regular season. Florida gave the Tigers a good test for three quarters and were outplayed in the fourth. There isn’t much more one could have asked from UF in that game.
The Georgia game was certainly a disappointment, but if you’re going to say that Florida and Georgia have the same levels of talent, please turn in your college football analyst card at the door.
That is not a credible assertion.
We can talk about recruiting in a separate conversation or column, but in 2019, Dan Mullen has coaxed a 9-2 record – likely to become 10-2 with a win over Florida State – from a limited roster with a lot of backups playing extended snaps at hugely important positions.
Florida is winning games without style points. It is managing situations and handling challenges.
Sound familiar? These were the two SEC East-winning seasons under McElwain, the only two seasons in this decade (which is about to end) when Florida went to Atlanta.
The 2019 Gators share the ragged, uneven quality of McElwain’s teams, but the coaching and adaptability are better. The number of losses is lower. The ceiling for the program is higher.
McElwain 2.0 feels like an insult, until you look below the surface and see what is truly being compared.
Georgia clinched SEC East- eliminated Gators Saturday night
Any hope the Florida Gators had of working their way back to Atlanta and the SEC Title game, through a potential backdoor, ended Saturday night. That’s when, the Georgia Bulldogs outfought their rival Auburn, 21 – 14 giving them a 6 – 1 record and the SEC East title for the third consecutive year.
Earlier in the afternoon, the Gators had done their part to set up a possible late season rally to win the division by smothering the Missouri Tigers on the road 23 – 6. That improved Florida to their final SEC record of 6 – 2. However, because they lost head-to-head 2 weeks ago to the Dawgs in Jacksonville, it meant the Gators had to have Georgia lose both of their remaining games, including next week at home with Texas A&M.
Georgia made sure that didn’t happen, as D’Andre Swift ran for 106 yards and Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm threw three touchdown passes. That included the eventual game-winner to tighten Eli Wolf from 5 yards out that put Georgia up 21 – 0 after three periods.
Auburn put together a tremendous rally behind freshman quarterback Bo Nix, who threw for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for another TD to pull the Tigers within 21 – 14 with seven minutes to go.
Auburn got the ball back two times with chances to go and get a tying touchdown and both times, the Bulldogs held them on downs. The last one coming in the final minute of the game when Nix was sacked on fourth down inside his own 15-yard line to clinch the win and title for Georgia..
The Bulldogs, who were ranked fourth in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings still controls their own destiny to the playoff by winning out and winning the SEC title game. Of course, likely standing in their way is that top-ranked LSU, who is unbeaten heading into play Saturday night and will be the other team trying to make the final four.
The best case scenario now for the Gators is to win their remaining game with rival FSU at the Swamp in two weeks and then look to be in a possible “New Year Six” game, most likely the Cotton Bowl.
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