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BATON ROUGE, La. – Donte Moncrief went a couple of games where he wasn’t making the big plays physically, but he feels he was making plays at least in spirit.
The Rebels’ sophomore receiver turned in a career-high 161 yards on six catches – two for touchdowns – in a heart-breaking 41-35 loss to No. 8 LSU on Saturday.
His yardage surpassed his previous best of 144 yards against Texas earlier this year, but Moncrief hadn’t been in the end zone since the Texas A&M game on Oct. 13.
“Teams started double-teaming me, and that left other receivers open. I felt like I was making plays still, because my other teammates got open because of me,” Moncrief said.
As Saturday afternoon turned to Saturday night in another closely-contested game in this historical series, Moncrief made honest-to-goodness plays that he could call his own.
Quarterback Bo Wallace had come close to connecting on downfield throws to his favorite target twice already when he finally found Moncrief for a 56-yard touchdown with 5 minutes, 15 seconds left in the first quarter.
“I used my size, strength and speed. When I used it and got away from the guy, I knew I could make a play,” Moncrief said.
Opening it up
Early success in the run game helped open things up for the vertical passing.
“That helped us out,” Moncrief said. “They couldn’t keep two safeties back. They had to play one safety (deep), and the receivers could go make plays.”
Wallace said the development of the Rebels’ other wide receivers – most notably Vincent Sanders and Ja-Mes Logan – helped pull some attention away from Moncrief.
Logan had three catches for 53 yards, Sanders two for 42.
Logan had 160 yards on eight catches last week against Vanderbilt.
“You saw where Vince and Ja-Mes stepped up a couple of games ago. Donte got some chances to get open and make plays for us,” Wallace said.