BCS Championship 2012: Why Tyrann Mathieu Will Shine on Biggest Stage

T.J. McaloonContributorJanuary 4, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Tyrann Mathieu #7 of the LSU Tigers against the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Tyrann Mathieu is a special player who, on the biggest stages this year, had game-changing plays where he single-handedly carried the LSU Tigers to big victories. 

Against Alabama, Mathieu had a nice game, making four solo tackles while assisting on another tackle. He helped to hold the Crimson Tide passing game to under 200 passing yards and a completion percentage of 57.1. 

When they needed someone to step up to keep their perfect season intact, Mathieu stepped up, having the biggest game of his season.

In Mathieu’s last two games, he had 12 solo tackles, but his more impressive stat was two punt returns for touchdowns that sprung the Tigers to victories. The touchdowns helped give the Tigers two victories in their last two games against Arkansas and Georgia.

In an interview with ESPN.com, Mathieu expressed the ability of this LSU team to come together, even after Mathieu, and teammates Spencer Ware and Tharold Simon, were suspended for one game in October. 

'I think (only) we can stop us,' said Mathieu, who also has one-and-a-half sacks. 'I think we made a lot of bad decisions, personal mistakes, but we corrected it. We never gave up on each other.

'As everything was going on, I definitely think we grew closer. We started to believe in our coaches more. We started to definitely come closer within the locker room. So I think the leaders definitely started to stand up, and hats off to our leaders.'

Mathieu is playing at such a high level right now that lost in his big punt returns and solo tackles are his two forced fumbles against Arkansas. For the season, it was Tyrann’s second game where he forced two fumbles against an SEC opponent. 

Mathieu’s breakneck finish to the 2011 season earned him a trip to New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. 

From that hot finish leading up to the BCS National Championship game, it will lead to Mathieu making plays that help lead the Tigers to their second BCS National Championship game.