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Great LSU Football Wins in the last 50 years
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1958 LSU 14 Ole Miss 0
LSU is # 1 in one poll going into this game, but the Rebels are actually a 3 point favorite going into the game. In the first half, Ole MIss drives deep into LSU territory and has 4 cracks from the LSU 1 yard line and the Tigers stop them. LSU scores before the half and adds another score to win thanks to Warren Rabb and Durel Matherne.
1958 LSU 7 Mississippi State 6
LSU is #1 in both polls and they venture into Jackson Memorial Stadium and almost have their National Championship hope dashed, but a second half drive saves the Tigers as Red Hendrix catches a pass on 4th down to preserve the win. LSU was trailing 6-0 at the time. As the game ended, Paul Dietzel said that does it really matter if it is 7-6 or 70-6.
1958 LSU 62 Tulane 0
Prior to the game, a Tulane player said that they would beat LSU because they would choke. LSu lead only 6-0 at the half, but poured it on the 2nd half and scored 35 points in the 4th quarter. This would be the 1st of 3 wins by this score in the next 7 years.
Jan. 1, 1959 Sugar Bowl LSU 7 Clemson 0
This win capped an 11-0 season and the National Championship when Billy Cannon threw an 11 yard touchdown pass to Mickey Mangham. LSU held off a Clemson drive to preserve the win and the National Title.
Oct. 31, 1959 LSU 7 Ole Miss 3
This one is a no brainer. Ole Miss dominates this game throughout until Billy Cannon runs back an 89 Yard punt return for a touchdown. The Rebels drive down and are stopped on the LSU 1 yard line as the game ends. LSU would be pounded by the Rebels on New Year's Day in the Sugar Bowl later that season.
1960 LSU 6 Ole Miss 6
This was not a win, but a great effort by the Tigers. This game was played in Oxford. The Rebels were ranked #1 in some polls, but LSU out fought Ole Miss and the Rebels needed a late field goal to preserve the tie. LSU went into the game 1-4 and would not lose the rest of the year and would finish 5-4-1. Ole Miss would finish 9-0-1. After the game, Paul Dietzel said that if someone had told me that we would tie, I would have been elated, but after the game, I felt like we had lost. It was still a great effort by the Tigers.
1961 LSU 10 Ole Miss 7
Ole Miss came into Tiger Stadium ranked #1 in the nation, but an inspired Tiger Team rallied with a second half touchdown by Wendell Harris. Paul Dietzel said that "I hope the boys on the 1958 and 1959 teams forgive me, but this is the greatest win I have ever been associated with."
1961 LSU 62 Tulane 0
This was the second of the traditional 62-0 score against Tulane from 1958 to 1965. It marked the end of Andy Pilney's reign as the Green Wave coach. Pilney had been the hero of Notre Dame's upset of Ohio State 26 years earlier as he Irish shocked the Buckeyes in Columbus 18-13. This would also be Paul Dietzel's 2nd to alst game as a Tiger coach and last game in Tiger Stadium as he lead LSU to a 25-7 win over Colorado in the Orange Bowl and a #3 National ranking.
1963 Cotton Bowl LSU 13 Texas 0
Charley McClendon's first LSU team shuts out Texas as Lyn Amedee wins the Most Valueable player award. LSU would be the only team to beat the Horns in a 2 year period.
1964 LSU 11 Ole Miss 10
Ole Miss would only finish 5-4-1, but the Rebels were still respected. They were ranked #1 in pre-season polls. This was the height of the Rebels football prowress nationally. With the exception of the Archie Manning years, Ole Miss was never the same after this year. LSU was down 10-3 when Buster Brown lined up to punt with 7 minutes left in the game, but Doug Cunningham fumbled the punt and the Tigers took the ball drove for a touchdown as Billy Ezzell connected with Billy Masters for a touchdown and then he connected with Doug Moreau for the 2 point conversion. LSU held off one last Rebel drive to preserve the victory
1965 Sugar Bowl LSU 13 Syracuse 10
Syracuse jumped out to a 10-2 lead the half, but LSU tied the score with a 57 yard touchdown reception by Doug Moreau and 2 point pass to Joe Labruzzo. Doug Moreau would kick a field goal for the win.
1965 LSU 62 Tulane 0
LSU finished the 1965 season in a big way by beating the Greenies of Tulane by the magical 62-0 score for the third time in 7 years. It had been a dissappointing year as it opened with great promise with many picking the Tigers to win the SEC Title and challenge for national honors, but an early season loss to Florida in Gainesville of 14-7 as Joe Labruzzo fumbled on the 2 yard line late in the 4th quarter and a knee injury to Nelson Stokely stymied the Tigers in losses to Ole Miss 23-0 and Alabama 31-7. The Tigers regrouped and bounced back with a win over Mississippi State and smothered the Green Wave in this momumental rout, which featured an 80 yard punt return before the half by Sammy Grezzafi. LSU scored late in the game and went for 2 to get the 62 points, much to the angst of Tulane fans. It would mark the end of Tommy O'Boyle's reign as Green Wave coach and pave the way for the Jim Pittman era.
1966 Cotton Bowl LSU 14 Arkansas 7
The Razorbacks came in ranked #2 in the country and riding a 22 game winning streak. Arkansas scored first on a touchdown pass from John Brittenum to Bobby Crockett. LSU's ground game took over and Joe Labruzzo would rush for two touchdowns and LSU would have chances to put the game away, but still held on for a major upset.
1966 LSU 28 South Carolina 12
This was not a good South Carolina team and it would not be one of Charlie McClendon's best teams either, but it was Paul Dietzel's return to Tiger Stadium. LSU won comfortably and it enabled Coach Mac to get the Dietzel monkey off of his back.
1966 LSU 21 Tulane 7
This was not a good Tiger team by late 1950's and all of 1960's standards. From 1958 to 1973, LSU would miss the bowls 3 times. Once in 1969 when LSU was 9-1-0 and were snubbed by the Cotton Bowl in favor of Notre Dame and voted against playing in a lesser bowl, once in 1960 when they finished 5-4-1, but tied a great Ole Miss team in Oxford that and only allowed a little more than 50 points, and this year when they also went 5-4-1. LSU was beaten by Rice in Houston at the game's end by 17-15 and lost Quarterback, Nelson Stokely for the year with a shoulder injury. The Tigers would be blown out by Florida 28-7, shut out by Ole Miss 17-0 and Alabama 21-0. They stood at 3-4-1 and in danger of havind a losing season, but a win over Mississippi State 17-7 and the outstanding running of Tommy "Trigger" Allen lead the Tigers to this 21-7 victory. It was significant because Jim Pittman energized the Tulane program and finished with a 5-4-1 record also, which was cause for celebration on Willow Street. The Wave faithful had made sounds of beating the Tigers for the first time since 1948, but Allen and gutsy Quarterback, Freddie Haynes prevented that as the Tigers held on in front of more than 83,000 screaming fans. Tragically, it would be the last LSU football game for the legendary Athletic Director Jim Corbett, who created Saturday night live in Tiger Stadium as he would succumb to a Heart Attack in January of 1967. Jim Pittman would stay at Tulane through the 1970 season and lead them to 17-3 win in the Liberty Bowl over Colorado. He would also tragically die of a heart attack the following season in his first season as the TCU Head Coach.
January 1, 1968 Sugar Bowl LSU 20 Wyoming 13
LSU was not supposed to have a good team that year, but the 1967 Tigers
surprised people with a 6-3-1 record and lost all 3 games by a total of 6 points. They lost because of their inability to make extra points and field goals. They had losses of 17-15 to Miami, 17-14 to Tennessee in Knoxville, and 7-6 to Alabama. They were tied by Ole Miss in Jackson 13-13 due to the fact they missed an extra point. The Tigers fell behind Wyoming 13-0 at the half in the Sugar Bowl, but came alive when Glenn Smith started an LSU comeback with a 38 yard pass reception and a short touchdown run late in the 3rd quarter. Nelson Stokely found Tommy Morel for two touchdowns in the 4th quarter and LSU withstood a late Wyoming threat to preserve the win. Miami Dolphin great running back, Jim Kiick played for Wyoming. It was a great way to ring in 1968.
1968 LSU 13 Texas A&M 12
The Texas Aggies were coming off a surprising season as Gene Stalling's crew had defeated his mentor, Bear Bryant and the Alabama Crimson Tide, 20-16 in the previous year's Cotton Bowl. The Aggies has lost 4 games the previous year by a 20-17 score to SMU, 24-20 to Purdue, 19-18 to Florida State, and the most lopsided score of 17-6 to LSU in Baton Rouge. The Aggies started 0-4 and won their last 7 games including the Cotton Bowl and a Southwest Conference Championship. A & M was picked to contend for National Honors as Edd Hargett and company jumped out to a 12-0 lead. The Tigers closed the gap to 12-6 late in the first half and went ahead 13-12 with about 7 minutes to go in the game as Jim West scampered in for a touchdown and the Tigers added the PAT for the lead, but the fun was not over as the Aggies marched down to the 1 yard line, but fumbled out of end zone and a later Aggie 60 yard field goal attempt on the game's final play fell short. The Aggies would finish 3-7 that year and would not play in the Cotton Bowl until the 1986 game.
1968 Peach Bowl--December 30, 1968 Grant Field Atlanta, Georgia
LSU 31 Florida State 27
LSU would have a dissappointing season by their standards. They would finish 7-3-0 with a heart breaking loss to Ole Miss and Archie Manning 27-24, an uninspired 16-7 loss to Alabama in Birmingham, and an embarrassing rout at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes 30-0. They were picked to do much better. LSU on this rainy night in Atlanta started out by falling behind 13-0 to the Seminoles, but rallied to come within 13-10 at the half. Mike Hillman woke up the Tigers with two touchdowns and the Bengals lead 24-13 going into the 4th Quarter, but Bill Cappleman and Ron Sellers put Florida State back ahead 27-24 late in the game. LSU marched down the field and got a critical 3rd down and long conversion and Maurice Leblanc ran in from 3 yards out for the game's final score, but the Seminoles came back and were throwing up to the end. Barton Frye knocked down a 4th down pass to preserve the win. LSU would win two more Peach Bowls and Altanta would be the site of great moments in LSU sports with the Tigers winning a trip to the Final Four in the Southest Regional Championship game in 1986 with a 59-57 win over Kentucky and who can forget last year's triumph over Tennessee in the SEC Title Game by a 31-20 score.
1969 LSU 21 Auburn 20
LSU entered a rare afternoon game in Tiger Stadium against the War Eagles and future Heisman Trophy winner, Pat Sullivan. On the game's first play Mike Hillman pitched to Jimmy Gilbert who threw to a wide open Andy Hamilton to complete a 62 yard touchdown pass. Auburn would come back and score on the next drive and take a 14-7 lead, but LSU would score right before the half to tie up the game and they took lead 21-14 in the 3rd quarter, but the Plainsmen were not through as Pat Sullivan lead them back with a score early in the 4th quarter, but Bill Thomason would block the PAT attempt to make the score 21-20. Auburn would threaten later, but the LSU defense held on for an exciting win. LSU would lose a heartbreaker the followning week to Archie Manning and the Ole Miss Rebels in Jackson 26-23. It would be the only loss in a stellar 9-1-0 campaign. This would arguably be Coach Charley McClendon's best team as they finished ranked in the Top Ten.
1969 LSU 20 Alabama 15
This was not one of Bear Bryant's best team, which would finish 6-5 that year with a 47-33 loss to Colorado in the Liberty Bowl, but it was Alabama and LSU had not beaten them since 1958. LSU jumped out to leads of 13-3 and 20-9, but Scott Hunter and the Tide kept throwing and made the game closer than it should have been, but the Tigers held on for a 2-0 record against the state of Alabama. This game is significant as LSU would not beat Alabama again in Tiger Stadium for 31 years after this one. Nick Saban's first team in 2000 held on for a 30-28 win over the Tide that year. LSU would end 1969 with routs of Mississippi State 61-6 and 27-0 over Tulane, but woud get shut out of the Major Bowls as Notre Dame played #1 Texas in the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl opted for Ole Miss as they defeated Arkansas 27-22 that year. LSU finally gets their Cotton Bowl match with Texas this year.
1970 LSU 17 Auburn 9
Auburn was on fire with a 6-0 record and #6 national ranking. Pat Sullivan, Terry Beasley, Mickey Zofko and company were the talk of the SEC. They had a 36-22 win over Defending SEC Champion, Tennessee to their credit and were a prohibitive favorite over LSU as the two Tiger teams went at it on the Plains of Auburn for the first time in many years. LSU was a respectable 4-1 going into the game. They had recovered from a shocking 20-18 last second loss to Texas A & M earlier in the year and played inspired ball that day. The LSU Tigers caught a break early by recovering an AUburn fumble deep in War Eagle Territory. Buddy Lee found Andy Hamilton for the game's first score, but the Plainsmen came back with two field goals to make it 7-6 LSU. The Bayou Bengals scored right before the half and added a two point conversion to take a 15-6 lead into the locker room. Auburn added a field goal, but Ronnie Esthay for a safety and the LSU defense stopped Auburn with a picture perfect tackle on 4th down as Mike Anderson hit Wallace Clark and stood him up at the 2 yard line. Coach Mac would say later that only a perfect tackle by Anderson saved the day for the LSU Tigers.
1970 LSU 14 Alabama 9
LSU followed the Auburn game with another victory in the state of Alabama by beating the Tide 14-9. It was again not a great Alabama team as they would finish 6-5-1 including a 24-24 tie against Oklahoma in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, but this is Alabama and Bear Bryant. LSU fell behind 3-0, but quickly grabbed a 14-3 lead and should have won by a much larger margin as they fumbled inside the the 5 yard line against Alabama and the Tide marched back to make it 14-9, but Louis Cascio ended Alabama's last threat with an interception. LSU would miss the chance to make it 3 in a row against the Tide as Bear Bryant would go to the Wishbone offense and beat LSU the next year in Tiger Stadium 14-7 and dominate the SEC in the decade of the 70's. LSU would not beat Alabama again until 1982.
1970 LSU 61 Ole Miss 17
Most of the nation saw one the first night games televised in Tiger Stadium as LSU and Ole Miss squared off for the SEC Title. Archie Manning broke his wrist 3 weeks earlier in 24-13 win over the Houston Cougars. The Rebels were beaten by Mississippi State a week earlier without Manning. Archie courageously played in this game, but he was no match for an inspired Tiger team. Ole Miss actually jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and were up 10-7 in the 2nd quarter, but the Tigers began their onslaught with a TD pass from and a punt return by Tommy Casonova and safety as they sacked Manning in the end zone for a 23-10 halftime lead. Casanova would get another punt return for a touchdown and Craig Burns added another along with a long run by Art Cantrelle and touchdowns by Ken Kavanaugh Jr., and Jimmy Ledoux and a field goal for the 61-17 win. The fans stormed the field as the Tigers accepted a bid to the Orange Bowl that year and they celebrated LSU's first SEC Title since 1961 and their first outright one since the National Championship year of 1958.
1971 LSU 28 Notre Dame 8
This was one of the most highly anticipated games in Tiger Stadium history. The atmosphere was electric. The Tigers had lost a hard fought 3-0 game in South Bend the year before and earned the respect of the National media with their effort. LSU scored first on a touchdown pass from Bert Jones to Andy Hamilton, but the Irish recovere a fumble and look poised to tie it up as they face a 4th and inches at the LSU 1 yard line, but the Tigers stuffed an Irish runner and began the legend of some great South End Zone goal line stands. OF course who could forget LSU stopping Ole Miss 12 years earlier in the same end zone back in 1959. LSU would stop the Irish two more times inside the 10 yard line and Andy Hamilton added another touchdown for 14-0 haltime lead. Hamilton would score one more touchdown and Bert Jones added another for the 28-8 win. Fans stormed the field in celebration as the Tigers would go on play in the Sun Bowl later that year.
1972 LSU 17 Ole Miss 16
LSU was a prohibitive favorite going into this game, but an inspired Ole Miss team lead the Tigers 16-10 with a little more than 3 minutes to go in the game. The Tigers began an 80 yard drive as Bert Jones marched them down the field. He completed a key 4th down pass to Jimmy Ledoux to keep the drive alive and Brad Boyd missed LeDoux on an end around pass with less than a minute to go. LeDoux dropped a Bert Jones Pass with 1 second to go in the game. Ole Miss fans could not believe that time did not run out on the play because their were 4 seconds left as the play began. Bert Jones lofted a touchdown pass to Brad Davis, which Davis said he lost in the lights. That made the score 16-16 Rusty Jackson added the PAT for the victory. LSU would go to 7-0 for the first time since 1959, but would meet the Alabama machine the following week in Birmingham and suffer a 35-21 loss, which was not as close as the score indicated. The Tigers would finish 9-1-1 that year, but only garner an invitation to the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl that year and lost to Tennessee 24-17. Ole Miss would be absent from the bowls for many years after that season.
1973 LSU 33 South Carolina 29
This was not a good Gamecock team, but it was over Paul Dietzel in Columbia. Dietzel would lead his Gamecocks into Tiger Stadium in the initial contest of 1966 as the Tigers prevailed 28-12 that year. 1973 would be his final season in coaching. The Gamecocks jumped to a 12-0 lead and lead the Tigers 29-26 late in the game, but Mike Miley ran in for a touchdown with less than a minute to play. The Gamecocks were not through and the Tigers had to withstand one final onslarught. Dietzel would later serve as Athletic Director at LSU from 1978 to 1982.
1973 LSU 51 Ole Miss 14
LSU jumped all over the Rebels for their first win in Jackson over the Rebels since 1934. Brad Davis rushed for many yards and the Tigers passed at will inlcuding a halfback pass. LSU would go to 8-0 and would be 9-0 before losing to Alabama 21-7 on Thanksgiving night. The Tigers would still earn an Orange Bowl invitation against Penn State, but would suffer a 14-0 loss to Tulane that year. LSU would lose to Tulane 31-28 in 1982 when they next went to Orange Bowl.
1975 LSU 42 Tulane 6
LSU and Tulane would both have 4-7 records, but it was the first game for LSU in the SuperDome and it enabled LSU exorcise the 14-0 loss years earlier. LSU did pretty much what they wanted and it would mark the end of the Bennie Ellender regime.
1976 LSU 6 Nebraska 6
This was not a win, but it was a tie against then #1 Nebraska as LSU has a chance to beat the Huskers, but missed a late field goal. LSU would only finish 6-4-1 and the howls for his ouster started gaining momentum that year as he would last 3 more seasons. LSU would later reunite with this class gentleman.
1977 LSU 28 Ole Miss 21
LSU fell behind 21-0, but fought back on this afternoon in Jackson Memorial Stadium. Steve Ensmnger lead the Tigers back by throwing two touchdown passes and running for two more as scored the final one with less than a minute to go after a Willie Teal interception.
1979 LSU 27 Ole Miss 24
LSU fell behind 17-0 in this game in Jackson Memorial Stadium, but fought back and Willie Teal saved the day as he ended Ole Miss's last drive with an interception in the Tiger end zone.
1979 Tangerine Bowl LSU 34 Wake Forest 10
This was Coach Mac's final game and the Tigers did not dissappoint the faithful and Coach Mac. LSU dominated throughout and Caoch Mac would go on to become Executive Director of this game and make it into a premier New Year's Day game, which was the Citrus Bowl and is now the Capital One Bowl. Caoch Mac would also do an oustanding job as Head of the American Football Coaches Association. LSU reunited with this class gentleman later and moruned his death in December of 2001 along with countless others.
As the decade of the 1980's began, the LSU football program suffered a tremendous tragedy. Bo Rein, 34, and a rising star in the coaching profession was chosen after a lengthy search for a replacement for Charlie McClendon. McClendon had spent 18 years at the helm of the LSU football program. He was forced out as a result of a November meeting in 1978. McClendon was to coach the Tigers in 1979 and then serve as Assistant Athletic Director for the last two years of his contract. That spring he chose to become Director of the fledgling Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida. His work with the bowl made a huge impact and it would later become known as the Citrus Bowl and today is called the Capital One Bowl. It has the highest payout of the Non BCS-Bowls. McClendon would continue to serve the coaching profession as Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association. He did great work there. He is credited with making inroads in the rights and protections for Assistant Coaches. McClendon eventually reunited with LSU, which was to the Bayon Bengals benefit. His contributions to LSU were many.
Bo Rein was a rising star and great things were expected for the program. He had come from North Carolina State where his final team had a 7-4 record. His enthusiasm was contagious. His strength was in recruiting. He appeared off to a great start. He had put his staff together. Optimism abounded in Red Stick as the 1980's began. Rein set out for a recruiting trip to Shreveport on January 8, 1980. A recruit's parents accompanied him to the airport where they expressed concern because of heavy rains that night. Rein shrugged them off and climbed aboard a flight, which would fatefully end over the Atlantic Ocean off of the North Carolina coast. Rein and the pilot lost conciusness as the flight lost pressure and the occupants apparently lost oxygen. The flight climbed as high as 10,000 feet. Rein's life ended before he would ever coach a game for LSU. He would leave behind a wife and kids. Who knows what heights LSU would have reached under Bo Rein's leadership? We will never know. It was a tragic loss that dwarfs the importance of a football game. The next day Jerry Stovall was named head coach. Stovall would retain most of Rein's staff.
1980 LSU 24 Florida 7
Florida was coming off of 0-10-1 season, but were 4-0 this season and ranked in the Top 20. The game was being played in Gainesville and LSU was 2-2 with early season losses to Florida State 16-0 and the week before 17-7 to Rice in Houston. The jury was still out on Jerry Stovall. LSU came out with an inspired performance and jumped to 17-0 lead. Florida would close the gap to 17-7, but LSU added a late touchdown to salt away the victory.
1980 LSU 21 Auburn 17
This was a night the crowd helped the Tigers. The game seesawed back and forth as Malcom Scott put the Tigers ahead on touchdown reception. LSU lined up to punt late in the 4th quarter. Auburn broke through and blocked the kick and recovered the ball on LSU's 10 yard line. Jerry Stovall brought the team together and inspired them to hold on for 4 downs. On the first play, a wide open Auburn receiver dropped a sure touchdown pass. LSU held for two more downs and on 4t down, Marcus Quinn made a picturesque interception and almost returned it the distance, but more importantly LSU held on and ran out the clock to go to 4-2.
1980 LSU 17 Kentucky 10
LSU entered a game for the 3rd straight week as an underdog as they ventured to Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky threatened constantly in the first half, but could not get into the end zone. LSU had a 7-0 lead and was ahead 10-3 going into the 4th quarter. The Wildcats tied the game with about 7 minutes left in the game. Alan Risher took the Tigers on a drive that lead to the Tigers final touchdown with about a minute left in the game. LSU would go to 5-2 at this point in the season and 3-0 in the SEC.
1980 LSU 24 Tulane 7
LSU would get to 6-2 and 4-0 in the SEC and thoughts of the Sugar Bowl danced in Tiger Faithful's heads, but things came crushing down to earth as Alabama thumped the Tigers 28-7 in Tuscaloosa and Mississippi State took 24-24 halftime tie to a 55-31 thrashing of LSU. With SEC Title hopes dashed, LSU decided not to pursue a minor bowl and concentrate on Tulane. The Wave came into Tiger Stadium with a 7-3 record and a bid to the Hall of Fame Bowl in Brimingham, Alabama to be played against Arkansas. LSU had lost 24-13 to the Greenies the previous year in the SuperDome. It was a rainy night in Death Valley as Tulane jumped to a 7-0 lead and were threatening to score another, but Chris Williams jumped in front of a Wave receiver to intercept the ball. It provided a catalyst to the Tigers as LSU scored 3 touchdowns to lead 21-7 at the half. LSU would add a field goal for the final score. Things looked bright as 1981 approached, especially with the basketball program making it to the Final Four in Philadelphia that spring, but the Tigers would stumble to a 3-7-1 during the 1981 and the natives were restless.
1982 LSU 24 Florida 13
The Florida Gators were on the way up. They were ranked 4th in the country and coming off consecutive winning seasons and Charlie Pell was assembling a juggernaut. We would learn later that some of the juggernaut came at a price, which we would later find out to put them on probation. Anyway The Gators had wins over Miami, Southern California and Mississippi State and were hot, but Florida had not met LSU. LSU was coming off of 3 win season, but this was a different team with super freshmen coming in, Dalton Hilliard and Garry James. LSU was 2-0 with wins over Oregon State, 45-7 and Rice, 52-14. Both were in Death Valley. This would be played in what would later be named the Swamp. LSU fell behind 3-0 in the 1st quarter, but Alan Risher lead the Tigers back with a long completion and Dalton Hilliard capped off the drive with 10 yard run to put the Tigers up 7-3. After a field goal, Hilliard caught a short pass into a 45 yard touchdown. Hilliard would score one more touchdown and Florida would add a late touchdown and 2 point conversion for the final score. LSU would climb to # 16 in the rankings after the game.
1982 LSU 20 Alabama 10
UNTHINKABLE! was the headline the next day in the New Orleans Times Picayune the next day. In what Alabama coach, Paul Bear Bryant, would call their worst whipping since the 60's, LSU marched into Legion Field in Birmingham and left with a 20-10 victory, which did not tell the true story of LSU's dominance that November day in 1982. LSU jumped out early on Dalton Hilliard's 16 year run. Malcom Scott added a touchdown reception and Alabama fumbled the following kickoff. The Tigers added a field goal for 17-0 haltime lead. The Tide did not even manage a first down in the 1st half. Bama kicked a field goal early in the 3rd quarter and Dalton Hilliard fumbled on LSU's next possession, which Alabama converted for a quick touchdown pass. Just like that it was 17-10, but LSU bounced back and drove down and added a field goal and then dominated the rest of the game to take the win. Bear Bryant talked of retirement after this and would call it quits after this season. He would die of a heart attack in January of 1983. LSU moved into the Top Ten after this game, but it would be short lived as they lost the following week in Starkville, Mississippi to Mississippi State 27-24.
1982 LSU 55 Florida State 21
LSU had been blindsided the week before against Mississippi State, but the Orange and Gator Bowls put together a deal with the winner going to Miami and the loser heading to Jacksonville. The teams traded scores and were tied 14-14 late in the 2nd quarter. LSU added two touchdowns to close the half and go up 28-14. LSU continued their onslaught in the 2nd half as oranges reined down from the stands. Dalton Hilliard and Eric Martin had big games. LSU accepted their Orange Bowl invitation and moved back into the Top 10, but once again they would fall out with a shocking 31-28 loss the Tulane Green Wave in Tiger Stadium the following week.
1983 LSU 40 Washington 14
In what was the largest crowd in Tiger Stadium at the time, LSU entertained 80,000+ fans with a resounding victory over the Huskies. It would be the last time that Jerry Stovall would have any good will with LSU fans as LSU would lose to Florida, 31-17, Tennessee, 24-6 and Kentucky, 21-13 in the next 3 weeks. Even a victory over South Carolina in the middle of the season could not stem the tide. LSU would finish the season 4-7 and it would mark the end of the Jerry Stovall era.
1983 LSU 20 Tulane 7
This was a big win for two reasons. It was Jerry Stovall's final game as LSU coach. Stovall would go on to be very successful as Athletic Director at Louisiana Tech and then with the Baton Rouge Sports Foundation. He was a class gentelman and would leave the next coach, Bill Arnsparger with cupboard full of talent due his outstanding recruiting abilities. LSU jumped to an early lead 3-0, but Tulane scored right before the half to go up 7-3. LSU scored two second half touchdowns and a field goal for the final margin of victory. It started a string of victories over the Greenies, which has yet to be broken.
1984 LSU 27 Arizona 26
LSU opened the 1984 fooball season under Bill Arnsparger. The Tigers opened with a tie against Florida, 21-21 and Witchita State, 47-7. This game was a thriller. LSU jumpe out to a 3-0 lead, but the Wildcats returned an intercepted pass 90+ yards to grab the lead. The game would go back and forth. LSU went up by a touchdown, but Arizona added two long field goals and were driving at the game's end, but LSU stopped the Arizona QB short on the Wildcat's last posession.
1984 LSU 23 Southern California 3
LSU travelled to Los Angeles to face the USC Trojans in the Legendary Memorial Coliseum, the site of that previous summer's Olympic Games. The Trojans scored first, but that would be all they would get on the Tigers as LSU raced to a 14-3 halftime lead. LSU added a long field goal and touchdown pass for the convincing victory. Bill Arnsparger was hailed as hero as the Tigers flew back to Baton Rouge with a 3-0-1 record and a National Ranking.
1984 LSU 16 Alabama 14
LSU came into the game with a 6-1-1 record and trying to keep pace with the Florida Gators in their race to win the SEC Championship. It was a rainy day in Birmingham. LSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the Tide came back to lead 14-7. The Tigers added a field goal to go into the half down 14-10. Michael Brooks broke through to block a Bama punt and LSU returned iinside the Bama 15 yard line. Dalton Hilliard scored a couple of plays later to give the Tigers a 2 point lead. LSU curiously went for 2 points so as to avoid a tie if the Tide would kick a field goal. A tie would have been harmful to LSU's chances to win the SEC. Alabama moved up and down the field, but could not dent the Tigers endzone or kick what would have been the winning field goal. LSU was outplayed, but left Legion Field with the win. LSU would miss out on the SEC Title the following week by losing to Mississippi State in Starkville 16-14, but it would not keep them out of the 1985 Sugar Bowl.
1984 Alabama 17 Auburn 15
LSU did not even play in this game, but like many Iron Bowls to follow, it would have huge repurcussions on LSU's season. Alabama raced to 17-7 lead, but Auburn closed the gap to 17-15 and were on Bama's 2 yard line and opted to go for on 4th down. Bo Jackson went the opposite way on the 4th down play. The War Eagles would get one more opportunity, but was wide right on last second 42 yard field goal. The celebration was heard all the way to Baton Rouge.
1985 LSU 17 Mississippi State 15
This was not a particularly good Mississippi State team, but it ended a 5 game streak the Bulldogs had against LSU and any win over the men from Starkville was welcome back then. The Bulldogs had beaten LSU 9 of their past 11 contests. LSU would win 5 in a row over State after that November night in Tiger Stadium and 14 of their next 17 games with Bulldogs.
1985 LSU 10 Notre Dame 7
LSU became the first SEC team to win in South Bend. It was the end of Notre Dame's experiment with high school legend coach Gerry Faust. Notre Dame jumped out to 7-0 lead. LSU got a field goal on the final play of the half to creep within 4 of the Irish. Notre Dame threatened to extend the lead in the second half, but Henry Thomas blocked short Irish field goal attempt and LSU marched down the field as Garry James scampered in from 3 yards out for the game's final points, but the drama did not end there. LSU intercepted an Irish pass on the next drive, but Dalton Hilliard would fumble and the Irish would have the ball on the LSU 34 yard line, Steve Rehage saved the day with an interception and as the ball bounced off of future Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Brown. It was a big win for LSU, but it would not garner any great bowl bid as LSU would settle for a Liberty Bowl bid in which they promptly tanked with an uninspired performance against Baylor in 21-7 loss.
1986 LSU 35 Texas A & M 17
The Texas Aggies, fresh off their previous season's Southwest Conference Title and Cotton Bowl victory over Auburn came into Tiger Stadium ranked in the Top 10. The Aggies were imposing and the game had an added twist with highly recruited Running Back, Harvey Williams shunning his home state Aggies to sign with the Tigers in the previous Spring. Texas A & M scored first, but LSU responded and the Aggies scored again, but LSU answered with long touchdown pass from Mickey Guidry to Sammy Martin. The score was tied 14-14 at the half. LSU opened the half with a Harvey Williams fumble, which the Aggies turned into 3 points, but the fact they only got a field goal seemed to spur the Tigers on. LSU marched down the field and Harvey went in from a yard out to give the Tigers 21-17 lead. LSU would add a touchdown pass from Tommy Hodson to Brian Kinchen in the 2rd Quarter and Michael Brooks capped things off with an interception return for the 35-17 win. LSU moved into to the Top 10 after this game. Things looked great for the Tigers. There was the successful debut of Freshman QB, Tommy Hodson and Freshman Running Back, Harvey Williams as well as an outstanding defense lead by Michael Brooks, but LSU would succumb to Miami of Ohio the next week, 21-12.
1986 LSU 28 Florida 17
This was an important game for the Tigers as LSU seeked to redeem itself from the Miami of Ohio debacle two weeks before. LSU ventured to Gainesville and jumped out to a 14-3 lead and had things well in hand when a stupid penalty for having too many men on the field negated a Florida missed field goal attempt and gave the Gators new life. Florida quickly scored and an LSU kick returner made a mental error on the ensuing kick off by instead of letting the kick off go out of bounds, he caught in full stride and went out at the LSU 3. Florida stopped LSU and quickly scored to go up 17-14. The Tigers bounced back and Victor Jones ran into the end zone to put the Tigers up 21-17 at the half. LSU stymied a 3rd Quarter Scoring attempt by the Gators with an end zone interception and clinched the game as Greg Jackson returned a pass intercetion for a touchdown late in the game. This would be LSU's last win in Gainesville until this year.
1986 LSU 14 Alabama 10
LSU refused to lose this game. Bama jumped out to 7-0 lead, but Mickey Guidry lead LSU back and capped the drive with a short touchdown run to tie the score. Tommy Hodson connected with Wendell Davis to make the score 14-7 at the half. Alabama added a field goal to inch closer to Tigers and were poised to take the lead as Bobby Humphrey fumbled into the end zone as he appeared to be going in for the go-ahead touchdown. Eric Hill picked off another Tide pass late in the game and the Tigers were able to run out the clock for the hard fought win. One wonders what would have happened had Humphrey not fumbled that ball. LSU would go on to win the SEC and Bill Arnsparger would resign to take the Florida Athletic Director's position. Mike Archer would become the head coach because of the desire to keep continuity with the program. Had Humphrey scored that touchdown and Alabama gone on to win the SEC instead of LSU, would there has been as much support for Archer? Maybe LSU would hired Steve Spurrier, who applied for the position or they may have hired two time Super Bowl winning coach, Mike Shanahan, who was a finalist for the job. It is interesting to predict what either would have done for LSU football. As with the Bo Rein tragedy, we will never know.
1986 LSU 47 Mississippi State 0
LSU exorcised the ghosts of Mississippi State that night in Jackson. The Tigers did pretty much what they wanted as the Tigers clinced at least a share of their first Southeastern Conference Title in 16 years. Tommy Hodson and company were brilliant and LSU was helped by a 20-16 Georgia win over Auburn to knock the Plainsmen out SEC contention.
1986 LSU 21 Notre Dame 19
LSU completed a remarkable 3 week run by edging out the Irish in a thriller. Lou Holtz was in his first year at Notre Dame. He would lead them to a National Championship 2 years later. LSU drove down the field and scored first, but Tim Brown returned the following kick off 96 yards to knot the score. LSU jumped back ahead, but the Irish answered with a field goal and returned a Tommy Hodson interception inside the 5 yard line. The Tigers stiffened and forced the Irish to settle for a field goal to bring the score to 14-13. LSU went up 21-13 in the 4th quarter and appeared to be ready to put the game away with an interception, but Tommy Hodson got greedy and threw an intercpetion on the next play. Notre Dame came back and marched down the field to score a touchdown, but LSU thwarted a 2 point conversion attempt. The drama was far from over as LSU faced two 3rd and long opportunities and each time Tommy Hodson connected with Wendell Davis to keep drives alive and allow LSU to run out the clock. RUMORS WOULD START THE NEXT WEEK AGAINST TULANE ABOUT BILL ARNSPARGER LEAVING LSU TO GO TO FLORIDA. THEY WOULD TURN OUT TO BE TRUE.
Auburn 21 Alabama 17
Once again LSU did not play in this game, but this Iron Bowl matchup had huge implications on LSU's fortunes. LSU had secured at least a tie for the SEC Title, but needed Auburn to beat Alabama for LSU to win it outright. If Bama would win, then they would share the title with LSU and the Sugar Bowl would be forced to choose between the Tigers and the Tide. Given the Sugar Bowl's propensity for wanting a team who would bring fans to stay for a week in the Crescent city, which LSU being only 80 miles away in Baton Rouge, many Tiger fans worried that the Tide would be chosen despite of the fact that LSU had beaten the Tide 14-10 3 weeks earlier. LSU fans breathed a sigh of relief as Lawyer Tillman scored on an end around late in the game to cap an Auburn comeback victory by the score of 21-17. LSU had the outright SEC Title and a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face Nebraska. After LSU's win over Tulane that night, Bill Arsnaparger resigned to take the Athletic Diretor's job at Florida. Arnsparger wasn't much of an AD because he opposed the hiring of Steve Spurrier to lead the Gator's fortunes. Florida convinced him otherwise and he was back coaching the San Diego Chargers defense a few years later. They did make the Super Bowl in 1994 only to be routed by the San Francisco 49ers 49-26 ub Super Bowl XXIX. LSU would lose to Nebraska 30-15 in the Sugar Bowl, which was Arnsparger's final game as an LSU coach. The Mike Archer era was set to begin in 1987.
1987 LSU 17 Texas A & M 3
This was the first game of the Mike Archer era and it started with a bang. LSU was a slight favorite going into College Station. It had been many years since LSU had ventured to the Lone Star state to play the Aggies. When the two teams would meet on the gridiron in the 60's and 70's it was always played in Tiger Stadium. This was a new day though. LSU controlled the line of scrimmage and jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half. LSU's defense stymied the Aggies and kept them out of the end zone all night. Mike Archer was off to a great start and LSU had thoughts of a possible National Championship dancing in their heads as they returned to Baton Rouge.
1987 LSU 42 Ole Miss 13
LSU was ranked in the Top 5 and was a prohibitive favorite as they journeyed up I-55 to Jackson for this renewal of a once great rivalry in Southern Football. Ole Miss had shocked the Tigers the previous year in Baton Rouge by a 21-19 score. LSU was looking for a little payback and Tommy Hodson waisted little time as he hit Wendell Davis for a long touchdon. Ole Miss responded with a score of their own to knot things up. LSU went back ahead and Ole Miss added a field goal to make the score 14-10 in LSU's favor at the half. Ole Miss would complete a long pass to open the 2nd half. The Rebels were inside LSU's 5 yard line, but the Tigers held and Ole Miss only was able to muster a field goal. With the score 14-13, Tommy Hodson marched the Tigers down for a score, but he suffered an injury as he threw a touchdown pass and had to leave the game. LSU added 3 more touchdowns for the final margin of victory. Hodson hobbled out of Jackson on crutches. His time was limited the next week against Alabama. The Tide shocked the Tigers 22-10 in Tiger Stadium and thoughts of a National Championship ended that night.
1987 LSU 41 Tulane 36
This was one of the most exciting games ever played in the LSU/Tulane series. LSU was a big favorite. This would be Mack Brown's last game in the SuperDome as coach of the Wave as he would leave to take the North Carolina job the next season. LSu started out with a quick touchdown and took a 21-7 lead into the dressing room at intermission, but the Greenies came out firing in the second half and had a 36-35 lead late in the 4th quarter, but Tommy Hodson completed critical 4th and 7 conversiion and Eddie Fuller ran in from more than 30 yards to put the Tigers up. The Wave was firing at the end, but ran out of time.
Dec 31, 1987 Gator Bowl LSU 30 South Carolina 13
LSU came into the game a 3 point underdog. More than 30,000 South Carolinians attended the game in Jacksonville. Everything pointed to a Gamecock win, but Tommy Hodson hooked up with Wendell Davis for 3 touchdowns and the Tiger's defense totally dominated the Gamecocks. LSU finished with their first 10 win season in 26 years and garnered a #5 ranking in the final polls, which was also the highest ranking for an LSU since 1961. Mike Archer's first campaigh of 10-1-1 was a successful one.
1988 LSU 27 Texas A & M 0
LSU picked up where they had left off the previous season with a resounding vicotory over the Aggies. LSU ran through Texas A & M and held them out of the end zone for the second consecutive year.
1988 LSU 34 Tennessee 9
This was not a good Tennessee team. As a matter of fact, they lost their first 6 games, but in Knoxville where the Tigers had never won. Tommy Hodason was a surgeon as he picked apart the Volunteer secondary and Slip Watkins added a touchdown. Talk started of the Tigers challenging for a National Championship, but it quickly end due to LSU's meltdown the following week in Columbus, Ohio against Ohio State as LSU let a 33-20 evaporate in the game's final 4 minutes to lose 36-33. LSU would lose 19-6 to Florida the following week and the SEC Title was all they had to play for after that.
1988 LSU 7 Auburn 6
This was called the Earthquake game. When Tommy Hodson completed a 4th down pass to Eddie Fuller for a touchdown, the sound coming out of Tiger Stadium measured on the Richter Scale in the Geology Department. The Tigers played tough defense limiting Auburn to 2 field goals before their final drive. LSU only crossed midfield twice that night, but that last drive was huge as Hodson completed a key 4th down pass to Willie Williams. The big tight end had to bowl over two Auburn defenders to get the critical 1st down. Hodson actually completed a pass in the end zone to Fuller on 1st down following William's catch, but Eddie was ruled out of bounds. After the touchdown, Auburn came right back and Auburn Quarterback, Reggie Slack overthrew a wide open Lawyer Tillman on 4th down with the War Eagle close to midfield.
1988 LSU 15 Kentucky 12
LSU suffered a post Auburn hangover and were almost beaten by the Wildcats that October night in Tiger Stadium. It wasn't until the 4th quarter when LSU went ahead. Tommy Hodson was stymied much of the night with the Wildcats limiting his ability to throw long. It was not pretty, but it was a win and that's what counted in the SEC.
1988 LSU 19 Alabama 18
This one was a classic. Alabama jumped out to a 15-0 lead, but the Tigers scored a touchdown before the half to make in 15-7. The Tigers added a field goal and a long touchdown pass to Tony Moss to take a 16-15 lead. Bama added a field goal to go ahead and almost completed a long pass on what would have been a clinching socre late in the 4th quarter, but Tommy Hodson drove the Tigers back. He completed a long pass to Tony Moss and had a pass dropped in the end zone, but David Browndyke kicked a 34 yard field goal with 18 seconds left. The drama was far from over as Alabama barely missed a 52 field goal on the game's final play.
1988 LSU 20 Mississippi State 13
LSU journeyed to Starkville and dominated the Bulldogs to earn a share of the SEC Title for the 2nd time in 3 years. LSU was holding onto a precarious 13-3 lead when Greg Jackson returned an interception 100 yards for the final score of the game. LSU would not win another SEC Title until last year. The Tigers shared the title with Auburn that year as the Plainsmen beat Alabama in the Iron Bowl and earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl, while LSU settled for a date with Syracuse in the Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, which would later become the Outback Bowl. LSU would lose 23-13 ro Syracuse in an uninspired effort. LSU would have 6 straight losing seasons following this game.
There were no big wins by LSU in 1989
1990 LSU 17 Texas A & M 8
This was the only bright spot in Mike Archer's final year in Baton Rouge. LSU and Texas A & M battled to a scoreless tie in the first half, but the Tigers kicked a field goal in the 3rd quarter and Todd Kinchen put on a one man show by returning one punt to set up a score and turning a short pass into a long touchdown. LSU would lose 5 straight to the Aggies after this one.
1991 LSU 16 Vanderbilt 14
This was Vanderbilt and the Commodores had shocked LSU 24-21 the year before in Nashville when Todd Kinchen had a touchdown pass taken away on the game's final play on an offensive inteference call. That helped to set in motion Mike Archer's demise. This was Curley Hallman's first team and the Tigers were 0-2 with losses resounding losses to Georgia and Texas A & M on the road to open the season. The Tigers trailed Gerry DiNardo's Commodores through much of the game, but managed to go ahead late in the game. Vanderbilt drove down inside the 5 yard line, but a ferocious hit on a Vanderbilt caused a fumble and Tiger defender almost ran all the way, but it was big because the TIGERS DID NOT GO TO 0-3. THE NEXT TIME THESE TWO TEAMS MET, GERRY DINARDO WOULD BE THE LSU COACH.
CURLEY'S LSU TEAMS CLOSED 1991 WITH BIG WINS OVER KENTUCKY AND OLE MISS AND PUT UP GREAT EFFORTS AGAINST FLORIDA STATE AND ALABAMA TO FINISH 5-6 AND GREAT THINGS WERE EXPECTED FROM THE TIGERS IN 1992. LSU FINISHED 1992 AT 2-9 AND THE WOLVES WERE HOWLING GOING INTO 1993.
1993 LSU 18 Mississippi State 16
Andre LaFleur kicked 49 yard field goal and added a short one with seconds left against the Bulldogs to give LSU a 1-1 record and 1-0 in the SEC as the Tigers returned home against Auburn. LSU would go into a tailspin after that one until they faced Ole Miss.
1993 LSU 19 Ole Miss 17
LSU fell behind the Rebels, but fought back to take a 2 point lead late in the game. Ole Miss drove deep into Tiger territory and lined up for the game winning field goal attempt. 7 years earlier LSU missed a field goal attempt in a similar situation to lose by two. This time Ole Miss suffered the same fate as Curley Hallman was able to silence the critics for one more week.
1993 LSU 17 Alabama 13
This was the most shocking result of the LSU/Alabama series in recent memory. LSU came into the game 25 point underdogs against the defending National Champions. After a scoreless 1st half LSU scored two touchdowns and held off a lste Alabama rally as the Tigers came into Bryant-Denny Stadium and ended the Tide's 26 game unbeaten streak. Hallman definitely had the critics off of his back as LSU actually was in good shape to go to the Carquest Bowl in Ft Lauderdale if they could win their remaining two games, but a loss to Arkansas in the last game ended LSU's hopes and put Hallman back on the hotseat.
1994 LSU 30 Arkansas 12
This was Curley Hallman's final game as the Tiger coach as he went out in style at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. It was significant because the Razorbacks had beaten LSU the two previous years and they would become a chief rival to the Tigers. LSU would win this game in 1995, 1996 and 1997 before the Hogs would turn the trick in Houston Nutt's first year. THE CURLEY HALLMAN ERA WAS OVER AND THINGS BRIEFLY TOOK A TURN FOR THE BETTER AS GERRY DINARDO PREPARED TO TAKE OVER THE REINS OF THE TIGER PROGRAM.
1995 LSU 34 Mississippi State 16
LSU began the Gerry DiNardo era with a 33-17 loss to Texas A & M in College Station the previous week. They were competitive, but made some key mistakes which cost them. In this game they jumped on Mississippi State in the 2nd quarter and went into the half with a 17-10 lead. Freshman Running Back, Kevin Faulk had a stellar day and LSU closed out with a decisive victory in Starkville.
1995 LSU 12 Auburn 6
"Bring Back The Magic" was the theme of Gerry DiNardo's first canpaign as LSU had suffered through 6 straight losing season before his arrival. It was a magical night for the home opener for LSU in Tiger Stadium. LSU jumped to the lead and was up by 6 points as Auburn began its final drive of the game. They were inside the 10 yard line when they lofted a pass on the game's final play. LSU intercepted the pass on the game's last play, which set off a boisterous celebration. For the first time since 1990, the Tigers had more games in the win column than in the loss column.
1995 LSU 38 Ole Miss 10
LSU dominated this game throughout and got what was a rare win over a Tommy Tubberville coached team. This game was significant in that it guaranteed that LSU would not have a losing season for the first time in 6 years. They were 5-4-1 with one game left and the opportunity to go to a bowl game.
1995 LSU 28 Arkansas 0
It was simple. If LSU won this game, they would have a wining record for the first time in 6 years and also get a bowl invitation, most likely to the Independence Bowl. Arkansas had clinched the SEC West Title and looked formidable, but Freshman Quarterback Herb Tyler was ready as he directed the Tigers to a 28-0 lead with touchdowns by Kendall Cleveland and Shedrick Wilson. LSU shut out the Razorbacks in the 2nd half and were bound for the Independence Bowl for a date with Michigan State, which was coached by Nick Saban.
1995 Independence Bowl LSU 45 Michigan State 26
This was LSU's first bowl game since the 1989 Hall of Fame Bowl. The town of Shreveport was excited about hosting the Tigers. Michigan State stuck first with long Touchdown pass and after falling behind 14-13 on an Eddid Kennison kickoff return, the Spartans returned the favor with a kickoff return of their own to go up 21-14. Kevin Faulk quickly answered a long touchdown run to tie things up, but the Spartans added a field goal to go up at the half. LSU scored early in the 3rd quarter to go up by 4 and Gabe Northern returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Herb Tyler lofted a touchdown pass and Wade Richey added a long field goal and LSU had a resounding victory over Michigan State. Little did fans know that they would be looking at a future great coach on the opposing team's sideline in Nick Saban who would join the Tigers 4 years later.
1996 LSU 35 Houston 34
The 1996 season started with great promise and a pre-season Top 25 ranking for the first time since 1989. LSU fell behind 34-14 as the 4th quarter began. Kevin Faulk returned a punt for a touchdown and LSU was within 13 points. The Tigers added a touchdown and crept to with 6 points. LSU got the ball back and Rondell Mealey didn't dissappoint the faithful on long touchdown scamper for the game's final points. The Tigers squeaked by and prepared for the next game against Auburn.
1996 LSU 19 Auburn 15
LSU journeyed to the Plains of Auburn for the second game of 1996. The game was an exciting one. In the first half, fans noticed a fire, which blazed close to the stadium as the Old Field House burned down due to a careless tailgater who did check to see if his ashes were out when he dumped his pit. LSU lead at the half and things looked good as the Tigers returned an interception for a toucdown to put them up 17-9 in the final quarter but the War Eagles drove down the field and scored late in the game to pull within two. However on the 2 point conversion, LSU intercepted and returned the 2 point try to put the Tigers up 19-15. The exceitement wasn't over as Auburn recovered an onside kick. Denard Walker ended Auburn's hopes with an interception. This was a big win for the Tigers.
1996 Peach Bowl LSU 10 Clemson 7
LSU achieved its first 10 win season since 1987 with this victory. Atlanta has been a kind place to LSU and this game held true to form. Clemson scored first, but Herb Tyler answered with a 15 yard touchdown run. LSU added a field goal for the final score, but the excitement didn't end. The Tigers missed a chance to put some distance between them and the Clemson Tigers when David La Fleur dropped a Herb Tyler pass in the endzone. Clemson lined up for a 51 yard field goal attempt, but Mark Roman blocked the Orange Clad Tigers final attempt. LSU ended the season 10-2 and ranked 13th in the country.
1997 LSU 7 Vanderbilt 6
This was not one of LSU's great all time performances, but it had an interesting side note. Gerry DiNardo came back to Nashville to face his former team, the Vanderbilt Commodores. He almost left with an embarrassing loss. After a scoreless 1st half, LSU went ahead on a Herb Tyler to Larry Foster touchdown pass. With 12 seconds left Vanderbilt scored a touchdown, but twice received delay of game penalites when trying to get off a 2 point conversion. After that Vanderbilt lined up to kick a PAT, which was blocked to preserve the victory. This was more a WHEW!! type game. It would have been similar to the 1990 embarrassment had the Commodores prevailed. LSU's season would have been a disaster had they lost this game.
LSU 28 Florida 21
LSU came off the near embarrassment at Vanderbilt to host the top ranked and defending National Champion Florida Gators in Tiger Stadium. LSU was an inspired bunch of Tigers as Herb Tyler ran 50 yards for a toucdown off of an option play in the first quarter. The Tigers got another quick score on a Tommy Banks 11 yard run to go up 14-0. Tiger fans were ecstatic!! Florida was not the defending National Champions for nothing though as they would score twice to tie it up as the teams entered the final quarter. Cedric Donaldson intercepted a Gator pass and returned it for a touchdown as the decibel level in Death Valley reached the stratosphere! ON the ensuing kickoff LSU recovered a Florida fumble and if there would have been a roof on Tiger Stadium, it would have blew off!! The Tigers quickly scored to make 28-14. But as I mentioned, these were the defending National Champions and they would not quit. Florida responded with a touchdown drive and LSU was faced with trying to hold on and run out the clock. Herb Tyler completed a key 3rd down pass to Abram Booty to clinch the game and the fans stormed the field to celebrate LSU's first ever win over a top ranked team and its first win and only win over a Steve Spurrier team as a coach or player.
1997 LSU 27 Alabama 0
This was not a good Alabama team. They would finish 4-7, but they were Alabama and the game was in Tuscaloosa, so it was special because of the way LSU had dominated the Tide in this game. LSU quickly opened the game with a fumble recovery for touchdown and added another to lead by two touchdowns at the half. They added two more in the second half to put an exclamation point on the rout.
1997 Independence Bowl LSU 27 Notre Dame 9
Gerry DiNardo and the LSU Tigers were soundly beaten by his alma mater 6 weeks earlier in Baton Rouge on a cold and blustery day in Tiger Stadium by a score of 24-6. The Independence Bowl made it possible for a rematch with the Irish and Tiger fans lined up for tickets to this game. LSU donned Gold Jerseys and White Pants for the game. It was a cold and rainy night in Shreveport. The Irish took a 6-3 lead into the halftime dressing room, but LSU came out and quickly tied the game up with a field goal and Herb Tyler hit Abram Booty to give the Tigers a lead for the first time in both meetings. The Irish added a field goal, but Rondell Mealey took over with a long run and the Tigers scored on a short run and added another late touchdown to win by 18 points, which was the same margin of victory for the Irish 6 weeks earlier. It was a sweet win for LSU and especially Coach DiNardo. The game was marred by the impomtu performance of a partially clad streakier in the 2nd quarter who was eventually caught and dragged away by the police. LSU fans anxiously awaited 1998.
1998 was year of great promise as LSU was picked to win the West and achieved a #6 National Ranking going into their matchup with Georgia, but the Tigers would lose 7 of their last 8 games to finish 4-7.
1999 LSU 35 Arkansas 10
The Gerry DiNardo era had come to an end. He was fired 11 days before after the Tigers had dropped a 20-7 decision to the Houston Cougars in Tiger Stadium. LSU stood 2-8 coming into the game and the talk was sprinkled with names on who would be the next coach. Rich Rodriquez, the Offensive genius at Tulane in 1998 when the Greenies finished 12-0 was one of the favorites. Mark Richt, the Florida State Offensive Coordinator was another. Tiger fans were in for a big surprise the following week. With all the speculation surrounding who would be the next coach, the Tigers still had to play a game and the Arkansas Razorbacks presented a formidable challenge for the Tigers. The Hogs entered the game a 12 point favorite and were primed for a romp. LSU was coached by Hal Hunter for this game. Arkansas came out and scored a field goal to capture a quick lead. After Josh Booty, the Starting Quarterback, was ineffective, Rohan Davey took over and inspired the Tigers. LSU quickly piled on touchdowns. One play that I vividly remember was Tommy Banks taking out two Razorbacks on a block as Domanick Davis scooted in for a touchdown. This was played on national television and the game demonstrated the potential that LSU offered an incoming coach. The boos that permeated Tiger Stadium in 1999 were non-existent on this day. The Tigers took back the boot and were had something for a new coach to build upon. LSU Chancellor, Mark Emmert pulled a coup with the signing of Nick Saban to be the next coach on the following week. Saban had been a successful head coach at Toledo and Michigan State and a respected NFL assistant coach. His last Spartan team went 9-2 and earned an invitation to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. His team, coached by Bobby Williams in that game, defeated the Florida Gators 34-31. Excitement abounded as we entered the new millenium.
2000 LSU 38 Tennessee 31
The Saban era began with LSU winning their first two games over Western Carolina (58-0) and Houston (28-13), but losing to Auburn (34-17) and Alabama Birmingham (13-10). The Auburn loss was not one to hang their heads about as the War Eagles would win the West and the game was played in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The UAB loss was another thing. The Tigers trailed for most of the game, but managed to pull even by the 4th quarter. Late in the game Josh Booty miscommunicated with a receiver and threw an interception. The Blazers kicked a field goal on the game's final play for the win. UAB did not even field a football team years earlier. There was a sense of urgency as the Tigers entered the field for a date with the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee was two years removed from winning the National Championship and a formidable foe. LSU started out on fire with Rohan Davey taking over the reins at Quarterback. The Tigers lead 31-15 going into the 4th quarter, but Casey Clausen brought the Vols back to tie the game. LSU missed a field goal on the final play of regulation, but quickly grabbed the lead on a Rohan Davey to Robert Royal connection in overtime. LSU stuffed the Vols on a 4th down pass attempt from the 3 yard line. Fans blanketed the field and tore down the goal posts after the win. Was the magic back? It was still open to debate.
2000 LSU 45 Mississippi State 38
Three weeks later LSU had another overtime thriller with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Dogs had beaten Florida earlier in the year and were primed to win the SEC West. LSU came into the game 4-3 minus Rohan Davey who had reinjured himself in a 41-9 loss to Florida two weeks earlier. The start time was 8 PM an hour later than normal and extra time for Tiger fans to get fueled up. MSU struck first on a long touchdown pass. LSU would respond and the game would seesaw back and forth. The Bulldogs lead 31-17 going into the final quarter, but LSU became physical and dominated the line of scrimmage. They went ahead 38-31, but the Maroons added a late touchdown to send the game to overtime. LeBrandon Toefield scored from 11 yards out to put the Tigers up and LSU once again held on for a big victory.
2000 LSU 30 Alabama 28
Amid the backdrop of the 2000 presidential election match up between George W Bush and Vice President Al Gore, LSU prepared for a date with the Alabama Crimson Tide. This was again not a very good Tide Team. They had been beaten by Central Florida the week before, but LSU had not beaten Alabama in Baton Rouge since 1969 and the Tigers were anxious to turn the tables. LSU and Alabama went back and forth. The Tide opened a 21-14 lead in the 4th quarter, but LSU roared back and scored a touchdown, but missed the PAT. Not to worry because LSU quickly forced a Bama fumble and Kicked a field goal to go up by 2. A very pivotal point in the game occurred with about 7 minutes left as a Tiger receiver appeared to be run into by a Tide player and he fumbled the ball. Replays would later show that he was blocked into the player by another Tiger. LSU recovered the ball, but the officials were mistakenly about to give the ball to the Tide. The Jumbotron was played over and over again showing a Tiger recovering the ball. Finally an official looked up and realized that LSU was in rightful possession of the ball. LSU took the ball and drove for a touchdown to go up by 9. The excitement wasn't over as LSU got the ball back and on 3rd down, Josh Booty inexplicably ran out of bounds on 3rd down with around 2 minutes left in the game. This gave the Tide enough time to drive down and score a touchdown to close the gap with 9 seconds left in the game. The issue wasn't decided until LSU recovered the ensuing onside kick. Fans stormed the field once again to celebrate the first win over the Tide in Death Valley in 31 years and the clinching of a winning season as the Tigers stood 6-3 at this point.
2000 LSU 20 Ole Miss 9
LSU ventured to Oxford to face a team they had not beaten since 1996. LSU was a 4 point underdog in this game, but were primed to upset the Rebels. LSU lead 7-6 in the 3rd quarter and added a touchdown to go up by 8 points. The Rebels responded with a field goal to close the gap, but Josh Booty hit Josh Reed with a key pass to the Rebel 2 yard line and the Tigers scored to go up by 11. LSU held off an Ole Miss drive and the Tigers ended the Rebel's 3 game winning streak in the series. LSU would crack the Top 25 for the first time in 2 years with the win.
2000 Peach Bowl LSU 28 Georgia Tech 14
Atlanta needs to become LSU's home away from home. LSU fell behind 14-3 at the half and an ineffective Josh Booty was pulled in favor of Rohan Davey in the second half. Davey lead an inspired Tiger effort much to the dismay of the hometown Yellow Jacket crowd. LSU pulled to within 14-9 in the 3rd quarter and opened the 4th with a picture perfect catch by Josh Reed and Davey with defensive line hanging onto him completed a two point pass play to put the Tigers up 17-14. John Corbello added a 49 field goal and Davey completed a pass to Tommy Banks for the game's final touchdown. The Tigers finished 8-4 and ranked 22 in the final Top 25 poll. Josh Booty decided to skip his final season and turn pro. Though there was great fanfare upon his delayed arrival in Tiger town and unanswered expectations, Booty still showed a tremendous amount of class in how he handled things. He was the first to congratulate Davey for his successes and I personally wish him well and hope he lands with a good NFL team. Right now he is with the Cleveland Browns. His youngest brother, John David Booty just finished his junior year at Evangel and looks like a superstar as he lead the Eagles to another 5-A Title.
2001 LSU 48 Tulane 17
LSU renewed their series with the Green Wave, which had been dormant since 1996. LSU quickly got out of the gate with a long kickoff return and a 28 yard LeBrandon Toefield touchdown on the game's first play. The Tigers did pretty much what they wanted in this game as they avenged the baseball team's loss in the previous spring's Super Regional at Zephyr Field.
LSU HAD BEATEN UTAH STATE AND WERE PRIMED FOR A KEY WESTERN DIVISION MATCHUP AGAINST AUBURN. ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, FOOTBALL TOOK A BACK SEAT TO MORE IMPORTANT MATTERS. TERRORISTS HIJACKED 4 PLANES AND FLEW TWO INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER KILLING 3000 PEOPLE. THEY FLEW ANOTHER PLANE INTO THE PENTAGON KILLING MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE AND THE COURAGEOUS PASSENGERS ON ANOTHER FLIGHT TOOK CONTROL OF THE PLANE AND CRASHED IT INTO A FIELD IN PENNSYLVANIA SAVING IT FROM LIKELY HITTING THE CAPITOL BUILDING IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ASSISTANT COACH PETE JENKIN'S SON WAS IN A HOTEL NEXT TO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND DESCRIBED TO HIS FATHER THE HORROR OF THE SCENE. THE TRAGEDY CHANGED US ALL FROM THAT DAY.
2001 LSU 29 Kentucky 25
When play resumed in the SEC 3 weeks later, LSU dropped a tough loss to Tennessee in Knoxville (26-18) and were pounded the following week in Baton Rouge at the hands of the Florida Gators (44-15). LSU started out the evening with a LeBrandon Toefield touchdown and were up 22-10, but the Wildcats came back and lead 25-22 with about 3 minutes to go in the game. Rohan Davey took control and marched the Tigers down the field. Davey connected with Michael Clayton with 13 seconds to play and the Tigers got out of town with a 4 point win.
2001 LSU 35 Alabama 21
LSU appeared to be in turmoil. They had dropped a 35-24 decision to Ole Miss the week before to fall to 2-3 in the SEC West and 5-3 overall. A trip to Atlanta was the furthest thing from the Tigers' minds. Jimbo Fisher and Coach Saban concocted a brilliant game plan as Rohan Davey completed 35 out of 44 passes as he lead the Tigers to a big victory over the Tide in Tuscaloosa. Since 1982, LSU is 7-3 Tide in the state of Alabama. LSU received a huge boost from Arkansas later that evening as the Razorbacks bested the Ole Miss Rebels 58-56 in 7 overtimes thus opening the door for LSU's hopes of getting to the SEC Title game.
2001 Alabama 31 Auburn 7
Another Iron Bowl played a big part in LSU's post season chances. If Auburn won, they would be going to Atlanta to represent the SEC West, but Cadillac Williams suffered a broken clavicle and the Auburn offense was not the same. Andrew Zow has a career day and put the Tide in position for a post season appearance, which will be far and few for the next couple of years due to NCAA sanctions. With The Tide's win, LSU now controlled their own destiny in their march to Atlanta.
2001 LSU 41 Arkansas 38
This was a barn burner. LeBrandon Toefield scored first on 62 yard run, but Matt Jones and the Razorbacks came right back and went ahead 13-7. LSU responded to go up 14-13, but the Razorbacks came right back to go up 19-14. Josh Reed caught a touchdown pass right before the half to put LSU up 20-19. LSU went ahead 41-25 and appeared to have things well in hand, but the Hogs wouldn't quit and crept to within 3 points late in the game. Facing a critical 3rd and 13 play, Rohan Davey hit Josh Reed with a key completion for 31 yards and the Tigers salted away the rest of the clock for the win.
2001 LSU 27 Auburn 14
This was one of the most anticipated matchup in years in Death Valley. Not since 1973 when LSU and Alabama faced off with 9-0 records were two teams playing for a championship in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers lost that one 21-7 on Thanksgiving night. Tonight would be different. Auburn foolishly started the game with a 15 yard penalty for stomping the eye of the Tiger in pregame warm-ups. The officials assessed the War Eagles 15 yards for the infraction and LSU opened the game with a picture perfect onside kick. The Tigers scored quickly to go up 7-0, but Auburn completed a 72 yard pass to draw even. Just before the half Rohan Davey hit Josh Reed for a touchdown and Domanick Davis added another to put the Tigers up 21-7. LSU would dominate the second half but only manage two field goals. Auburn scored a late touchdown to close the gap, but the LSU Tigers took the kickoff and ran out the clock as fans deleriously stormed the field. On this night, Tommy Tuberville's crew would not be smoking cigars on the field as they did two years earlier. NOW IT WAS OFF TO ATLANTA.
2001 SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
LSU 31 Tennessee 20
Words can not describe this game and how the 15,000 faithful felt after this thrilling conquest of the Tennessee Vols. The Rocky Toppers were making plans for a trip to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl to play for the National Championship, but they didn't figure on the Tigers being able to pull the upset. LSU started the game by losing Rohan Davey and would later lose LeBrandon Toefield. LSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the legs of hero back up QB Matt Mauck, but the Vols came back and grabbed a 14-7 lead and were threatening to blow the game open when LSU went for a 4th and 1 on their own 23 yard line. They were stuffed, but the Tiger defense pushed the Vols back and Tennessee had to settle for a field goal. LSU came back and John Corbello hit a clutch field goal before the half to bring the Tigers within 7 before the half. LSU had an anxious moment right before the half as a Volunteer receiver got open, but was overthrown by Casey Clausen. John Corbello added two more big field goals to bring the Tigers within point as the 4th quarter began. LSU's defense forced a fumble, which was returned to around midfield. From there Matt Mauck drove the Tigers to the go ahead score with a key 3rd down completion to Josh Reed and run by Mauck plus a two point pass to Reed to put the Tigers up 24-17. The Vols were not finished as they drove down to the LSU 4 yard line, but the Tiger defense stiffened and held Tennessee to a field goal. Travis Daniels broke a key 3rd down pass in the drive. LSU got the ball back, but was forced to punt. The Tigers forced another Tennessee turnover when Donte Stallworth was stripped of the ball after a reception. LSU moved in for the clinching score with key plays by Michael Clayton, Domanick Davis, and Josh Reed. Reed made two big plays in the drive (1) He broke up what could have been a key interception by the Vols at midfield and (2) he drew a key interference call close to the goaline. On 4th down, Domanick Davis scored with 2 minutes to go in the game. Tennessee had one last offensive series, but the Tigers stopped them on 4th down and 50,000 Rocky Toppers quietly exited the Georgia Dome. LSU won their first SEC Title since 1988 and their first one outright since 1986. Atlanta was once again kind to the Tigers.
January 1, 2002 Nokia Sugar Bowl LSU 47 Illinois 34
LSU finally won a New Year's Day Bowl game for the first time in 34 years. Not since the 1968 Sugar Bowl when LSU defeated the undefeated Wyoming Cowbys 20-13 had LSU won a game on January 1. In the past, the Sugar Bowl would shy away from the Tigers because the fans would come in the day of the game or maybe a day or two before that and as a result the LSU contigent would not pump a lot of money into the New Orleans economy. This had changed because the BCS bowls were now looking for sellouts and anyone who went through the song and dance last year trying to get a ticket to the game knows how Sugar Bowl tickets were at a premium. Yours truly received his ticket by way the internet and had to pay twice the value of the ticket price. So goes with a championship football program. The Tiger's opponent for the game was the Illinois Fighting Illini. The boys from Champain Urbana were the surprise winners of the Big 10 in 2001. They featured Kurt Kittner, a highly regarded quarterback. One who ESPN analyst, Mark May, said would pick the LSU secondary apart the day before the game. May and fellow analyst routinely diss the Tigers ib breaking down a game. Let's hope both are wrong on their prediction for the Cotton Bowl as May was in predicting last year's game.
LSU dodged a potentially disastoruous turn of events early in the game when an Illini defender almost intercepted a tipped pass early in the game with nothing to stop from walking into the end zone. After that LSU's Domanick Davis scored the first of 4 touchdowns on a short run to put the Tigers up 7-0. Davis would score two more and Rohan Davey would throw for two more as the Tigers built up a 34-7 halftime lead. The Illini fought back in the second half and crept to within 13 beore the Tigers ran out the clock for the 47-34 win. The score did not reflect LSU's dominance as one touchdown pass to Domanick Davis was called back for holding and Michael Clayton fumbled the ball after a pass reception with the Tigers up by 19. The tiers could have won this game in excess of 30 points. LSU completed a 3-0 record for the SEC against the Big 10 as Tennessee bested Michigan in the Citrus Bowl 45-17, South Carolina let a 28-0 lead slip away against Ohio State, but made a field goal as time expired for 31-28 and of course the Tiger's big win in the Sugar Bowl. LSU would continue the SEC's dominance in basketball in March with a 4 point victory over Iowa in the first round of the NIT basketball tournament up on the Hawkeye's home court. LSU would be ranked #7 in the AP and #8 in the Coache's poll at the end of the season for their first Top 10 finish in 14 years.
2002 LSU 48 UL-Lafayette 0
For years the Ragin Cajuns of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette had clamored to play LSU in football and basketball. They regularly played in baseball and had staged some competitive constests. On the way to their first National Championship in baseball, LSU beat a pesky Cajun team 9-6 in the championsip game of the Southest Region to advance to Omaha. Then the USL Ragin Cajuns would beat the Tigers in Baton Rouge during the 1992, 1993, and 1994 seasons as well as win in Lafayette against the Tigers also in 1994. During that span, LSU won another National Championship in baseball in 1993 and also appeared in Omaha in 1994. LSU would beat them twice in 1995, but lose to the Cajuns during another NCAA Title year in 1997. The Tigers would eliminate in the 1998 South Reginal, but have to beat them twice in last year's Sub regional to advance to the Super Regional after being bested by the Cajuns the day before. The Cajuns had pounded the Tigers twice during the regular season. There was some bad blood between the two programs at last year's regional, which is sad because both teams are class outfits. The Cajuns finally got the basketball game they wanted in December of 2001 and were beaten soundly by the Tigers by 18 points in Baton Rouge. Both programs appear to be headed for post season play this year.
Skip Bertman wanted to have no empty seats for non conference games and felt it would be better to play an instate school instead of someone from far away. There was added motivation for the smaller schools playing the Tigers and LSU remembered that fateful September night in 2000 when Alabama Birmingham nipped the Tigers 13-10. The Cajuns had just beaten UAB two weeks earlier 34-0. Hurrican Lilli complicated matter as fans filled the stands. By gametime the storm had passed, but a Tiger scoring barrage swept away the Cajuns in the first half as LSU lead UL-Lafayette 41-0. Coach Rickey Bustle did not even do his routine half time interview with Billy Rickman. The Tigers would add another touchdown to make the final score 48-0. After that Coach Nick Saban called off the dogs. It could have been much worse. So complete was LSU's dominance, the Cajuns were 0 for 16 on 3rd down conversions and had less than 100 yards in total offense. The Tigers did suffer a blow with the injury to Lebrandon Toelfield as he broke his wrist in the 2nd Quarter. LSU and UL-L will play again in 2006. I expect the Cajuns to be a quality opponent by then as Coach Bustle has them headed in the right direction. They came within an eyelash of sending their game with Arkansas into overtime this year. This is a team that does not quit and will be playing in the New Orleans Bowl within two years.
2002 LSU 36 Florida 7
LSU had not won in The Swamp since 1986 and had bested the Gators only from 1987 to this year, but Steve Spurrier had moved to the NFL and LSU was the one with the big time coach in Nick Saban. Florida missed a chance to jump early when the holder on a fake field goal attempt overthrew a wide open receiver. The Tigers jumpe to a 10-0 1st quarter lead on field goal and an interception return by Corey Webster of Rex Grossman pass. The Gatos picked up a touchdown and LSU added a field goal as the Tigers took a 13-7 lead into intermission. The Tigers stuffed the Gators on their first offensive series and prompty took the ball and drove for touchdown with Matt Mauck connecting with Devrey Henderson for touchdown. LSU's defense stuffed Florida almost tackling a Gator running back for a safety. The Tigers got the ball back and Mauck once again connected with Henderson for another touchdown to make it 26-7 LSU. The scoring wasn't over as Blaine Bech scored from 40+ yards out on a fake field goal and John Corbello added a field goal for the final margin of victory. The Tigers would suffer a huge blow in the game as Matt Mauck would injure his foot early in the 4th quarter. The extent of the injury was not known until after the game. He injured ligaments in his foot and dislocated his ankle and would be finished for the year. Marcus Randall would be forced into duty the rest of the year. LSU presented a great product to a National TV audience on ESPN.
2002 LSU 38 South Carolina 14
An 8 pm ESPN 2 audience greeted the Tigers and South Carolina Gamecock on this October night in Tiger Stadium. South Carolina jumped all ove the Tigers in the first half and were up 14-3. LSU drove down and John Corbello booted a long field goal at the half to pull the Tigers within 8. Marcus Randall, making his first start, directed the Tigers on a touchdown drive by running in for a touchdown and hooking up with Micheal Clayton to tie the game at 14. LSU would get the ball back and go ahead 17-14 and score another touchdown and Demetruis Hoofkin would intercept a short pass to complete a 25 point 3rd quarter as the Tigers took total command for a 31-14 lead. LSU would add another score for the final margin. Randall performed fabulously in his debut and the Tigers would climb to # 9 in the BCS ratings the following week, but problems would follow this game as Marcus Spears would injure his ankle in the game limiting him the rest of the year and keeping him out of the Auburn game and Shyronne Carey would also suffer an injury, which kept him out of the following game. The biggest blow would be the mysterious dissappearance of Damien James. James left the team and gave no reason. He would be dismissed later that week. His absence caused LSU to have to shuffle the secondary and presented problems for the rest of the season. With all the distractions, LSU was blown out by Auburn the following week 31-7 and were no longer the run away winner of the SEC WEST.
LSU 33 Kentucky 30
This will be forever hailed as the "BULEGRASS MIRACLE" Without this victory, LSU would not be playing in the Cotton Bowl or may have perhaps not won another game this season. Kentucky jumped to quick 7-0 lead as the Wildcats drove 90+ yards for the 1st score of the game. LSU responded in the 2nd quarter with a shovel pass from Randall to Devrey Henderson for a score and another Randall to Hendrson connection to put the Tigers up 14-7 at the half. Nick Saban expressed his displeasure in a halftime interview with Jordy Hultberg. The Tigers came out in the second half and scored on another long play by Joseph Aaddai to go up 21-7 and appeared to have things well in hand, but the Wildcats blocked a punt and scored on a 3rd diwn pass to a wide open receiver. LSU came back and missed another opportunity as Marcus Randall missed a wide open Tiger and had to settle for a field goal to go up 24-14. The Wildcats fought back to make it 24-20 and :LSU had another opportunity to put the game away when they recovered a dropped punt and mangaed only a field goal to go up 27-20. Jared Lorenzon completed a 49 yard pass to tie it up and the Wildcats appeared to have secured victory with a short field goal with 11 seconds left. After going out of bounds on the ensuing kickoff. Randall completed a key pass to Michael Clayton at the Tiger 25 and called timeout with 2 seconds left. On the next play Randall rolled to his right and threw a long pass, which was batted by the Wildcats defenders into the waiting arms of Devery Henderson who ran in as the clock read 0:00. Fireworks were going off on the scoreboard. Coach Guy Morris had already been drenched by Gatorade and fans were rushing the field and tearing down the goal posts as the Tigers scored their miracle touchdown. With the 3 point win, new life was breathed into the Tigers, which was quickly jolted the following week against Alabama. One thing that I must say is that there must be more control of overzealous fans. Tearing down goalposts can lead to serious in injury of someone and for god's sake, THE GAME WAS STILL GOING ON WHEN FANS RUSHED THE FIELD. CRIMINAL PENALTIES SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AGAINST SUCH FANS.
2002 LSU 14 Ole Miss 13
This was a big win for two reasons. 1. It kept LSU in the SEC West race, which they would lose to Arkansas the following week in a heartbreaking fashion. 2. It broke a 3 game Death Valley losing streak to the Ole Miss Rebels, which has now become a real rivalry again. It also played a part in why LSU is today in the Cotton Bowl.
Ole Miss picked up where they left off in the 2001 game. Eli Manning lead the Rebels to a 10-0 lead, but LSU drove the length of the field to cut the lead to 10-7, but lost Devrey Henderson with a broken wrist as he caught the touchdown pass. Ole Miss added a field goal to go up 13-7 after LSU Fumbled to the Rebels. The defense bailed the Tigers out many times that night. With about 7 minutes to go LSU intercepted an Eli Manning pass as the Rebels were going in for the clinching score. Marcus Randall drove the Tigers for the go ahead touchdown on a pass to Michael Clayton. Corbello added the PAT to put the Tigers up by a point. Corey Webster made a huge interception to stymie one Rebel drive and the Tigers stopped the Rebels on a last play hook and lateral play. Marcus Randall came up big in this game and would also play well in the 21-20 loss the following week to Arakansas in Little Rock. The future bodes well for LSU at the Quarterback position with two experienced QB's in Mauck and Randall battling it out next Spring and the bevy of signal callers coming to Tigertown next season. Nick Saban and his staff did a masterful coaching job considering all of the turmoil, which befell LSU in 2002. Look for LSU to play a whale of a game against Texas in the Cotton Bowl. A win would be sweet and help recruiting efforts in the Lone Star State. Regardless of what happens on new Year's Day, look for big things in Tiger town in 2003!!!
2003 LSU 17 Georgia 10
It goes without saying that this game would be a classic and it lived up to its billing. In post game analysis, the ESPN Game Day Crew felt that Georgia was the better team and that the Bulldogs had blown a number of opportunities, but LSU also did. LSU took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, but Matt Mauck missed a wide open Skyler Green around the 15 yard line. Georgia would hit a field goal and miss 2 more in the first half. LSU finally got untracked when Shyrone Carey went in from around 20 yards out to put LSU up 7-3. LSU added a field goal and Georgia missed another. Georgia dominated field position in the first half, while LSU got the better of it in the second half. LSU was marching for the clinching score and Matt Mauck had a first down, but fumbled after picking up a first down. Georgia would capitalize when David Greene would complete a 93 yard screen pass to Tyler Browning to tie up the game at 10-10. Tiger Stadium fell quiet, but you could here the strains of LSU, LSU, LSU as the kickoff approached. Devrey Henderson made a big return to get the Tigers to the Mid field. Facing 3rd and 10 from the 34 yard line, Matt Mauck hit Skyler Green on a busted route for a touchdown to put the Tigers up by 7 with 1:22 left in the game. Saban would have had to make a big decision whether to attempt a 51 yard field goal or go for it on 4th down had the pass not been completed. Thankfully he didn't have to make that choice. Georgia was not finished as they marched back down the field, but Corey Webster put the game away with a leaping interception and the Tigers ran out the clock. One felt that these two teams were destined to meet again on the first Saturday in December for the SEC Title Game in Atlanta.
2003 LSU 31 Auburn 7
All week long the media pundits felt like this Auburn team was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Trev Alberts and Kirk Herbstreet, both ESPN analysts felt that Auburn would win this game easily. LSU was still struggling for national respect, but that changed as LSU dominated from start to finish. LSU took the ball and on a 3rd and 5 play, Matt Mauck lofted a 50 yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson to put the Tigers up 7-0. Auburn took the ball and actually moved it with Cadillac Williams picking up a first down on a risky 4th and 1 call from their own 29 yard line. Auburn was not so lucky the next time as Williams was stuffed on a 4th and 1 from midfield. LSU took advantage and Mauck connected with Clayton for touchdown from 20 yards out to make it 14-0. Skyler Green had great return and LSU scored as Alley Brousssard dragged in defenders on two runs from 20 + yards out and LSU lead 21-0 with time still in the first quarter and you could here the sound of the ESPN experts eating crow. LSU had two great chances to add points, but mistakes and missed field goals hurt them in the 2nd quarter. LSU did what good teams do to start the 2nd half as they forced Auburn to go 3 and out and LSU took the ball and drove down and added a field goal to make the score 24-0 and a touchdown pass later to put them up 31-0. Auburn scored a meaningless touchdown to make the score 31-7 with 6 minutes left but LSU took the ball and controlled the last 6 minutes of the clock. LSU once again could have won by much more, but Auburn's Tigers left the field knowing they were soundly whipped. Auburn was a shell of itself for the rest of the year.
2003 LSU 17 Ole Miss 14
There was a time that LSU would lose close games like this one, especially when you think of the magic that Archie Manning weaved over LSU in 1968 (27-24) and 1969 (26-23). This day would eventually belong to LSU, but not without some anxious moments. Ole Miss jumped out to a 7-0 lead when Matt Mauck threw an ill advised pass near his own goal line and the Rebels returned for a touchdown. I can remember when Josh Booty did the same thing against Arkansas 3 years earlier in Little Rock and the Tigers never recovered and lost a chance for a Cotton Bowl invite that year in a14-3 loss. This time LSU responded and LSU drove down the field to kick a big field goal to make 7-3 Ole Miss. There was an anxious moment on that drive as Michael Clayton used his marvelous athletic talent to break up an interception and make a key catch to keep the drive alive. LSU then got big score before the half to take the lead at 10-7. Justin Vincent ran the ball for a big 44 yard gain and Mauck completed a bubble screen to Michael Clayton for a 15 yard touchdown. The 3rd quarter had some anxious moments as Mauck threw an interception, but Corey Webster got it back for the Tigers. LSU missed a golded opportunity to go up 17-7 when Mauck locked in on Michael Clayton and did not throw to a wide open Devery Henderson. The next time they had that opportunity Mauck did not pass it up as he hit Henderson for a 50 yard TD to put the Tigers up 17-7 as the 4th Quarter began. LSU had a chance to put the game away as they appeared to have stopped Ole Miss on 3rd down and were going to force a punt, but were guilty of defensive holding giving the Rebels new life. EIi Manning took advantage of that and completed a long pass and another one for a touchdown to bring the Rebels within 3 points. LSU did noting with the ball and were forced to punt. Manning completed some key passes to get the Rebels to the LSU 20. LSU held and forced a field goal attempt, which went wide. LSU then could not get a clinching first down and gave Ole Miss another chance. Jack Hunt made a game saving hit to jar the ball loose from an Ole Miss defender on second down play and Corey Webster almost had a clinching interception, which he may have returned for a touchdown had he gotten. On the next play Chad Lavalais forced an Ole Miss blocker to cause Eli Manning to trip and LSU had the ball with 1:48 left in the game. LSU was unable to run out the clock and Ole Miss had one hail Mary which LSU knocked down to end the game. Every one was exhausted after this one. One thing that disturbed me after this game was the number of complaints by LSU fans about the way LSU played in this game. I called the radio program and reminded them LSU had won the game against the 15th ranked team in the Nation on their field and had secured a 10 win season and were likely on their way to the SEC Title Game. Also LSU had ended the Manning magic against them. An individual that I know was worried that LSU would lose to Arkansas, but I predicted LSU would win by 3 touchdowns the next week. He said that I am usually correct, but even I would be proven to be wrong after the game.
2003 LSU 55 Arkansas 24
Ok I was wrong. LSU did not win this game by 3 touchdowns. They won by 4 and a field goal. It started out close. Arkansas got a quick touchdown on a touchdown pass that covered 53 yards from Matt Jones to Decori Birmingham. That same duo paired up for the winning touchdown in last year's gut wrenching 21-20 defeat in Litte Rock. LSU responded by driving down and getting a field goal to make it 7-3, but missed some golden opportunities with ill conceived penalties, but they found a new weapon in Chris Jackson with some timely field goals. He made a big one the week before. LSU did not have to wait long as they forced a fumble and returned it for a touchdown to go up 10-7. Arkansas responded to tie the game with field goal at 10-10. LSU then drove down and got a 7 yard touchdown pass from Mauck to Michael Clayton to go up 17-10, but that was short lived as Arkansas took two plays to make it 17-17 as Cedric Cobbs ran for 61 yards on the first play after the kickoff and the next 19 on the following play. LSU responded and drove down to the Arkansas 9 yard line but fumbled and it looked like one of those nail biter LSU/Arkansas games, but LSU held and forced an Arkansas punt. The punter fumbled the snap and LSU was in business at the Razorback 9 yard line. Matt Mauck completed a key 3rd down touchdown pass to Skyler Green to put the Tigers up 24-17. The Tigers held and drove down and stalled, but Chris Jackson responded with 47 yard field goal to make it 27-17. Corey Webster made a big interception and Matt Mauck made the Razorback pay with a 22 yard touchdown pass to Devery Henderson to put the Tigers up 34-17 at intermission. The Tigers continued the onslaught with a touchdown pass to David Jones to make it 41-17 and a touchdown run by Justin Vincent another to make it 55-17 after 3 quarters. As is customay, Nick Saban emptied his bench and Arkansas had meaningless touchdown and the Tigers ran out the clock for the 55-24 victory giving LSU its first 11 win season since 1958 and its first ever during the regular season. NOW THE TIGERS MUST GET READY FOR A BIG REMATCH AGAINST GEORGIA. THIS ONE WILL BE ANOTHER EPIC BATTLE. BOTH TEAMS DESERVE A BCS BOWL, BUT UNFORTUNATELY ONLY ONE WILL GET ONE.
December 6, 2003 SEC Championship Game--- Atlanta, Georgia
LSU 34 GEORGIA 13
All day long fans huddled around televisions to watch Notre Dame/Syracuse to see if the Orange from upstate New York could knock off the Fighting Irish and put a hit on USC's strength of schedule and help LSU in their quest to get into the Sugar Bowl and play for the National Championship. They would watch from motor homes at tailgate parties as The USC Trojans would play Oregon State. USC was #2 in the BCS and Tiger fans were hoping the Beavers would upset the Trojans and put LSU in the Sugar Bowl without having to worry about the results of the Boise State/Hawaii game. Tiger fans were wound up in the pre-game as the Tailgators could be heard all the way to the Georgia Dome. USC had a comfortable lead as Tiger fans walked to the Georgia Dome. This writer was among them. It was a freezing cold night in Atlanta, but fortunately the game was indoors. Both bands got the crowds riled up and it was time to kick off the game.
Georgia took the kick off and moved for a first down. As the series continued, LSU jumped over a huge snake as David Greene of the Bulldogs had a running back wide open, but it was dropped the ball. Had he caught it, it would have likely been a touchdown and the Bulldogs would have had an early lead. On their first possession, LSU marched down the field and moved into position to attempt a long field goal. The kick was blocked and Georgia had the ball deep in LSU territory. The Tigers turned back the Bulldogs on an interception and would score soon after on a long run by Justin Vincent. Chris Jackson would miss the first of two extra points, but the Tigers were up 6-0. LSU would add to the lead as they sacked the Georgia punter in the end zone for a safety to go up 8-0. LSU would dodge another bullet when they would fumble the ball deep in their own territory, but good fortune would allow the ball to bounce out of bounds. LSU would drive into Georgia territory and Matt Mauck would find a wide open Michael Clayton for touchdown to put the Tigers up 14-0 as Chris Jackson would miss another conversion. LSU opened up a 17-0 lead with a Ryan Gaudet field goal. Billy Bennett would pull Georgia to 17-3 with a 51 yard field goal before the end of the half. Georgia seized the momentum to start the second half as they intercepted a Matt Mauck pass, but the Tigers held and forced a Bulldog punt. Georgia got the ball back after a short LSU punt. Georgia moved into LSU territory where the Tigers stiffened. On a 3rd down, A Georgia Running Back dropped a screen pass that again may have ended up in a Bulldog touchdown. Billy Bennett added another field goal to make the score 17-6 LSU. LSU would take the next kick off and move for a couple of first downs only to have to punt. On Georgia's next possession, Lionel Walker picked off a David Greene pass and returned it for a touchdown to put LSU up 24-6. Georgia would respond as Jack Hunt narrowly missed a tackle on a Georgia receiver on an end around for a huge loss. The receiver ran for a huge gain and Georgia scored on the next play to go pull within 24-13. LSU took the ensuing kickoff and Matt Mauck completed two key passes to Michael Clayton and connected with Devrey Henderson to the Georgia 5 yard line. Justin Vincent would run it in as the 4th quarter began to put the Tigers up 31-13. Georgia would move quickly back down the field, but the Tigers once again stiffened and stopped Georgia deep in LSU territory. Justin Vincent broke off a long run, but was stopped around the Bulldog 30. Ryan Guadet would add a field goal for LSU's final points of the night to go up 34-13 as many Bulldog fans exited the Georgia Dome throughout the 4th quarter. Justin Vincent was named the game's Most Valuable Player as the public address announcer told Tiger fans where they could buy their SEC Championship Hats and T-Shirts. As was the case in 2001, there were only LSU fans in the Georgia Dome at game's end. One remembers the sea of Orange when LSU knocked the Vols out of the National Championship picture with a 31-20 upset to win their first SEC Title under Saban. Both Orange colors in 2001 and Red Colors in 2003 were non existent at game's end. An interesting development was taking place in Kansas City that same night. USC had easily defeated Oregon State 52-28 earlier in the day, but Kansas State was on its way to a shockingly easy victory over Top Ranked Oklahoma at 35-7 in the Big 12 Title Game. This threw the BCS into confusion. Would it be LSU and Oklahoma or would it be Oklahoma and USC or would it be LSU and USC as many media people thought it should be. Oklahoma went into their game with Kansas State with the knowledge that they did not need to win this game to make it into the Sugar Bowl, but surely USC and LSU would be #1 and #2 the next day in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. As Tiger fans celebrated, many anxiously watched the goings on in Hawaii as Boise State had slim 3 point lead over Hawaii. Boise State would win by 17 and give LSU the necessary points to pass USC in the BCS standings. LSU's case was helped as they were #2 in both polls the next morning, although this writer thought LSU merited at least #1 in one poll. At 5 pm, it was official as LSU and Oklahoma were named to meet in the BCS Title Game in the Sugar Bowl. Despite USC's protests, it was the Tigers and Sooners to meet in the Big Game. The state of Louisiana would be thrown into to frenzy for the next month as people scrambled for tickets, which would become the most difficult to acquire in Louisiana sports history. This writer would be fortunate to win the Ticket Lottery and get 2 tickets to the Sugar Bowl Game.
Sugar Bowl January 4, 2004 New Orleans---BCS National Championship Game
LSU 21 Oklahoma 14
THE 1958 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS HAVE COMPANY!!! This team of destiny would win a classic match up of two great defensive teams--LSU and Oklahoma. The atmosphere was electric as the game neared. 79,000 + fans would attend this game and a good 200,000 would tailgate outside the Super Dome. LSU had not experienced this in 45 years. Oklahoma had great tradition and 7 National Titles to boot. OU was a 6 1/2 point favorite at the game's beginning. This game had generated much controversy as #1 ranked USC in both human polls was denied a place in this game. Howls of protest eminated from Los Angeles, but the Trojans were operating under the same rules as all of the other teams. Curiously USC was 11-1, while LSU and Oklahoma were both 12-1. They were the media's darlings, but LSU was every bit as good as the Trojans. It was too bad LSU could not match up with them, just to shut up the media and the Trojan fans. I would not be. USC had dismantled Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl. LSU would try to win their part of the National Title that night. Many media experts predicted an Oklahoma victory. Then the game began.
Justin Vincent took the ball on the game's first play and rambled for 64 yards. Derrick Strait caught Vincent at the 16 yard line. LSU would move to the 3 yard line, but Matt Mauck would pull out too early on the snap and the Tigers would turn the ball over inside the 3 yard line. Jason White would give the ball right back to the Tigers as Corey Webster intercepted his first attempt and returned it to the OU 35. Skyler Green would take an end around a few plays later to give LSU a 7-0 lead. The teams exchanged punts until with LSU out of timeouts midway through the 1st half, OU blocked a Donnie Jones, which gave the Sooners the ball LSU's 2 yard line. The Tiger's forced the Sooners to go 4 plays to tie up the game. L:SU responded with an 80 yard drive on 2 key passes to Michael Clayton. Justin Vincent would run it in to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead and the Tigers were moving again at the end of the half, but a completion from Mauck to Joseph Aaddai was nullified by a holding penalty. As the teams exited the field for half time a visibly upset Bob Stoops of OU hastily answered a TV Reporter's question. LSU opened the half with a Marcus Spears interception return for a touchdown and 21-7 LSU lead. LSU tackled Mark Clayton deep in Sooner territory on the ensuing kickoff. Travis Daniels narrowly missed intercepting a Jason White pass, which would have meant another touchdown. The Tigers forced a Sooner punt and had the ball in OU territory. Mauck hit Skyler Green over the middle and Green appeared headed for a touchdown but an OU defender pulled him down at the 5. OU backed the Tigers up and forced a field goal attempt. Ryan Gaudet apparently made a 28 yard field goal, but a curiois series of penalties backed the Tigers up. Officials detected a holding call against the Tigers and a hands to the face. The points were taken off the board. LSU would fake a field goal and David Jones almost took it in for a touchdown. The Sooners took over from their own 6 and quickly punted to the Tigers. Skyler Green almost returned the kick for touchdown. LSU appeared to be ready to put the Sooners away, but Matt Mauck threw an ill timed interception, which the Sooners returned to the LSU 32. It appeared the Tigers had stopped the Sooners, but Jason White found Mark Clayton on 4th and 10 inside the LSU 15 yard line. OU would score a few plays later to pull within 21-14. The drama wasn't over as LSU's offense went no where and OU would move inside the LSU 15, but the Tigers tipped away a 4th down pass, which almost ended up in Mark Clayton's hands. OU would get the ball one more time, but the Tigers would end Sooner hopes with a sack of Jason White on a 4th down. LSU did not run out the clock and Donnie Jones stood around mid field to punt with 9 seconds left. He got off the punt and the clock ticked out as the time wound down and the celebration began. The Tigers were National Champions!!!! The usual suspects in teh Media still felt USC may be #1, but none of us will know as the two teams would not play. This writer feels LSU would beat USC if the two teams had played, but we will never know. The celebration on Canal and the French Quarter lasted until the wee hours of the morning. The week would get better for LSU as 5 star recruits Luke Sanders of West Monroe and Early Doucet of St.Martinville would commit to LSU and Nick Saban reaffirmed his desire on Saturday, January 10, 2003 to continue his quest for dominance at LSU and sign a long term contract. THE ADT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY WAS ON DISPLAY AT LSU'S BASKETBALL GAME WITH ALABAMA. HOPEFULLY THIS IS THE SIGN OF MORE TO COME.
September 4, 2004, Baton Rouge, LA – LSU 22 Oregon State 21
It was Labor Day Weekend, 2004. Tiger Stadium was abuzz as LSU was playing it's first game since winning the 2003 BCS National Championship the previous January in New Orleans with a scintillating 21-14 victory over Oklahoma in the 2004 Nokia Sugar Bowl. The Banners had been unfurled at the Spring Game in April. It was actually a very hot day. A few minutes before kickoff, a thunderstorm passed through Baton Rouge. It soaked the field and proved to slow down the Tigers. Skyler Green took the opening kickoff and fumbled it. Oregon State recovered and quickly took a 6-0 lead. They missed the extra point, which would prove to be a harbinger of things to come. LSU was out of synche. They would drop an interception, which would have been a sure touchdown in the first half. LSU went down 9-0 at halftime, which precipitated a switch from Marcuss Randall to Redshirt Freshman, Jarmarcuss Russell to begin the 2nd half. Midway through the 3rd quarter, LSU scored a touchdown to pull to within 9-7, but Oregon State came right back after LSU failed to make a tackle on a 3rd down pass. The Beavers went up 15-7, but yet again missed an extra point. LSU drove inside the 5 late in the 4th quarter, but Jamarcuss Russell would overthrow a wide open Skyler Green on 4th down as Green would reinjure a sprained ankle from the pre-season. All appeared lost, but LSU would stop Oregon State on key 3rd down. Out of timeouts from midfield, Jamarcuss Russell hit a streaking Dwayne Bowe over the middle who then took it to the endzone to make the score 15-13. Russell ran in from the 3 for two points and tie score at 15. The game went to overtime. LSU got the ball first. Marcuss Randall would score on quarterback draw to put the Tigers up 22-15. Oregon State got the ball and would complete 3rd pass for a touchdown. The game was poised to go to a second overtime, but a funny thing happened. Oregon State would miss their 3rd consecutive extra point, and LSU would have an unusual 22-21 victory.
October 9, 2004, Gainesville, Fla. – LSU 24 Florida 21
LSU was 3-2 at the time. With losses to Auburn 10-9 and Georgia 45-16, the defending BCS National Champions were out of the National Championship race, the race for the SEC Title, and BCS Bowl consideration. They were now playing for pride. Florida was impressive in the early going. They had lost a last second contest in Knoxville to Tennessee, 30-28. Florida was a touchdown favorite over the Tigers. Jamarcuss Russell got the start, but imploded early in the game by throwing two interceptions leading to two quick scores and 14-0 Florida lead. Marcuss Randall took over and got LSU to 14-7 by the half, but the Gators would open a 21-7 lead in the 3rd quarter. LSU responded with a touchdown to pull to within 21-14 and would add a field goal early in the 4th quarter to get to 21-17. LSU drove down and would miss a field goal. Things looked bleak for the Tigers, but the defense would come up with a key 3rd down stop on Chris Leak just short of a first down forcing a Florida punt. From midfield LSU went to work. Marcuss Randall drove the Tigers down the field. Randall completed to 3rd down pass to Joseph Aadai who took it in from 4 yards out with 27 seconds left in the game giving LSU an exciting 24-21 come from behind victory. Coach Nick Saban was hoarse in the post game interview for ESPN. This streak would go on for the rest of the season as LSU would win 3 more close games the rest of the way.
November 13, 2004, Baton Rouge, La. – LSU 26 Alabama 10
At first glance, this did not seem like a stellar win because Alabama would finish the year 6-6 with a loss to Minnesota in the Music City Bowl, but it was still the Crimson Tide and LSU did not beat Alabama often in Tiger Stadium. They had bested the Tide 30-28 in 2000 on CBS TV, but were shellacked two years later in the same venue 31-0. Alabama was 6-3 coming into Tiger Stadium. Brodie Croyle was out with an injured knee, but the Tide was ready as they took 7-0 lead on a Kenneth Darby touchdown. The Tide controlled much of the first half as LSU would kick a field goal for a 7-3 Bama lead at the break. In the 3rd quarter, the teams traded field goals as the TIde lead 10-6 late in the 3rd quarter. The key play in the game would come when Corey Webster came up with an end zone interception and a return to midfield. It was controversial as many thought Webster would interfere with the Alabama receiever, but it went uncalled. LSU would add a touchdown for a 13-10 lead, and then Joseph Aadai capped things off with two long touchdowns of about 50 yards, one a reception and the other a run to close out the scoring for a 16 point win. This was a game where the final score did not indicate how close the game really was.
Novemeber 26, 2004, Little Rock, Arkansas – LSU 43 Arkansas 14
The War Memorial jinx was over!!! LSU had lost 3 in a row in Little Rock. The most recent was that painful 21-20 last second loss that kept LSU out of the 2002 SEC Title Game. This was also, though we did not know it at the time, Nick Saban last regular season game as a Tiger Head Coach and his last win at LSU. With a Capital One Bowl bid on the line, the Tigers struck first with a Randall to Joseph Aadai touchdown pass and a quick 7-0 lead. Arkansas ran the ensuing kickoff deep in to LSU territory and quickly tied the score. The Tigers struck back with a toucdown pass and field goal for a 17-7 lead, but the Razorbacks inched closer to 17-14. LSU responded with 10 points and a 27-14 halftime lead. There would be no collapse this time as Marcuss Randall would lead LSU to 16 more points in the second half and 43-14 win. LSU would finish the season 9-2 and earn a birth in the Capital One Bowl against Iowa. The game would become secondary as Nick Saban would accept a $5million offer to become the Miami Dolphins head coach after the Capital One Bowl, which LSU would lose 30-25 on the game's final play as Drew Tate would complete a long pass over an out of position defensive back. That would keep Saban from going out with a win in his final game and cost LSU a 10 win season and Top Ten ranking. The Saban era was officially over and LSU would welcome Les Miles as their next coach.
September 10, 2005, Tempe, Arizona – LSU 35 Arizona State 31
This was originally scheduled for Tiger Stadium as the second game of the season, but on August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina ravaged southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi. The devastation was unfathomable. Levees broke in New Orleans leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless. Many had evacuated to Baton Rouge postoning the first game against North Texas and forcing the LSU-Arizona State game to be moved to Tempe, Arizona. The football game was secondary to the suffering of many Louisianians and Mississippians. Money from this game would be donated to the Katrina Relief Fund.
The game had many turns and twists. Chris Jackson would fake a punt out his own end zone. LSU would get a first down. LSU would drive more than 90 yards early in the game only to have the ball slip out of Jamarcuss Russell's hands and be recovered by Arizona State. The Sun Devils would drive the length of the field to take a 7-0 lead. LSU would tie the score up, but ASU would score 10 points to take a 17-7 lead into the 3rd quarter. They threatened to extend the lead, but Mario Stevenson would return a blocked field goal more than 60 yards for a touchdown to pull the Tigers within 17-14.
On the next series. Craig Steltz would return a blocked punt 45 yards to give the Tigers a 21-17 lead, but the Sun Devils came back to go up 24-21, but Joseph Aadai socred to put the Tigers back up 28-24. Sam Kelleher passed the Sun Devils back to a 31-28 lead, but Jamarcuss Russell completed a 4th and 10 pass to put the Tigers up 35-31 with 1:22 left in the game, but the fun wasn't over as the Sam Kelleher passed the Sun Devils down the field, but the LSU defense held on 4 downs to win a wild one. It was victory for all Louisianians as the Tigers prepared to come home for their opener.
October 15, 2005, Baton Rouge, LA – LSU 21 Florida 17
LSU was ranked 10th and Florida 11th as these two perrennial SEC powers met in Tiger Stadium for a 2:30 pm game on CBS TV. LSU got out the gate quickly on a long touchdown pass from Jamarcuss Russell to Bennie Brazell. The Tigers scored again in the 1st quarter on a 28 yard Russell to Dwane Bowe touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 14-0. Just when it looked like LSU would pull away, Joseph Aadai fumbled the ball on his 40 yard line and DeShuan Wynne would run 40 yards for a touchdown to pull the Gators to 14-7. The Gators added a field goal before the half and took the lead in the 3rd quarter off of one of the 5 turnovers LSU had in the game. LSU came back and took the lead on 3 yard Joseph Aadai touchdown. LSU would try to help Florida, but the Tiger defense bailed LSU out and the Tigers held on for a big 4 point win.
October 22, 2005, Baton Rouge, LA – LSU 20 Auburn 17
This game was a classic by any stretch of the imagination. There were many twists and turns in this slugfest between the last two SEC Champions. LSU got on the board first with 60 yard Skyler Green punt return for a touchdown. The War Eagles kicked a field goal in the 2nd quarter to make the score 7-3 at the half. Gerald Irons ripped off a 77 yard touchdown run the put Auburn up 10-7 early in the 3rd quarter. The Tigers would come back and take a 14-10 lead on a Jamarcuss Russell to Dwane Bowe connection. LSU had a chance to put some distance between itself and Auburn, but Dwane Bowe dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone, which would have put LSU by two scores. To make matter worse, Colt David would miss a chip shot field goal. Given new life, Auburn drove down the field and Brandon Cox would complete a 4th down touchdown pass to Anthony Mix to put Auburn up 17-14 with about 5 minutes to go in the game. LSU took the ensuing kick off and drove down the field. Jamarcuss Russell would narrowly miss Dwane Bowe at the goal line, so Chris Jackson came in and made a clutch 44 yard field goal. Auburn drove down the field and would miss 49 yard field goal at the end of regulation play. LSU made a field goal in overtime. Auburn would go 3 downs and fail to make a 1st down. A field goal attempt would hit the right upright and LSU would have a scintillating 20-17 victory.
November 12, 2005, Tuscaloosa, Ala. – LSU 16 Alabama 13
This was for control of the Western Division of the SEC. ESPN Gameday televised their show from Tuscaloosa. Alabama was ranked #3 and LSU #5. It was the headline game in the nation. It did not start out well for the Tigers as the Tide would get a field goal and touchdown pass to lead 10-0 at the half. The 9-0 Tide had BCS rankings and a possible Rose Bowl on their mind. At the half Kyle Williams, senior defensive lineman gave a passionate speech about how much better the Tigers were. Out of the locker room, LSU drove 80 yards and scored a touchdown on 1 yard 4th run by Justin Vincent to pull to within 3. The Tigers got the ball back, and tied the score on a 42 yard Chris Jackson field goal. The rest of the game was defensive struggle as LSU missed two field goals in the 4th quarter. Alabama would get to the LSU 10 yard line on the game's final play on a throw to Kenneth Darby out of the backfield. LSU would win the toss and choose to go on defense in overtime. They held the Tide to a field goal in overtime. LSU got the ball and Russell hit Justin Vincent on a flair pass out of the backfield for a 10 yard gain to the Bama 15. 3 plays later on 3rd and 6 Jamarcuss Russell rolled to his left and back to his right and hit a streaking Dwane Bowe in the end zone for the game winner at 16-13 as the Bama faithful sat in stunned silence. There was great joy in Red Stick as the Tigers prepared to come home after a huge win.
Dec. 30, 2005--Chick Fil A Peach Bowl--LSU 40 Miami 3
LSU was coming off of a very dissappointing loss in the SEC Championship Game to Georgia, 34-14. In the game Jamarcuss Russell separated his shoulder and would not be available for this game. The Tigers went in to the game with only one healthy quarterback, Matt Flynn. Ryan Perrilloux was a redshirt, and Les Miles did not dare plan to use up a year or eligibility on a Non-BCS bowl game. LSU had played in one of the most trying seasons in their history. The 2005 season was first interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. Katrina hit New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and Mobile, Alabama with devastating intensity. It forever changed the lives of the residents of those areas. Football was an afterthought compared to the heartache many suffered at that time and still suffer today. LSU had to move their opener against North Texas to October 29 and the second home game against Arizona State to Tempe the week of the game. The Tigers won a pulsating 35-31 victory over the Sun Devils on September 10th in the desert, and prepared to play their first home game against Tennessee on September 24. ESPN’s Game Day was scheduled to broadcast their show from The LSU campus on that day, but along came Hurricane Rita, and the game was moved to Monday night, September 26, 2005. LSU would jump out to a 21-0 lead, but ran out of gas in the 2nd half and lost in overtime by a score of 30-27. They had to turn around and play Mississippi State 5 days later, but the TIgers righted the ship with a 37-7 win. They would go on to beat Vanderbilt, 34-6 in Nashville. The Bayou Bengals came back to Tiger Stadium and followed with wins over Florida 21-17, Auburn 20-17 in overtime, North Texas 56-3, and Appalaichain State 24-0. They went on the road and beat undefeated Alabama 16-13 in an overtime classic. The TIgers moved to #3 in the rankings and #4 in the BCS with a 40-7 shellacking of Ole Miss in Oxford. They survived a 19-17 thriller in Tiger Stadium over Arkansas to wrap up their 3rd SEC Western Division Title in 5 years. The lack of an open date and the stress of the season as well as injuries caught up to LSU on the first Saturday in December. With faint hopes of a trip to Rose Bowl to play either USC or Texas, LSU took the field only to be whipped by Georgia as the Dawgs won their second SEC title of the 21st century to match LSU’s total. FLORIDA MATCHED BOTH THIS YEAR WITH THEIR WIN OVER ARKANSAS IN THIS YEAR’S TITLE GAME, 31-21.
Injuries to Jesse Daniels, Joseph Aadai, Early Doucet, and Jamarcuss Russell proved to be too much to overcome for LSU along with other assorted bumps and bruises. Dissappointment peremeated from TIger fans as they were slotted to play in the Peach Bowl. This would be the first time in 5 years they would not be in an after New Year’s Bowl. It was unusual because Florida, who LSU beat, was selected to play in the Outback Bowl; Alabama, who LSU beat, was selected to play in the Cotton Bowl; and Auburn, who LSU beat, was selected to play in the Capital One Bowl. Tiger fans did forget that LSU was chosen over the previous year’s SEC Title Game loser, Tennessee, for the Capital One Bowl, and in 2002 were selected over the Title Game loser, Arkansas who beat LSU 21-20 that year, for the Cotton Bowl. Many felt the game meant nothing, and predicted a blow out by the Hurricanes over the Tigers. They were sadly mistaken. The game pitted #9 Miami against #10 LSU. It gave LSU a chance to redeem itself and finish in the Top 10. The game was a blow out, they were right about that, but they picked the wrong team. The esteemed Baton Rouge Morning Advocate predicted a 17-6 win for the Hurricanes. How wrong can so many people be. LSU had one of their greatest bowl game performances. They completely dominated the Hurricanes in front of a National Television audience.
Miami struck first with a short field goal. LSU countered with one of their own to tie the score at 3-3. The Tigers stuffed the Hurricanes on a 4th down play. Shortly thereafter, Matt Flynn connected on a long pass play to Craig Davis and the rout was on. The Tigers added a field goal and touchdown pass from Flynn to Joseph Aadai for a 20-3 lead. They opened the second half with a touchdown and scored another quickly t o go up 34-3. They added to two field goals for a 40-3 victory. The game was not as close as the score indicated. Miami woud get less than 10 yards total offense in the second half. The Hurricanes would limp to a 6-6 in 2006. After the game, Larry Coker fired 3 to 4 assisstants. This year Coker was let go. LSU may have drived a stake to the heart of the Hurricane program that they may never recover from. LSU also showed the rest of the country what might have been had they been on all cylinders during the 2005 season. It is remarkable they were 11-2 and finished ranked 5th at season’s end. Les Miles and his staff did a superb job. The men’s and women’s basketball teams would also finish in the Top 5 with their Final Four appearances. Joseph Aadai’s stock improved where he was selected in the first round by the Indianappolis Patriots where he has become an integral part of their offense. LSU fans took comfort in the fact they had 3 capable quarterbacks in Russell, Flynn, and Ryan Perrilloux. Tiger fans were excited as the 2006 season approached.
November 4, 2006, LSU 28 Tennessee 24, Knoxville, Tennessee
In the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wants to go back to Kansas and clicks her heals together, and says “There’s no place like home, There’s no place like home”. Up to this point, that was the theme of the 2006 version of the LSU Fighting Tigers. LSU was flawless at home, but was another team on the road. LSU opened the season with 45-3 wins over UL-Lafayette and Arizona, but lost a heartbreaker on the plains of Auburn to the War Eagles 7-3 as a Jarmarcuss Russell pass to Craig Davis ended up 5 yards short of paydirt. The Tigers would come back home and rout Tulane 49-7 and Mississippi State 48-17. Another trip netted a 23-10 self destruction to Florida in Gainesville. The Tigers were in gift-giving mood as they fumbled a punt to lead to a Gator score after they had gone up early 7-0. The generosity did not stop t here as LSU was about to take a 14-7 lead. Craig Davis even scored on a pass play from Jamarcuss Russell, but Brett Helms was guilty of a questionable holding call to wipe out the score. Jacob Hester appeared to score after that, but replays overturned that and placed the ball on the one yard line where Jarmarcuss Russell and his center mishandled the snap at the Gator one yard line. The Gators took over and would score a touchdown before the half to take a 14-7 lead. Early Doucet would fumble the opening kickoff of the 2nd half and be tackled for a safety. Florida would take the ensuing kickoff and before you could say Urban Meyer, Florida’s coach, LSU was behind 23-7. LSU woud add a field goal and miss a couple of scoring opportunities to leave Ben Hill Griffin Stadium wondering what might have been. As was the case against Auburn, LSU was the better team, but sported a 4-2 record. They would bounce back with an impressive 49-0 shellacking of the Kentucky Wildcats and a 38-6 win in a virtual monsoon against Fresno to improve to 6-2. After a week off, they journeyed to Knoxville, Tennessee to face the 8th ranked 8-1. Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee had one loss, a 21-20 squeaker to Florida in Knoxville.
LSU was looking for a signature win, and Knoxville looked like a good place to get it. Erik Ange, starting Vol Quarterback, was hampered by a sprained ankle. LSU went into the game as a 2 point favorite. LSU struck first on a Jamarcuss Russell to Craig Davis touchdown pass. LSU had a chance to go up by more, but a controversial no call on what appeared to be a muffed Vol punt inside the Tennessee 5 yard line was not overturned by replays. LSU had not much luck on this so far this year. Replays at Auburn and Florida failed to go their way, and each had a profound impact on the outcomes of both games. Tiger fans hoped this replay ruling would not derail them again. Instead of leading 14-0, Tennessee would come back and tie the game as Freshman Quarterback, John Crompton would lead the Vols on a long drive, which culminated with a touchdown pass to Robert Meachem. The Vols added a field goal to lead 10-7 at the half. Disaster struck quickly for the Tigers as the 2nd half began. Jamarcuss Russell would be intercepted on the first play of the half, and before one could say Rocky Top, Tennessee was up 17-7. These Tigers did not fold. They took the ensuing kick off and marched down the field and pulled within 3 points on a Russell to Dwayne Bowe touchdown pass. Later in the quarter, Freshman, Kieland Williams scored from 5 yards out to put the Tigers up 21-17. LSU threatened to go up by more, but an interception and fumbled snuffed out Tiger drives. Tennessee went up again, 24-21 on Crompton to Meachem 49 yard touchdown pass with 7 minutes left in the game. LSU took the next kick off and Jamarcuss Russell drove the Tigers down the field. He completed a key 4th down pass to Early Doucet, and moved them to the 5 with seconds left in the game. On 3rd down, he spotted Dwayne Bowe in the end, but Early Doucet cut in front and caught the game winner instead with 9 seconds left. With the Tigers 28-24, Tennessee would take the ensuing kickoff and strangely get off 2 plays in that short amount of time even with the new clock rules. But it was still a classic Tiger win as they came home to face Alabama.
LSU 28 Alabama 14, November 11, 2006, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
Why is it when LSU beats Alabama, it is considered a great win? Because they are Alabama, and it marked the 4th year in a row LSU has done so. Auburn has done it 5 years in a row and both have won 6 of the last 7 against the Crimson Tide, but it is still signifiicant. Tennessee beat Bama 7 straight times from 1995 to 2001 and since 2003, they have beaten the Tide 3 out of 4 times, and if you count all the games the Vols and Tide have played, Tennessee has won 10 out of 12 against the Red Elephants. Oh. how the mighty have fallen. But beware Vols, War Eagles and Tigers, one day the worm may turn and we will hear the strains of Yea Alabama! blaring in our ears as the Tide chalks up win after win. Enjoy it now. St. Nick may make them forget about the revered Bear Bryant.
Not!!!!!!!!! Just seeing if you’re paying attention.
LSU jumped out to two quick scores in the 1st quarter for a 14-0 lead, but the Tide struck back and a John Parker Wilson to Kenneth Darby touchdown pass. The Tiger answered with a score, but the Tide came back to make it 21-14. Bama threatened to tie it up. They were inside the TIger 10 right before the end of the 1st half, but Daniel Francis separated a Tide ball carrier from the ball, and the Tigers went to the locker up by a touchdown. LSU drove down and went up by a score of 28-14 in the 3rd quarter on Jamarcuss Russell to Jacob Hester pass. LSU would dominate the rest of the way and kneeled down inside the Bama 10 as the final seconds of the game ticked off. The current Senior class would leave Tigertown without ever having lost to the Tide.
LSU 23 Ole Miss 20, November 18, 2006, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La.
Is it a great win beating a 4-7 Ole Miss team by 3 points? If you look at the records, no. But this win enabled LSU to do a lot of things. If they don’t win, they are not in a BCS bowl, and perhaps they are not in a after new year’s bowl. They may have folded the rest of the season.
LSU comes out very flat against Ole Miss. They score first to go up 7-0, but an uncharacteristic off sides on the kickoff forces LSU to kick off again. Instead of having the Rebels at their 20. The Ole Miss returnrer runs it back 66 yards and sets up the Rebels in beautiful field position. Ben Jarvus Green scores a few plays later making it 7-7. The Tigers have a personal foul penalty on the PAT. Ole Miss executes an onside kick. The Rebels recover. They go down and score. All of a sudden, it’s 17-7, Ole Miss. The Rebels return the second half kick past midfield. They move down and add another field goal to go up 20-7. LSU turns the ball over on downs early in the 4th quarter. LSU gets the ball back and finally scores on a Russell to Doucet touchdown. LSU gets it back and doesn’t score. They get it back one more time and on 4th down Jamarcuss Russell hits Dwayne Bowe with a touchdown pass with 14 seconds left to tie it at 20. All LSU has to do is kick the PAT and the game is their’s. It is blocked. Over time. Ole Miss gets the ball first in overtime. LSU sacks the QB and recovers the ball. The Tigers move down and Colt David atones and hits the game winning field goal. It was not a great game, but a great win because of what came after it, and had it not happened, LSU would not have accomplished what they did at season’s end, which was The Sugar Bowl win and the Top 5 Finish in The BCS.
LSU 31 Arkansas 26, November 24, 2006, War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock, Arkansas.
In one of the classic games of the 2006 season, LSU and surprising Arkansas entertained a crowd of 50,000 + and CBS TV audience. The Razorbacks, coached by Houston Nutt, 2006 SEC Coach of the Year, and lead by star running backs, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, staged a clinic on how to run the football. McFadden ran for an 80 yard touchdown, and Jones rambled off a long run early in the game, but the Tigers had enough offense of their own. Keiland Williams scored LSU’s first touchdown, and Craig Davis caught a touchdown pass from Jamarcuss Russell. Dwayne Bowe caught another touchdown pass from Russell and Trindon Hollaway returned a kickoff 90 yards. It was a pulsating game with much excitement. It was one that would go down to final moments.
Arkansas was 10-1 coming into the game. They were coming off of a 4-7 season. In 2004, the Razorbacks were 5-6, so the heat was on Houston Nutt. Arkansas started the year with a 50-14 loss to USC, but Darren MCFadden did not play in that game, and the quarterback situation was unsettled. The Hogs reeled off 10 straight wins, beating teams such as Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, etc. They were ranked as high as 5th in the country. By the time the Tigers and the Razorbacks met, Arkansas had already wrapped up the Western Division and were getting ready for a date with the Florida Gators in the 2006 SEC Title Game in Atlanta. Little Rock was at a fever pitch for the day after Thanksgiving as the nation watched.
Arkansas jumped out to a 6-0 lead early, but the Tigers struck back on a Keiland Williams 25 yard touchdown run. Jamarcuss Russell hit Craig Davis with a touchdown pass to put the Tigers up 14-6, but back came the Razorbacks as Casey Dick found Marcus Monk on a 4th down touchdown pass to pull the Hogs within two at the half.
The CBS crew talked about the Alabama coaching situation at halftime and that it was important that they give Mike Shula another year because he had talent coming back and that he had inherited a mess at Alabama when he took over in 2003. The crew included Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, and Archie Manning. They also mentioned that it would be a very exciting second half. They weren’t wrong on that or the Alabama coaching situation.
LSU started the second half with a very important field goal to put the Tigers up 17-12. Arkansas drove into to Tiger territory, but LSU’s defense stiffened and turned back the Hogs. LSU drove and Russell connected with Dwayne Bowe to put LSU up 24-12. Arkansas struck back with an 80 yard Darren McFadden touchdown run. Just like that, Trindon Holliday returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to put the Tigers back up 31-19. But Arkansas returned the next kickoff 62 yards. The Razorbacks quickly scored to make it 31-26. The teams exchanged punts. LSU tried to run out the clock, but had to punt. Arkansas was out of timeouts, and tried 4 consecutive pass plays, completing none. LSU was able to run out the clock. They earned a hard fought win. By the end of the week, they were ranked 5th in the BCS. There was talk of the Tigers going to the Rose Bowl, but that was before USC was shocked by UCLA the next week, and Florida would jump over Michigan to end up in the National Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona. The Gators would beat the Hogs 31-21 the following week in the SEC Title Game. This would send LSU to the 2007 Sugar Bowl for a date with Notre Dame
LSU 41 Notre Dame 14, Sugar Bowl, January 3, 2007, New Orleans, Louisiana
This wasn’t the Rose Bowl, but it was usually the best thing for Tiger fans, which is the Sugar Bowl. Most of the time it meant winning the SEC Title, but this was a different year. On the first Saturday in December, USC, which appeared headed for a National Championship match up with Ohio State, was shocked by their crosstown rivals, the UCLA Bruins, 13-9. It denied the Trojans a shot at their 2nd outright National Title in 4 years. If you listen to many pundits it would have been a 3rd National Title in 4 years. Some refuse to give credit to LSU’s BCS National Title in 2003. USC was great that year, but so was LSU and both were deserving. We will never know who would have won between the two, but LSU would have enjoyed a huge advantage in the Superdome as would the Trojans if the game would’ve been played in Pasedena.
When Florida defeated Arkansas for the SEC Title, it opened the door for the Gators to vault past the Michigan Wolverines into the BCS Title Game in Glendale, Arizona. Many Big 10 land cried foul, but later results proved their complaint meaningless. LSU appeared headed for a match with the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. Fans placed orders for 42,000 tickets. This was before all of the events of Saturday, December 2, 2006. If Arkansas had prevailed that day, then LSU would still have played in Pasedena. It would just have been against USC instead. That would have been interesting. Things worked out for LSU to play tradtional media poster boy, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
There was much hoopla leading up to the game, but Nick “I will not be the Alabama coach” Saban agreed to the largest salary ever for a college football coach to run the Crimson Tide program on the day of the game. It conjured up memories of Paul Dietzel’s “I will never leave LSU “ pronouncements of the late 50’s and early 60’s. At least Dietzel left for the United States Military Academy, Saban left for the Dolphins and went to rival, Alabama. Dietzel would later regret his move and there are thoughts of what might have been at LSU had Dietzel coached for 15 more years in Baton Rouge. However, LSU was well served by Charlie McClendon during those years as they will be by Les Miles for many years to come. McClendon was a man of character and integrity throughout his life, Miles is the same. Saban may regret leaving LSU one day, especially on November 3rd of 2007.
I am dissappointed that Saban left the Dolphins to coach against the Tigers. I feel he may have a credibility problem for a while because of it, but things become a distant memory at time goes by, and if he wins big at the Capstone, this will fade except for Tiger fans. He went from being St. Nick to being the biggest pariah in the state of Louisiana, but let’s not forget, he did revive the program and put LSU football back on the map. For that we owe him a huge debt of gratitude. On the flip side, he was a solid coach when he came to LSU, and the situation in Baton Rouge and the talent level in Louisiana made it possible for him to succeed beyond his wildest dreams. LSU is the flagship university of Louisiana and the Bayou state produces some of the best talent nationwide. It was a great partnership for both. When we look back years from now, we will both appreciate each other more. I do believe, however, that Les Miles will enjoy great success also and will win a National Championship at LSU before he retires.
Well, they had a ball game to play, and LSU got on top early. The Tigers stopped an Irish fake punt deep in Notre Dame territory. LSU scored quickly and added another score to go up 14-0. The Irish fought back and tied the score at 14. It appeared that the Tigers had squandered a golden opportunity, but Jamarcuss Russell lead the Tigers on a scoring drive just before halftime to put them up 21-14 as Russell scored on a Quarterback draw. There was still an uneasy feeling at halftime, and it continued as the Tigers appeared to turn the ball over deep in their territory to begin the 2nd half, but a replay overturned that. It was in my opinion, the biggest play of the game. Russell drove them down the field for field goal to make it 24-14. The Bayou Bengals added another field goal to make it 27-14, but the Irish was still withing striking distance, but Russell uncorked around a 65 yard bomb to Brandon Laefell to put the Tigers up 41-21 and Keiland Williams added touchdown run to close out the scoring at 41-14. Believe me, the game was not as close as the score indicated. LSU was far superior.
LSU 48 Virginia Tech 7, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La. Sept 8, 2007
A national television audience along with 92,000 plus fans awaited the kickoff of the much anticipated match between LSU and Virginia Tech. ESPN’s Game Day had been on campus all day. There were many storylines to this game. Fresh in the mind of many was the unspeakable tragedy of last April 16, 2007 as a crazed gunman shot and killed 32 students. Louisiana was still in the throes of the carnage of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita from two years before. Louisianians joined the rest of the nation in mourning Virginia Tech’s loss. On April 16, 2007, we were all Hokies.
LSU started the fireworks off with an 87 yard drive, which was punctuated by a 28 yard shovel pass from Matt Flynn to Jacob Hester. Hester would go in from 4 yards out on the game’s next play to go up 7-0.
LSU would go 85 yards on their next drive with the highlight of the drive being a 56 yard pass completion from Flynn to Brandon Lafell. Flynn would run it from 7 yards out to put the Tigers up 14-0. There were still about 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. The Tigers were showing the nation they were deserving of the pre-season #2 ranking.
A Craig Steltz interception lead to a 30 yard Colt David field goal on the as the 2nd quarter began. LSU now lead 17-0, but they were not finished for the half. Keiland Williams electrified the crowd with an acrobatic 67yard touchdown run. He took a pitch and headed right. He hurdled a Hokie defender and outraced everyone to the end zone to put the Tigers up 24-0.
At the beginning of the 3rd quarter LSU drove 45 yards, but had to settle for a 28 yard Colt David field goal to go up 27-0. Tyrod Taylor marched Virginina Tech 65 yards with the aid of a 37 yard scramble and would score on a one yard plunge to make in 27-7 LSU. LSU responded with drive of their own. Ryan Perrilloux would come into the game, and in a change of pace move, he would fake the run and find a wide open Early Doucet to make it 34-7 Tigers.
Keiland Williams added a 34 yard touchdown to cap off another 87 yard touchdown drive and Ryan Perrilloux would hit freshman phenom, Terrance Tolliver on a 28 yard late in the game to provide LSU with a resounding 48-7 triumph over the Hokies.
This victory would pay huge dividends for LSU on BCS selection Sunday as the Tigers would leapfrog the Hokies to make it to the Title Game. The Tigers earned much national respect with this victory.
Fans eagerly awaited the rest of 2007.
LSU 28 Florida 24, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, La. October 6, 2007
For the second time this season, the ESPN Game Day crew descended upon LSU’s campus. At 5-0, LSU was ranked #1 in the AP Poll for the first time since 1959, but awaiting the Tigers was the defending National Champion Florida Gators. Florida lost the previous week to Auburn, which took some of the luster of the matchup as they dropped to #9 in the weekly rankings. LSU opened as an 8 point favorite. It was still ballyhooed by many fans as the biggest game in Tiger Stadium in the last 50 years, which is quite a claim since LSU’s game with Ole Miss on Halloween in 1959 falls into that category and many other classics have been played in Death Valley in that time frame. The buildup was big as many media credentials were given out. The teams would not dissappoint the media and the 92,000 strong who attended this game as it would go down as an all-time classic.
Florida took the opening kickoff as LSU attempted a sky-kick to avoid a long return. Starting from their 40 yard line, the Gators moved swiftly through the LSU defense to the 15 yard line. Ali Highsmith stepped in front of a Tim Tebow pass and almost had an interception on 3rd down. The Gators were on the scoreboard first with a 31 yard field goal.
Disaster almost struck in the ensuing LSU drive as when Gator conerback, Joe Haden intercepted a Matt Flynn pass that was tipped by a wide open Brandon Lafell. LSU’s defense stiffened and the Gators were forced to punt.
LSU’s offense appeared on the move on their next drive, but a dropped pass stalled their drive and they were forced to punt near their 40 yard line. Starting from its own 23, Florida went on a long drive, which culminated in a 2 yard touchdown pass from Tim Tebow to Kesthan Moore. The Gators were up 10-0 as Tiger fans were in alarm.
LSU responded on their next drive. They went 80 yards with 4 completed passes in a drive that lasted 16 plays. Ryan Perrilloux went in from a yard out on key 4th down play. LSU would convert five 4th down plays on this night. Colt David’s PAT closed the gap to 10-7 in favor of the Gators.
Florida came right back. Tim Tebow would carry the ball 6 times on a 10 play drive as he converted a 9 yard keeper against a spread out LSU defense. The PAT made the score 17-7 Gators. LSU drove right back down to the Florida 26. Flynn missed an open receive in the end zone and Colt David missed a 43 yard field goal as time expired in the half. Things did not look good for the Tigers, but another half was to be played.
LSU opened the 2nd half with a 16 play 70 yard drive. The drive was punctuated with a little trickery. As Matt Flynn held for a field goal attempt at the Gator 36, he bouncded the ball off of the turf and ran through the Gator defense for 8 yards to give LSU a first down at the Gator 17. Keiland Williams ran it in from 4 yards out to cut the score to 17-14. About that time, the Public Address announcer reported that 40 point underdog had upset #1 in the Coaches Poll USC 24-23. Tiger Stadium erupted.
However Tebow and company quieted the crowd as he quicly moved the Gators back down the field. He found a wide open Gator receiver for a 37 yard touchdown to put the Gator back up by 10 at 24-14.
The 4th quarter will go down as a classic. LSU’s offense didn’t do much with the ball and had to punt back to the Gators. Florida moved to midfield, but Keysthan Moore fumbled the ball putting the Tigers in business at the 50. LSU drove down, but Colt David missed a 36 yard field goal. Just when many were about to give up hope Tebow was intercepted at the Gator 27 and LSU moved down this time as Matt Flynn completed a 4 yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd on another 4th down gamble. The Tigers were within 3 at 24-21 with just over 10 minutes to go in the game.
LSU’s defense stiffened again and took over with just over 8 minutes left in the game. LSU would convert a two key 4th and 1 plays behind the hard running of Jacob Hester. Hester would then go in from a yard out to put the Tigers up with about a minute and half to go in the game at 28-24.
Florida did not die easily as Tebow moved the Gators to mid field and heaved a last second hail mary pass into to end zone as time expired. LSU’s Defensive backs knocked the ball down and Tiger Stadium erupted. LSU was now the undistputed #1 team in the nation. It would be short lived as the Tigers would lose in triple overtime the following week, but like a cat, LSU would have many lives this year and in the end, they would garner the crystal ball.
LSU 30 Auburn 24, Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, October 20, 2007
They have the Earthquake Game (LSU 7 Auburn 6-1988); The Curley Hallman Tirade Game (Auburn 30 LSU 28-1992)-HALLMAN GOES ON A TIRADE AFTER LSU LETS A 28-27 LEAD SLIP AWAY IN THE LAST MINUTE OF THE GAME; The Interception Game (Auburn 30 LSU 26-1994)-AUBURN RUNS BACK 3 LSU PASSES FOR TD’S BUT GETS LESS THAN 100 TOTAL YARDS; The Night the Magic Returned Game (LSU 12 Auburn 6-1995)-AN INTERCEPTION ON THE LAST PLAY OF THE GAME SEALS VICTORY FOR THE TIGERS AGAINST #6 WAR EAGLES IN DINARD’S 1ST YEAR; The Night The House Burned Down Game (LSU 19 Auburn 15-1996)-A FIRE IS CLEARLY SEEN OVER THE EDGE OF JORDAN HARE STADIUM AS THE OLD FIELD HOUSE BURNS DOWN; The Dameyune Craig Heartbreak Game(Auburn 31 LSU 28-1997)-DAMEYUNE CRAIG LEADS AUBURN TO A LAST SECOND WIN IN TIGER STADIUM; The Cigar Game (Auburn 41 LSU 7-1999); The Rub It In Game (Auburn 34 LSU 17-2000)-ALL AUBURN HAS TO DO IN KNEEL DOWN WITH 27-17 LEAD, BUT TUBBERVILLE CHOOSES TO LET RUDI JOHNSON RUN IT IN WITH SECONDS LEFT; The Stomp The Tiger Backfire-LSU’s 1st West Title Game (LSU 27 Auburn 14-2001); The Shows Who’s Boss Game and Trev Alberts is an idiot Game (LSU 31 Auburn 7-2003)-LSU IS RANKED HIGHER, BUT TREV ALBERTS SAYS AUBURN WILL WIN EASILY IN ESPN’S PRE-GAME SHOW-LSU GETS THEIR FIRST CRYSTAL FOOTBALL THIS YEAR; The Extra Point Game (Auburn 10 LSU 9-2004); The Field Goal Game (LSU 20 Auburn 17-2005); The What Might Have Been Official’s Game (Auburn 7 LSU 3-2006)-QUESTIONABLE OFFICIATING COST LSU A SHOT AT THE SEC TITLE AND THE BCS TITLE THAT YEAR.
All of these games are memorable ones in the LSU-Auburn series. It is one of the most truly competitive series in college football. It is truly evenly matched. In the last 12 years each team has won 6 games. The home team has won every game this decade, and with the exception of blow outs in 2002 and 2003 and convincing wins by both schools in 2000 and 2001, the games have been close. Since 2004 only 4 points separate the two teams. This game may top them all as LSU left one second on the clock in this classic. Without this game, The Tigers wouldn’t have made it to New Orleans this year.
LSU was coming off of a heartbreaking 43-37 Triple Overtime loss at Kentucky. They badly needed this game and there was not much margin for error going into this game. Auburn took the opening kickoff and marched methodically down the field as Brandon Cox completed 17 yard touchdown pass to Montez Billings to put the War Eagles up 7-0. After trading punts, LSU got their offense in gear as Matt Flynn completed a 15 yard 3rd down pass to Brandon Lafell and then a 46 yard screen pass to Keiland Williams much to the delight of the Tiger Stadium crowd. The score was tied 7-7.
However Auburn broke on top again as Ryan Perrilloux appeared to have a 6 yard gain, but he fumbled into the arms of Auburn defensive back, Jerraud Powers who returned it all the way to the LSU 3 yard line. Carl Stewart of Auburn scored on a 3rd down play and the PAT made it 14-7 War Eagles.
LSU took a squib kick and moved across midfield, but went backwards and they were forced to punt. They pinned Auburn inside the 5 yard line. That didn’t stop the Plainsmen as they drove to the LSU 5 yard line before being forced to settle for a 22 yard field goal and 17-7 lead with 1:40 left in the half.
Things did not look good for LSU’s Tigers at half time. This writer even felt that there was no way they would come back. Luckily, I was proven wrong. LSU started the 3rd quarter with a drive of 56 yards with Colt David nailing a 29 yard field goal to pull the Bayon Bengals within a touchdown at 17-10. A key 33 yard completion on 3rd down and 9 from Flynn to Early Doucet punctuated this drive.
Auburn tried a little trickery on the ensuing kick off as the kick receiver huddled up and Patrick Lee ran the ball out to the 40 yard line. LSU’s defense stiffened and got the ball back, but were forced to start from their 5 yard line as a block in the back penalty put them there. LSU lined up to punt at their own 32 on 4th down and 4, but an Auburn man jumped offsides giving LSU a big 1st down. LSU appeared to have a big play in a long pass reception, but Brandon Lafell juggled the ball and it ended up in the hands of an Auburn DB thwarting a promising drive.
During this quarter, Outland Trophy winner Glen Dorsey’s career almost ended because Auburn employed a chop block against him. One hit him high and another low. Curiously, the umpire was looking right at the play and there was no flag thrown. Well, that’s life in the SEC if you know what I mean (some sarcasm here).
LSU got the ball back and Matt Flynn found Demetrius Byrd on 58 yard completion to the Aubrun 9 yard line, but all LSU could get out of it was field goal. The Tigers moved to withing 4 points of the War Eagles at 17-13 late in the 3rd quarter.
LSU held and got the ball back at their own 15 yard line. They steadily moved downt the field and on 3rd down from the 5 yard line a flag was thrown on LSU, but picked up. Jacob Hester dove over the pile on and LSU had its first lead at 20-17 with 12:55 to go in the game.
LSU got the ball again and drove deep into War Eagle territory, but again had to settle for a field goal to make it 23-17 LSU. The fireworks were just begining as Auburn benefitted from a questionable helmet to helmet contact play which kept a War Eagle drive alive. Auburn reclaimed the lead on a 6 yard Brandon Cox to Rod Smith touchdown pass with 3:21 remaining. Auburn questionably attempted a squib kick giving LSU excellent field position at their own 42 yard line. LSU steadily marched down the field and that’s when the strangest of things occurred. Matt Flynn completed a pass to Richard Dickson to the Auburn 22 yard line. LSU appeared to be setting it up for a game winning field goal attempt, but the clock kept running under 40 seconds and ticking. With 9 seconds remaining, Flynn took the snap and lofted a pass to Demetrius Byrd in the end zone who caught it over Auburn defensive back, Jerraud Powers. When Byrd came down, one second remained on the clock. Tiger Stadium erupted. LSU added the PAT and kicked off, but stopped Auburn. The Tigers had the classic of classic wins at 30-24.
Coach Miles seemed unfazed during his post game interview. They called him crazy, but he was crazy like a fox and at the end of the year, he was a National Championship Coach.
LSU 41 Alabama 34, November 3, 2007, Saban Bowl, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
On January 3, 2007, while LSU was getting ready to play Notre Dame in the 73rd Sugar Bowl, Nick Saban announced he was going to be the new Alabama football coach. This did not sit well with LSU fans. They felt he upstaged LSU’s game with Notre Dame, but more importantly, they felt he gave them a sucker punch by going to Western Division rival, Alabama. The sucker punch was harder as Saban went after LSU commitments as national signing day approached. He was successful in luring Luther Davis of West Monroe away from LSU. This increased the animosity, but did not keep LSU from signing a Top 3 recruiting class as they found ample replacements for Davis.
LSU opened the season with a thrashing of Mississippi State, 45-0, a devouring of Virginia Tech, 48-7, and 2nd shut out of Middle Tennessee, 44-0. Alabama began the Nick Saban era with pummeling of Western Carolina, 52-6 (He opened his LSU career in 2000 against the Catamounts with 58-0 victory), a whipping of Vanderbilt, 24-10, a thrilling last-second win over Arkansas, 41-38. LSU slogged through their next game against South Carolina by winning 28-16, while the Tide fell in overtime to Georgia, 26-23. LSU sputtered to a 34-9 win over in-state rival, Tulane in the Superdome, while Alabama sputtered and misfired against Florida State, 21-14 for their second consecutive defeat. LSU would win a thrilling 28-24 classic against Florida, and Alabama would hold on to stop Houston on the game’s last play in 30-24 win. LSU lost an overtime classic to Kentucky, 43-37, while Bama had an offiicial’s call overturn a long Ole Miss pass to preserve a 27-24 win over the Rebels. LSU defeated Auburn in another classic when Demetrius Byrd hauled in 22 yard touchdown pass with 1 second left to win, 30-24. On that same day, Alabama thrashed Tennessee, 41-17. They both had a week off to prepare for the most anticipated game of the season. The national media asked for and receivd meg press credentials. LSU entered the game at 7-1 and ranked 3rd in the BCS. The Tide was ranked 17th and was at 6-2. Both teams were 4-1 coming. The SEC West lead was riding on the outcome of this game. LSU was a 7 point favorite, but many in the national media were picking Alabama to win on the strength of Nick Saban’s coaching.
Alabama stuck first blood with a 36 yard Leigh Tiffin field goal. LSU came back and tied the game with 43 yard Colt David kick to make the score 3-3. Chevis Jackson set LSU up with an interception deep in Tide territory. LSU did not waste much time as Matt Flynn hit Early Doucet on a flanker screen to put the Tigers up by a touchdown. LSU drove down and went up 17-3 after a short Jacob Hester touchdown. The crowd was out of the game. LSU appeared on the verge of blowing out the Tide and impressing the pollsters and BCS gurus. 3rd and long John Parker Wilson is forced to throw an incomplete pass under a heavy rush. It’s imcomplete! LSU will get the ball in great field position. Now they can start to put this game away. Wait!! Tyson Jackson is flagged for a roughing the passer call. It gives the Tide new life. On the next play, John Parker Wilson find DJ Hall all alone for a 67 yard touchdown pass, and just like that, The Tide in within a touchdown at 17-10. Later in the quarter, Matt Flynn is picked off deep in Tiger territory. The defense stiffens and holds the Tide to a field goal. LSU drives deep in Tide territory, but an ill advised pass is picked Alabama’s Kareem Jackson and returned deep into LSU territory. John Parker Wilson throws a 30 yard TD to Kieth Brown put the Tide up 20-17. LSU drives down, but has a field goal attempt blocked to end the half.
LSU does little to start the 3rd quarter. Midway through the quarter, Wilson finds a wide Kieth Brown to put the Tide up, 27-17. Things looked dark for the Tigers, but Flynn hits Demetrius Byrd in stride for a 61 yard touchdown pass to pull the Tigers within 27-24. LSU gets the ball back and tie it up with a 49 yard Colt David field goal.
With about 7 minutes left in the game, LSU faces a 4th down and inches at their own 38 yard line. They line up to go for it. LSU employs a fancy shift, which gets them a 5 yard illegal procedure penalty. Carnell Stewart takes off his helmet and now they have a 15 yard penalty tacked on and the have to punt from their own 18. Gilbert Arenas fields the punt at his 39 and takes for a 61 yard punt return to put the Tide up 34-27.
With the season on the line, LSU drives for the tying touchdown as Matt Flynn hits Early Doucet on a 4th down pass play for a touchdown to tie it up 34-34. On the ensuing series, LSU’s Chad Jones makes the play of the game as he sacks Bama QB, John Parker Wilson that forces a fumble and LSU recovers at the Tide 2 yard line. Three plays later, Jacob Hester dives in from a yard out to put the Tigers up 41-34. Craig Steltz drives the final nail in Alabama’s coffin as he delivers a ferocious hit on an Bama receiver on 4th down. LSU runs out the clock, and the Tigers beat the Tide and their former coach.
Many LSU fans are upset because of the penalties. Many in the National Media call the Tigers lucky, but those lucky Tigers move up to #2 in the BCS with the win becasue of Boston College’s loss to Florida State. A reminder to Tiger fans---The end result is all that matters
SEC Championship Game, Dec 1, 2007 Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
LSU 21 Tennessee 14
LSU announces that Matt Flynn will not be able to play because of an jnured shoulder that he encountered in the Arkansas game, which many thought had effectively ended LSU’s chances for the National Championship as the Tigers were beaten 50-48 in triple overtime Ryan Perrilloux will get his first significant start in his career. As recently as 4 weeks ago Perrilloux had been involved in a scrape at the Varsity in Baton Rouge and served a one game suspension for the Alabama game. Perrilloux would atone for that as the game ended with an all star performance.
ESPN Gameday opens their telecast in the morning that Les Miles will become the next coach at Michigan. Les Miles calls a short press conference with no questions to dispel that. The game is on, but the fireworks are just beginning. LSU’s interest in the other games being played on this day would take over after this one.
As we walk into the Georgia Dome, it is mostly a sea of orange, but in ‘05 and ‘03 it was mostly a sea of red and black (Georgia), and in 2001 it was overwhelmingly a sea of orange. But it doesn’t matter in 2001 and 2003, LSU fans were louder as the Tigers bested the Vols (31-20) and Bulldogs (34-13) to win SEC Titles. In ‘05 the Tigers were worn down by playing 11 straight weeks and it showed as Georgia whipped LSU 34-14.
Tennessee is decked out in orange pants and orange jerseys. I don’t understand why they chose to make such a poor fashion statement. However, the Vols took the opening kickoff after LSU tried a sky kick to catch the Vols off guard, but if didn’t work and the Vols were in business at their own 40. Erik Ainge and company ripped through the LSU defense on a well timed drive to take a 7-0 lead on an Erik Ainge to Chris Brown touchdown pass. On LSU’s first possesion the Tigers took the ball back and drove down the field, but the drive stalled and the LSU had to settle for a short field goal to pull within 7-3.
LSU’s defense would stiffen, and the Tigers would get the ball again and move with relative ease through the Tennessee defense. LSU would stall and have to settle for another field goal to pull to within 7-6.
LSU was on the move near the end of the 1st half and threatened to take the lead. Perrilloux completed a long pass to Early Doucet deep in Volunteer territory. LSU was out of time outs and did a poor job of clock management, so they had to settle for field goal. Colt David missed a chip shot field goal attempt as the half ended.
LSU got the ball to begin the second half and moved down the field with relative ease. They ended up with a 3rd and 16 from the 27 yard line. Perrllloux dropped back and found a wide open Demetrius Byrd for a touchdown and LSU’s first lead of the game at 13-7.
Tennessee moved down and threatened to re take the lead, but a drive stalled and they also missed a chip shot field goal. LSU took the ball back and appeared to be on their way to putting more distance between them and the Vols, but Trindon Holliday broke free on a run only to run into one of his offensive linemen causing a fumble. The Vols took the turnover and drove down and re-took the lead at 14-13 on a 6 yard Ainge to Josh Briscoe pass. The Tigers appeared to give Tennessee another gift when a Perrilloux pass was intercepted at the LSU 37 yard line, but the Tiger defense stiffened, and 51 yard field goal attempt by the Vols was no good.
LSU opened the 4th quarter with a long drive that was punctuated with a fake punt to give the Tigers a key first down. The drive would stall and LSU would have to punt. LSU’s defense would stiffen and the Vols faced 3rd down. Erik Ainge would drop back and throw a pass in the flat, but Jonathon Zenon would make a perfectly timed interception and run it in from about 20 yards out and after Ryan Perrilloux would run the two point conversion in, LSU would lead 21-14. The Vols would come right back as Ainge would complete a screen pass to Arian Foster. The Vols were in business inside the LSU 20, but Derry Beckwith would make a key interception with a little over 2 minutes to play.
Ryan Perrilloux would pick up a key 1st down, but would run out of bounds giving Tennessee hope if they could stop the Tigers, but that would all be for naught as Jacob Hester makes key run on 2nd down and LSU runs out the clock as they win their 3rd SEC Title in the SEC Championship Game era, which is 2nd to Florida and the most of any Western Division team and the most in the decade of 2000-2010 (the decade of 00’s) LSU can make claim at this time as the SEC’s Team of the decade with 3 titles and 1 other championship game appearance in 8 years.
BCS National Champioship Game, Superdome, New Orleans, La. , Jan 7, 2008
LSU 38 Ohio State 24
Big 10 vs. SEC for the BCS National Championship!! There is no greater rivalry between two conferences in sports than this one. Even though, the PAC 10 and Big 10 meet annually in most cases in the Rose Bowl, the competition between the two conferences is something to behold. Last year Florida ripped the Buckeyes 41-14 to win the 2006 BCS Title. Florida also bested the Buckeyes in the National Championship Game at the Final Four in basketball. The SEC was 2-0 in championship games the previous season. Better yet, the Gators were 2-0 against the Buckeyes. The bowl games leading up to this year’s title game had Tennessee beating Wisconsin 21-17 in the Outback Bowl and Michigan upsetting Florida 41-35 in the Capital One Bowl, so it was SEC 1 and Big 10 1 with LSU and Ohio State to break the tie.
A lot was made of SEC dominance in football, but a closer look shows the two conferences to be even in matchups against each other in bowl games. Penn State beat Tennessee in the 2007 Outback Bowl and Wisconsin beat Arkansas in the 2007 Capital One Bowl. Florida beat Iowa in the 2006 Outback Bowl, but Wisconsin bested Auburn in the 2006 Capital One Bowl. Georgia beat Wisconsin in the 2005 Outback Bowl, but LSU lost to Iowa on the game’s final play in the 2004 Capital One Bowl. Iowa pummeled Florida in the 2004 Outback Bowl, but Georgia beat Purdue in overtime in the 2004 Capital One Bowl. Michigan beat Florida in the 2003 Outback Bowl, however Auburn upset Penn State in the 2003 Capital One Bowl. In the 2002 Outback Bowl South Carolina would nip Ohio State and Tennessee would demolish Michigan. The 2001 Outback Bowl would have South Carolina upsetting Ohio State, but Michigan beating Auburb in the 2001 Capital One Bowl. The 2000 Outback Bowl would have Georgia beating Purdue in overtime, but Michigan State (Nick Saban’s last Spartan team, but coached by Bobby Williams in this game) beating Florida on a field goal at the buzzer. Michigan would win by one point over Alabama in the Orange Bowl that year. I can go on, but you get the point. It is actually very close with The SEC lead 8-5 in the Outback Bowls since 1996; the two teams are tied 8-8 in Capital One/Citrus Bowls since 1993, and the Big 10 and SEC were tied 1-1 in BCS Bowls going into this game, however Ohio State was 0-8 against the SEC in bowl games. MIchigan was much better recently agains the SEC than the Buckeyes with New Year’s Day wins in 2008, 2003, 2001, and 2000 this decade with losses in only 2002 against the SEC for a 4-1 record. LSU was 1-1 against the Big 10 going into this game with a 47-34 thumping of Illinois in the 2002 Sugar Bowl and a heart stopping 30-25 loss to Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
The game began similar to the 2006 Championship Game with Ohio State striking first on 65 yard gallop by Beanie Wells as he outraced the Tigers to the end zone. This happened on the game’s 4th play. Ted Ginn Jr. returned the opening kickoff for the Buckeyes against Florida, but they went south (pardon the pun) after that as Florida pummeled the Buckeyes 41-14 to win the 2006 title. This game would have similar results as it wore on.
LSU had trouble in their first possession as a snap sailed over Matt Flynn’s head, which he had to cover at his 5 yard line. The Buckeyes would complete a long pass deep in LSU territory, but the Tigers would stiffen and Ohio State would have to settle for a field goal to go up 10-0.
LSU would respond with a long drive, but it stalled and Colt David would come on to kick a field goal to make it 10-3.
A key play would occur in the game when Chad Jones would fumble on a punt return, but Harry Coleman would recover the ball at LSU’s 15 yard line as the Tigers would avert a disaster. LSU go on another long drive as Matt Flynn would go on quick count and complete a pass to a wide open Richard Dickson to knot it up at 10-10.
The Buckeyes would drive down the field, and Chevis Jackson would have a key knock away of a potential Buckeye touchdown pass to Brian Robiske, son of former LSU star, Terry Robiske. Ricky Jean-Francois would come up with a block on the ensuing field goal attempt and the score was still tied at 10. The momentum clearly shifted to LSU as Matt Flynn marched the Tigers down the field. He would find a wide open Brandon Lafell in the corner of the end zone on a 3rd down play to put the Tigers up 17-10.
On the next Buckeye drive, Chevis Jackson would intercept a pass and return it deep in Ohio State territory. The Tigers would drive inside the Buckeye 5 yard line and Jacob Hester would go in from a yard out to put LSU up 24-10. That is the way it would stand at the half.
LSU opened the 3rd quarter with another long drive. Offensive coordinator, Gary Crowton with Matt Flynn running the show, mixed in plays which kept the Buckeyes off guard throughout the drive. The drive would stall and LSU would be forced to punt, but Ohio State would make one of its key penalties in the game as they would have to block on and miss the block, but clobber LSU punt er, Patrick Fisher, which resulted in a roughing the kicker penalty and an automatic first down. This kept the drive alive. A side note here is that Ohio State who was supposed to be coached by genius, Jim Tressel made some key penalties in the game, whice proved to be costly. LSU was not charged with a penalty the entire 1st half.
Matt Flynn would hit Early Doucet out in the flat and Doucet burrowed through 3 Buckeyes to score a touchdown from the 5 yard line to put LSU up 31-10. This game was looking more like the previous year’s BCS Title game as LSU was blowing out Ohio State.
LSU made a mistake to keep the Buckeyes in the game. Matt Flynn and Terrance Tolliver got their wires crossed on a pass pattern. He ran inside and Flynn called for him to go outside. It resulted in a Buckeye intercetion. The Buckeyes would score on a 3rd down pass to pull to within 31-17 as the 4th quarter began.
LSU would give up the ball on a punt and the Buckeyes were on the move. Ohio State faced a key 4t h down. Todd Beckham, OSU QB was flushed out of the pocket and Ali Highsmith put a hit on Beckham causing a fumble. It would picked up and returned deep in Buckeye territory, but LSU would be flagged for excessive celebration and had to start at the Ohio State 45. LSU would be forced to punt, but Harry Coleman would come up with a big interception and the Tigers were back in business as Matt Flynn picked up a big 1st down and Richard Murphy would pick up a big gain. Flynn would find Richard Dickson open with less than 2 minutes left to put the Tigers up 38-17. OSU would score a meaningless touchdown to close out the scoring at 38-24. The crowd would chant “SEC, SEC!” and the Bucks would go to 0-9 against SEC teams in bowl games. LSU would become the first team to have two Crystal Balls, which is the trophy for the BCS Champion. This time LSU would sweep all of the wire services to be the undisputed National Champion. LSU would get further good news later as none of the juniors would declare for the NFL Draft.
Les Miles would finally be accepted by all LSU fans as he outcoached Jim Tressel in this game and even the media types after the game would say LSU was the champion, but there was still those arguing for Georgia and USC. They would finish 2 and 3 respectively with Georgia 2 in the AP and 3 in the Coaches Poll and USC 2 in the Coaches Poll and 3 in the AP. Georgia’s argument would lose luster because they were pummeled by Tennessee 35-14 and beaten at home by South Carolina 16-12. They would not even win the Eastern Division of the SEC, and USC lost to 40 point underdog, Stanford and Oregon and struggled at home against Arizona who LSU beat 45-3 in 2006. LSU beat 5 teams in the final Top 15. USC would only beat 3 teams with a winning record in 2007.
LSU in the decade of the 00’s has finished 5 times in the Top 10 with 3 straight finishes and 4 out 5 finishes in the Top 5. They have played in 4 BCS bowls, 6 after New Year’s Day bowls, and 8 bowl games in all. They have had one #1 draft choice, and could have another one this year. 4 players were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2007. This was clearly the best of times in LSU football history. Could there be better times ahead? We will see.
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