dandydons-lsu-sporting-news


2007 BCS Champions

2007 BCS
National Champions

2003 BCS National Champions

2003 BCS
National Champions

1958 National Champions

1958
National Champions

NCAA Baseball Championships:

1991
1993
1996
1997
2000
2009

 

DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.

5/29/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that LSU lost to Florida, 1-0, and for just the second time since 2012 will not be playing in this year’s SEC Tournament championship game. As I tweeted after the game, I’m still awfully proud of these Tigers for the way they played in their last 16 games, and that stretch of sizzling play should give the NCAA selection committee a lot to think about when selecting seeds for the upcoming tournament. We can pretty much bank on LSU being chosen as a Regional host site, and I’d like to think that winning 14 of the last 16 games, including four wins over teams that were No. 1 in at least one poll, would be enough to earn LSU a top-8 national seed. In just about any other year it surely would be, but with the SEC being as stacked as it is this year, things are far from certain. Regional hosts will be announced tonight at 7:30 pm CT and the top-8 National Seeds will be announced during the Selection Show Monday morning at 11 am CT on ESPN.

In yesterday’s game, Caleb Gilbert got the start for the Tigers and was outstanding. The freshman from Hoover, Alabama, limited Florida to one run on five hits in a career-long 5.2 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. After the game, Coach Mainieri told the media that Gilbert’s performance was enough to solidify his role as the Tigers No. 3 pitcher heading into NCAA tournament play. LSU relievers Doug Norman and Riley Smith were also outstanding as they shutout the Gators and held them hitless for the final 2.1 innings. There are many positives to take away from LSU’s weekend play, but the most encouraging is that LSU’s pitching staff is really clicking on all cylinders right now.

While LSU’s pitching certainly did its part yesterday, LSU’s offense couldn’t provide any run support despite out-hitting Florida, 6-5. The Tigers mounted a threat late in the game as Kramer Robertson led the ninth with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then reached third on pinch-hitter Brody Wofford’s groundout. Beau Jordan stepped up to the plate with two outs and a chance to be the hero but flied out to right field for the game’s final out.

Here are the game’s video recap/highlights and complete boxscore.

“I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of our team,” Coach Mainieri said after the game. “We are disappointed, believe me. We came here to win a championship and came up a little bit short of that, but the first three games here were amazingly thrilling, and the last three weeks have been amazingly thrilling. I think our team is about as primed as we can possibly be to enter the NCAA Tournament.”

If LSU still gets chosen as a National Top-8 seed, then yesterday’s loss will have meant nothing and might turn out to be a blessing in disguise since LSU now has an extra day to rest its pitching staff. Still, it just doesn’t seem right that Florida is playing today and the Tigers are not, despite both teams being 3-1 in the tournament with losses against each other. The formatting of the SEC Tournament, which resorts back to single elimination in the semifinal round, has bitten LSU in the pants before. You might recall that LSU was undefeated in last year’s tournament before getting eliminated by Florida in the semifinals in a one-run game. 

Now for the good news…. Coach Beth Torina’s LSU softball team defeated James Madison two times yesterday to advance to the Women’s College World Series. In the first game, the Tigers got a seven-inning, five-hit shutout in the circle from Allie Walljasper and scored two runs in the fourth to earn a 2-0 win and force a winner-take-all Game 3 later that afternoon. In the second game, Coach Torina went with Sydney Smith in the circle and the freshman did a good job of battling through adversity and limiting the Dukes to two runs on four hits. The contest went down to the wire in a classic nail-biter as the Dukes had the bases loaded with 2-outs trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh before Walljasper, who entered in relief in the fifth inning, shut things down with a huge strikeout. Before yesterday, James Madison had not lost a home game all season, so for the Tigers to do what they did, with their backs against the wall in two must-win situations, tells you just about all you need to know about the relentless fortitude of these Fighting Tigers. 

Recap of First Game | Video Highlights | Boxscore
Recap of Second Game | Video Highlights | Boxscore

I don’t think enough can be said about the outstanding job Coach Beth Torina has done with her Tigers. With yesterday’s win, she now has the most WCWS appearances by an LSU head coach (3), and is the first coach to lead the Tigers to back-to-back trips to Oklahoma City. Just as six weeks ago no one would have anticipated Coach Paul Mainieri’s baseball team being where they are today, the same can be said for Torina’s Tigers who had hit a midseason slump before winning 21 of their last 25 games. Both Tiger coaches – Torina and Mainieri – deserve major props for pushing all the right buttons and getting their teams to where they are today.  

Turning to our football countdown, with 97 days until LSU’s season opener vs. Wisconsin in Lambeau Field on September 3rd, let’s look back on the 1997 season.  In what was Gerry Dinardo's last winning season, the Tigers finished with a 9-3 record just like last last year. What made the season especially memorable for me was one of the most exciting LSU games I’ve ever witnessed – the Tigers’ 28-21 win over No. 1 Florida that snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Gators. If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare and want to get pumped up about LSU football, you can relive that historic moment by watching this video in our Media Gallery

Another thing I remember about the ’97 season is that it showcased the potential of Cecil Collins. Nicknamed “Cecil the Diesel,” Collins rumbled for over 622 yards in just four games, including an amazing 8.3 yards per carry. His 232 rushing yards in LSU’s 31-28 loss at home vs. Auburn is one of the most memorable performances by an LSU running back in school history. 

After Collins suffered a season-ending injury at Vanderbilt, Kevin Faulk took over the reins at running back and didn’t disappoint by recording his second consecutive 1,000 yard season (1,144) in just nine games. Faulk was dominant in a 168-yard, two-TD performance in a 27-0 road victory over Alabama. Still, the Tigers suffered a devastating home loss the following week to Notre Dame (24-6). In what is rare in college football, the Tigers were awarded a rematch with the Irish in the 1997 Independence Bowl. With Faulk hurt early in the contest, sophomore Rondell Mealy had the most impressive performance of his career with 222 rushing yards, which included two critical touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 27-9 win over Notre Dame. 

After the season, Alan Faneca, who would earn first-team All American awards, declared early for the NFL draft and was selected in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, LSU would suffer back-to-back losing seasons in 1998 and 1999, which would cost Dinardo his job at LSU. With the hiring of Nick Saban, the Tigers would rebound in 2000 and build what is considered as the Golden Age (2000 to 2011 or present, depending on who you talk to) of LSU football history.

Stay tuned, Tiger Fans, as tomorrow we’ll remember another very special season in Tiger history, although it might not be the one you’re expecting.


FONT SIZE:

font-up font-down

5/29/16 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

Well, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that LSU lost to Florida, 1-0, and for just the second time since 2012 will not be playing in this year’s SEC Tournament championship game. As I tweeted after the game, I’m still awfully proud of these Tigers for the way they played in their last 16 games, and that stretch of sizzling play should give the NCAA selection committee a lot to think about when selecting seeds for the upcoming tournament. We can pretty much bank on LSU being chosen as a Regional host site, and I’d like to think that winning 14 of the last 16 games, including four wins over teams that were No. 1 in at least one poll, would be enough to earn LSU a top-8 national seed. In just about any other year it surely would be, but with the SEC being as stacked as it is this year, things are far from certain. Regional hosts will be announced tonight at 7:30 pm CT and the top-8 National Seeds will be announced during the Selection Show Monday morning at 11 am CT on ESPN.

In yesterday’s game, Caleb Gilbert got the start for the Tigers and was outstanding. The freshman from Hoover, Alabama, limited Florida to one run on five hits in a career-long 5.2 innings with three walks and three strikeouts. After the game, Coach Mainieri told the media that Gilbert’s performance was enough to solidify his role as the Tigers No. 3 pitcher heading into NCAA tournament play. LSU relievers Doug Norman and Riley Smith were also outstanding as they shutout the Gators and held them hitless for the final 2.1 innings. There are many positives to take away from LSU’s weekend play, but the most encouraging is that LSU’s pitching staff is really clicking on all cylinders right now.

While LSU’s pitching certainly did its part yesterday, LSU’s offense couldn’t provide any run support despite out-hitting Florida, 6-5. The Tigers mounted a threat late in the game as Kramer Robertson led the ninth with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then reached third on pinch-hitter Brody Wofford’s groundout. Beau Jordan stepped up to the plate with two outs and a chance to be the hero but flied out to right field for the game’s final out.

Here are the game’s video recap/highlights and complete boxscore.

“I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of our team,” Coach Mainieri said after the game. “We are disappointed, believe me. We came here to win a championship and came up a little bit short of that, but the first three games here were amazingly thrilling, and the last three weeks have been amazingly thrilling. I think our team is about as primed as we can possibly be to enter the NCAA Tournament.”

If LSU still gets chosen as a National Top-8 seed, then yesterday’s loss will have meant nothing and might turn out to be a blessing in disguise since LSU now has an extra day to rest its pitching staff. Still, it just doesn’t seem right that Florida is playing today and the Tigers are not, despite both teams being 3-1 in the tournament with losses against each other. The formatting of the SEC Tournament, which resorts back to single elimination in the semifinal round, has bitten LSU in the pants before. You might recall that LSU was undefeated in last year’s tournament before getting eliminated by Florida in the semifinals in a one-run game. 

Now for the good news…. Coach Beth Torina’s LSU softball team defeated James Madison two times yesterday to advance to the Women’s College World Series. In the first game, the Tigers got a seven-inning, five-hit shutout in the circle from Allie Walljasper and scored two runs in the fourth to earn a 2-0 win and force a winner-take-all Game 3 later that afternoon. In the second game, Coach Torina went with Sydney Smith in the circle and the freshman did a good job of battling through adversity and limiting the Dukes to two runs on four hits. The contest went down to the wire in a classic nail-biter as the Dukes had the bases loaded with 2-outs trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh before Walljasper, who entered in relief in the fifth inning, shut things down with a huge strikeout. Before yesterday, James Madison had not lost a home game all season, so for the Tigers to do what they did, with their backs against the wall in two must-win situations, tells you just about all you need to know about the relentless fortitude of these Fighting Tigers. 

Recap of First Game | Video Highlights | Boxscore
Recap of Second Game | Video Highlights | Boxscore

I don’t think enough can be said about the outstanding job Coach Beth Torina has done with her Tigers. With yesterday’s win, she now has the most WCWS appearances by an LSU head coach (3), and is the first coach to lead the Tigers to back-to-back trips to Oklahoma City. Just as six weeks ago no one would have anticipated Coach Paul Mainieri’s baseball team being where they are today, the same can be said for Torina’s Tigers who had hit a midseason slump before winning 21 of their last 25 games. Both Tiger coaches – Torina and Mainieri – deserve major props for pushing all the right buttons and getting their teams to where they are today.  

Turning to our football countdown, with 97 days until LSU’s season opener vs. Wisconsin in Lambeau Field on September 3rd, let’s look back on the 1997 season.  In what was Gerry Dinardo's last winning season, the Tigers finished with a 9-3 record just like last last year. What made the season especially memorable for me was one of the most exciting LSU games I’ve ever witnessed – the Tigers’ 28-21 win over No. 1 Florida that snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Gators. If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare and want to get pumped up about LSU football, you can relive that historic moment by watching this video in our Media Gallery

Another thing I remember about the ’97 season is that it showcased the potential of Cecil Collins. Nicknamed “Cecil the Diesel,” Collins rumbled for over 622 yards in just four games, including an amazing 8.3 yards per carry. His 232 rushing yards in LSU’s 31-28 loss at home vs. Auburn is one of the most memorable performances by an LSU running back in school history. 

After Collins suffered a season-ending injury at Vanderbilt, Kevin Faulk took over the reins at running back and didn’t disappoint by recording his second consecutive 1,000 yard season (1,144) in just nine games. Faulk was dominant in a 168-yard, two-TD performance in a 27-0 road victory over Alabama. Still, the Tigers suffered a devastating home loss the following week to Notre Dame (24-6). In what is rare in college football, the Tigers were awarded a rematch with the Irish in the 1997 Independence Bowl. With Faulk hurt early in the contest, sophomore Rondell Mealy had the most impressive performance of his career with 222 rushing yards, which included two critical touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 27-9 win over Notre Dame. 

After the season, Alan Faneca, who would earn first-team All American awards, declared early for the NFL draft and was selected in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, LSU would suffer back-to-back losing seasons in 1998 and 1999, which would cost Dinardo his job at LSU. With the hiring of Nick Saban, the Tigers would rebound in 2000 and build what is considered as the Golden Age (2000 to 2011 or present, depending on who you talk to) of LSU football history.

Stay tuned, Tiger Fans, as tomorrow we’ll remember another very special season in Tiger history, although it might not be the one you’re expecting.

5/28/16 6:00 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU baseball team will look to keep its late-season run alive and advance to tomorrow’s SEC Tournament Championship when they take on the Florida Gators today at 3:30 CT in a single-elimination contest. The Gators earned the right to advance to today’s semifinal round with a 12-2 win over Mississippi State last night. What this means is that for LSU to advance, the Tigers have to make it four-out-of-five against top-ranked Florida with a win today.  A month ago, not very many people would have given LSU a remote chance of winning four out of five against Florida, but here we are today with a good chance of doing just that after having beat the Gators twice last weekend and then again on Wednesday. I can’t help but believe that beating them again today would earn the Tigers a Top-8 National Seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. As it stands now, LSU’s RPI is No. 6 and they are the No. 8 National Seed in D1Baseball’s latest projections.

Coach Mainieri has announced that Caleb Gilbert will get the start for the Tigers in today’s game. There are several things that make this interesting. One is that Gilbert is a native of Hoover, Alabama. In this article, Gilbert tells The Advocate that he’s as excited as can be about pitching in this situation, in his hometown, in front of friends and family. Another is that Gilbert was hit pretty hard in last week’s series finale against Florida in which the Tigers lost, 6-2. In that contest, he worked 4.1 innings and allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts. I like that Mainieri is going with Gilbert today in this situation, and I think the freshman right-hander will be up to the task. If he’s not, I suspect we’ll see a good bit of Riley Smith. Florida still hasn’t pitched its ace, Logan Shore, but Coach Kevin O'Sullivan said yesterday that he’ll probably go with freshman LHP Scott Moss (2-0, 220 ERA) today. Shore has been dealing with a stomach bug, and O’Sullivan suggested that he might hold him for the first game of the NCAA tournament. 

In softball news, the Fighting Tigers will put their season on the line today at 11 a.m. in a do or die game. LSU lost Game 1 of yesterday’s Super Regional against James Madison, 3-2, meaning the Tigers must win twice today to advance. In  yesterday’s game, the Tigers took the lead twice, but the Dukes were quick to answer each time and in the end got a walk-off bases-loaded single with two outs in the seventh to win.

“Credit James Madison for playing a good game, obviously they are a good team and here for a reason and a solid program,” head coach Beth Torina said. “Our team will be ready to go tomorrow. We’ve been in this spot before and we’ve been able to come away with wins in this situation and we feel like we’re in good shape. We’ve prepared for this, we’re prepared to fight, so as long as we can push to game three I think it can be anybody’s ballgame.”

For more on yesterday’s loss, here are LSU’s game recap and video highlights.

With LSU football’s season opener vs. Wisconsin in Lambeau Field just 98-days away, let’s continue our Countdown to Game Day by looking back on an incredible kickoff return by Trindon Holliday in a 41-24 victory at Ole Miss in 2007. In that contest, the Ed Orgeron-coached Rebels had just returned a punt 44 yards to tie the score 7-7 and regain the momentum. On the ensuing kickoff, Holliday broke a tackle around the 30 and returned the ball 98 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 14-7 with 3:04 left in the first quarter. (See video.) The Tigers would go on to win the game 41-24, keeping their National Title ambitions within reach. 

The 5-foot-5 Holliday was a huge impact player for the Tigers on special teams. Other special teams standouts, such as Patrick Peterson, Chad Jones, Tyrann Mathieu and Odell Beckham, Jr. accounted for similar plays that were game-changers in big wins for the Tigers. Those types of plays on special teams had become a trademark of Les Miles’ coached squads but were sorely lacking last season as the Tigers were just ninth in the conference in kickoff returns and sixth in punt returns. But if Derrius Guice can produce more explosive plays on kickoff returns like this one vs. Texas A&M last season, LSU’s offense could become even more dangerous with easier starting field position. Will Tre’Davious White continue to return punts this season, or will sophomore Donté Jackson take over the reins? Whoever it is will have to provide more yards on a consistent basis to help flip field position for the Tigers.

One tidbit in closing: LSU announced yesterday that Todd Walker's jersey will be retired in 2017. The No. 12 worn by Walker will join the No. 36 worn by first baseman Eddy Furniss, the No. 15 worn by coach Skip Bertman and the No. 19 worn by pitcher Ben McDonald as retired jerseys in the LSU baseball program.  That’s awfully good company, and Walker is certainly deserving of the honor.  Walker was one of the greatest hitters in SEC history, excelling for three seasons (1992-94) at LSU. A two-time first-team All-American, he led the Tigers to the national championship in 1993, earning the College World Series Most Outstanding Player award.  He was voted in 1996 as the second baseman on the all-time College World Series team by the Omaha World-Herald, and as named to the CWS Legends Team in 2010.

5/27/16 5:55 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The red-hot Tigers continued their winning ways yesterday with an impressive 6-2 win over No. 1 seed Mississippi State. The Tigers out-hit the Bulldogs 12-8, received solid pitching, and took advantage of three MSU errors to cruise to victory in a contest that lacked the level of late-inning drama we’ve come to expect from these Tigers.

Jared Poché got the start on the mound, survived a challenging first inning and then settled in to pitch brilliantly through six strong inning. In the seventh, his night was derailed by a miscommunication between Cole Freeman and Antoine Duplantis that allowed a ball to drop. The Bulldogs would go on to score two runs (one earned) in the frame before Parker Bugg entered with two outs and escaped a two-on jam with a huge strikeout. Bugg stayed on through the ninth and was sensational in earning his fourth save of the season.

Offensively, the Tigers were led by the unlikeliest of candidates – Mike Papierski. The sophomore catcher, who entered the game with a .208 average, drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly in the third and a clutch two-out, two-run single in the 7th. Antoine Duplantis also had a big night, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Here’s the complete boxscore, and the following is what Coach Mainieri had to say about the contest.

“We had 12 hits today and faced one of the best pitchers in the league,” Mainieri said. “I thought Papierski had a great game, drove in three runs. Nobody works harder than Michael Papierski. He’s always the first guy to the field and the last guy to leave. He had a big base hit and got the big sacrifice fly with two strikes on him. That was huge. Sometimes in the season you go through ebbs and flows, some real peaks and some really big valleys. When you’re 18, 19 years old sometimes those things are hard to handle, and I think he’s handled them really well. He’s growing up as a man.”

With the win, the Tigers earned a day of rest today before returning to tournament action tomorrow at 3:30 CT. After playing 23 innings in back-to-back nightcaps, I’m sure the break will be just as welcomed by the Tigers as it will for this writer who’s not used to staying up so late. The Tigers’ next opponent will be the winner of today’s elimination game between Florida and Mississippi State. 

One final baseball thought for the day: Last night’s win, the team’s 14th in 15 games, marked the fourth time in a week that LSU has defeated a team ranked No. 1 in at least one of the college baseball polls. There’s not a hotter team in America right now than the Fighting Tigers. 

In softball news, LSU will continue its journey to the 2016 College World Series today at 2:00 when the Tigers begin Super Regional Play in Harrisonburg, Virginia against James Madison. Game two of the best-of-three series is set for 11 am CT Saturday, with the if-necessary third game taking place shortly after at approximately 2 pm. ESPNU will have coverage of today’s  game, with the series shifting to ESPN for tomorrow’s first game. Game 3, if needed, would jump back to ESPNU. At stake in this best-of-three series is one of eight coveted spots in next week’s College World Series. The surging Tigers have gotten to this point by winning 18 of their last 20 games, including a three-game sweep of the Baton Rouge Regional last weekend. Here’s hoping the success carries on today, tomorrow and into Oklahoma City. 

Believe it or not, LSU’s highly-anticipated 2016 football season is less than 100 days away. What that means, of course, is that it’s time for our 100-day countdown. Actually, truth be told, it was time to start the countdown yesterday at the 100-day mark, but in all the late night/early morning excitement of LSU’s 14-inning win over Florida, I completely forgot. (Sorry about that. I guess that’s what happens when I stay up past my bedtime.) So, what we’ll do today is kick things off with Numbers 100 AND 99. But first, I want to thank all of you who sent suggestions for topics to cover. Your input is helpful and appreciated. Keep it coming!

For number 100, let’s get things running with a look at the 100-yard interception return by Craig Loston vs. Mississippi State in the Tigers’ 37-17 victory back in 2012. The play came late in the game with Mississippi State inside the 10-yard line with an opportunity to make it a one-score game. That’s when Loston picked off Tyler Russell’s pass in the end zone and turned on the jets as he returned the ball the length of the field. I went back and re-watched a video of that play yesterday and was so amazed at Loston's explosiveness and speed that I took out my iPhone and timed how long it took for him to bring it to the house. According to my far-from-official timing, he covered the 100-yards in 10.9 seconds, and that's incredible considering he was in full pads and pulled up a bit at the end. I've added the video to our Media Gallery so you can relive the moment too.

One reason I picked that play for this year’s countdown is to recognize that explosive plays on the defensive side of the ball have steadily decreased over the last few years for the Tigers. Specifically, LSU’s interceptions have decreased from 18 in both 2011 and 2012 to 11 in 2013 and just 10 in both 2014 and 2015. Fumble recoveries have also declined, as the Tigers had just 7 last year after averaging 11.6 per season the five previous years. For the Tigers to return to the dominating defenses of years past, they will need to force more turnovers, and, of course, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few game-changing plays like Loston’s pick.

Now for number 99, let’s look back at an amazing 99-yard TD drive that beat Arkansas 31-27 in 2013. As many of you will recall, that play occurred with the Tigers trailing the Hogs 24-27 with only 1:49 remaining. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger had just suffered a season-ending injury on a pass play that resulted in an incredible reception by Jarvis Landry. (You can see that completion at the 1:28 mark of this video). In comes true freshman Anthony Jennings from Marietta, Georgia, and what does he do? Well, he simply leads the Tigers on a 99-yard, game-winning drive to topple Arkansas 31-27. The drive culminated with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Jennings to fellow freshman Travin Dural with 1:15 to play, giving the Tigers not only the win but also a big dose of hope for the future.

After his lackluster season in 2014 and some off-the-field trouble that summer, Jennings lost the starting quarterback job to Brandon Harris last year and has since transferred. Now entering his second season as the full-time starter, Harris will be looked upon to consistently make critical plays with his arm and legs not unlike the ones Jennings displayed in that one drive against Arkansas.

As always, your comments and feedback are welcome. Don’t hesitate to let me know your thoughts on the topics covered here, and keep the suggestions coming!

 

Continue Browsing Reports



 

Continue Browsing Reports

 

 

 

 

This web site is not officially affiliated with Louisiana State University. Opinions expressed herein are the property of Donald Long, Scott Long and friends, not Louisiana State University.