Saturday Night Lights: Official Blog of LSU Football
LSU Sports Interactive
Nov. 25, 2009
by Michael Bonnette
LSU coach Les Miles took part in the weekly SEC Teleconference on Wednesday morning and the Tiger head coach offered the following thoughts as he team prepares for Saturday’s contest against Arkansas in Tiger Stadium.
“Practices have been fast-paced,” Miles said. “We are excited about getting the chance to get back in Tiger Stadium. It will be Senior Day and we want to be able to send out the 24 seniors with a victory.”
LSU’s 24 seniors will be recognized, along with their families, on the field prior to kickoff on Saturday. This year’s senior class, many of which are in their fifth year with the Tigers, have been a part of the BCS National Championship in 2007, won a total of 50 games and is a perfect 4-0 in bowl games
“This is a special group of young men,” Miles said of the seniors. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do since joining the program. They’ve done a great job of representing this program and this university and I’m proud to have coached them.”
The following is a listing of LSU’s 2009 Senior Class:
DE Rahim Alem
DT Charles Alexander
OT Ciron Black
LB Harry Coleman
LB Jacob Cutrera
TE Richard Dickson
LB Ace Foyil
DB Daniel Graff
RB Orlando Gunn
CB Chris Hawkins
OG Lyle Hitt
RB Trindon Holliday
LB David Impastato
WR R.J. Jackson
WR Brandon LaFell
RB Patrick Lipoma
DB Joe Maltempi
DB Danny McCray
DB August Mangin
WR Chris Mitchell
LB Perry Riley
RB Charles Scott
RB Keiland Williams
DT Al Woods
Against Arkansas, the Tigers will face a Razorback squad who leads the SEC in scoring offense (38.0 points per game), total offense (445.2 yards per game) and passing offense (310.3 yards per game). The Razorbacks are led by quarterback Ryan Mallett, a 6-foot-7 transfer from the University of Michigan. Mallett has thrown for 3,195 yards, 28 TDs and just six interceptions.
“He’s a tremendous talent,” Miles said of Mallett. “He does a great job of running their offense and spreading the ball around. He’s thrown for over 3,100 yards and 28 touchdowns with just six interceptions so he makes good decisions with the ball in his hands.”
The Tigers will counter the Arkansas offense with a defense that ranks third in the SEC and No. 8 in the nation in scoring at 14.7 points per game. The Tigers are allowing 322.2 total yards per game 132.9 rushing, 189.3 passing.
Offensively, LSU is down to its fourth tailback this week due to season-ending injuries to Charles Scott (clavicle), Keiland Williams (ankle) and Richard Murphy (knee). Stevan Ridley, a sophomore, will get his first start as a Tiger on Saturday against Arkansas. In spot duty, Ridley has rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries this year.
“Stevan will get the bulk of the reps at running back,” Miles said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”
LSU and Arkansas square off at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers go into the game with an 8-3 overall mark, while the Razorbacks have won four straight and stand at 7-4 overall.
Nov. 18, 2009
by Michael Bonnette
LSU coach Les Miles took part in the weekly SEC Teleconference on Wednesday morning and the Tiger head coach offered the following thoughts as he team prepares for Saturday’s contest against Ole Miss in Oxford
“We’ve had a good week of practice so far,” Miles said. “This team is looking forward to playing Ole Miss. They present a great challenge for our football team.”
Miles also noted that quarterback Jordan Jefferson, center T-Bob Hebert and tight end Richard Dickson have all returned to practice and will play against Ole Miss. Dickson has missed LSU’s last two games with an injury, while Jefferson and Hebert sat out of the Louisiana Tech contest.
“All three of them practiced yesterday,” Miles said of the group. “It’s nice to have those guys back in the lineup.”
Against Ole Miss, the Tigers will face one of the top running backs in the SEC in Dexter McCluster. McCluster is averaging 197 rushing yards and 262 all-purpose yards in Ole Miss’ last three SEC games. McCluster is coming off a school-record 282 rushing yard in last week’s win over Tennessee.
“He’s got great speed and great anticipation on cuts,” Miles said of McCluster.
When asked about how a defense slows down McCluster, Miles said, “it’s more corral than penetrate. We’ve given a lot of thought to it. It’s going to be a great challenge. The best you can do is corral and contain. He’s a great back.”
Miles was also asked about what he thought is different about the Ole Miss team now as opposed to early in the season. Ole Miss goes into Saturday’s game having won four of its last five after starting the year 3-2.
“I think they’ve improved,” Miles said. “I think they have a better feeling for what their identity is and that speaks to greater productivity.”
LSU and Ole Miss square off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in Oxford. The Tigers go into the game with an 8-2 overall mark, while the Rebels are 7-3 overall. LSU has won four straight in Oxford, however Ole Miss won last year’s game in Tiger Stadium by a 31-13 margin.
Nov. 6, 2009
by Michael Bonnette
It’s not hard to figure out when the LSU football team is playing in a high profile game the emails requesting interviews start early on Sunday and the phone starts ringing on Monday morning and it doesn’t stop all week. That’s been the case this week as the ninth-ranked Tigers travel to face third-ranked Alabama in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup in Tuscaloosa.
The requests for interviews with head coach Les Miles and the LSU players reached a season-high this week, thus signaling the magnitude of Saturday’s game. Here in the Sports Information Office, it’s our job to filter through the interviews and make sure we put the players, and coach, in the best possible position when being interviewed. One thing that’s made our job a little easier this week’s in regards to the Alabama game is that the questions have mostly been about the game LSU vs. Alabama rather than the former LSU coach who is now the head coach of the Crimson Tide. Only two players Charles Alexander and Harry Coleman were on the LSU roster under the former Tiger coaching staff.
The interview request this week for LSU players and coaches ranged from the local guys who cover the team on a daily basis to many national interview requests. LSU will again be featured on ESPN’s College GameDay this week as coach Miles will be on live via satellite from the teams’ hotel in Birmingham at 9:05 on Saturday morning to discuss the Alabama game. LSU players Charles Scott, Kelvin Sheppard, and Perry Riley - all taped interviews with ESPN this week for a segment called “Big Game Sound” on College GameDay on Saturday. Miles also participated in interviews with ESPN’s SportsCenter and College Football Live this week.
Coach Miles has often been heard saying that playing in games like this is one of the reasons that players come to a school like LSU. And it’s true. Being around the players this week you can see the excitement that they have had in preparing for and getting to play against a team like Alabama on national television.
Saturday’s contest between LSU and Alabama is the game of the week in college football as it features a pair of top 10 teams with a potential spot in the SEC Championship Game on the line. A win on Saturday by Alabama puts the Crimson Tide in the SEC title game against Florida. However, an LSU victory puts the Tigers in the driver’s seat in the SEC Western Division. After Saturday, LSU has conference games against Ole Miss and Arkansas left.
In addition to CBS airing the game, a great deal of national media will also have their eyes on the Tigers and the Crimson Tide as no fewer than seven national media outlets including AOL Fanhouse, CBSsports.com, ESPN.com. SI.com, the Sporting News, Yahoo.com and USA Today, along with the New York Times and the New York Daily News, will be on hand covering the game. In addition, ESPN’s College GameDay Radio will be on site for the game, while Westwood One will have the national radio broadcast of the game.
LSU’s travel plans call for the Tigers to depart Baton Rouge at 3 p.m. today and fly straight into Birmingham, where the team will spend the night. LSU will depart for the stadium at 11:30 in the morning, arriving on campus just before 12:30 p.m. The Tigers are scheduled to arrive back in Baton Rouge at 8:45 on Saturday night.
Oct. 10, 2009 - 12:55 p.m.
by Todd Politz
In the past two decades, I can count the number of LSU home football games I've missed on one hand....and I've NEVER seen the LSU campus like it is today. There are thousands of fans who have parked miles down Burbank and Nicholson, and all are slowly gravitating toward Death Valley.
Young or old, big or small, wet or dry -- no true Tigers fan is going to miss the first top-5 matchup in a half century. Even those who don't have tickets will stay on campus to watch in the 13,000-seat Pete Maravich Assembly Center (Read more. Doors open at 6 p.m.)
This is what we live for in south Louisiana. And this is why LSU is the greatest place in the world to watch college football.
Six hours and counting!
WEATHER UPDATE: The steady rain that fell this morning has stopped. Get out to campus as soon as you can. Come to Zatarain's Tiger One Village to watch Cowboy Mouth starting at 2:30 p.m.
October 9, 2009 6:30 p.m.
by Bill Martin
“Clock is down to 14, down to 13. Let em count if off for you. 3 ... 2 ... 1. It is official. The LSU Tigers, a 15-point underdog, have knocked off the No. 1 ranked Gators from the University of Florida by a score of 28-21. All I can say is for all kids who have parents watching tonight, I hope there is no curfew.”
-- Ron Franklin, ESPN on Oct. 11, 1997
It’s been 12 years since No. 1 went down in Tiger Stadium. On Saturday, for only the second time in the history of Death Valley and the third time in program history, LSU will attempt to dethrone an Associated Press No. 1 ranked team. The Tigers came up shy against top-ranked Alabama last season but another opportunity presents itself.
Who could ever forget 1997? It will be exactly 12 years and one day since LSU stunned the No. 1 Gators. With Steve Spurrier and then-Florida defensive coordinator Bob Stoops on the opposing sideline, Cedric Donaldson turned in the game of his career. A 68-yard first quarter interception return set up a Tommy Banks handoff for a touchdown to give LSU a 14-0 lead.
With the game tied at 14 early in the fourth quarter, there is the lasting image of Donaldson stepping in front of a Johnson pass, returning it 31 yards while hoisting the ball to the crowd with his left hand and taking it in for a score.
Two minutes later after Florida fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Herb Tyler put on the finishing touches with an 11-yard option keeper touchdown as Tiger Stadium came unglued. LSU defensive coordinator Carl Reese’s “bandit” package allowed the Tigers to become the first team to deny the Gators a touchdown pass in 67 consecutive games.
LSU fans rushed the field in the final seconds and the Tigers had their first victory over a No. 1 ranked team. Yesterday, then Florida backup quarterback Jesse Palmer (now with ESPN), said, “It was the loudest and most intimidating venue I have ever played in my entire football career.”
Ten years later, another chapter in the rivalry was born as the two teams staged a game for the ages. Current LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was a senior in high school watching the game from the bleachers. He witnessed Jacob Hester pound out 106 yards, including the game’s final score, as No. 1 LSU outlasted No. 7 Florida, 28-24. Most fans that night will tell you it was the loudest they have ever heard the historic stadium.
When public address announcer Dan Borne, announced that Stanford had beaten USC, I turned to a co-worker in the press box sitting next to me to say something and he could not hear me. It was the loudest I have ever heard the place. If history in this rivalry has anything to do with it, the scene could repeat itself with the game being decided in the fourth quarter. This time Hester and former Tiger safety Craig Steltz will be on the sideline watching.
Halloween night is a mere 21 days away and it will represent the 50th anniversary of Billy Cannon’s famous punt return. On that night, No. 1 LSU outlasted No. 3 Ole Miss. For the first time since that classic, two top-five ranked teams will clash in Tiger Stadium. It represents only the 16th time in SEC history that two top-five teams will play each other.
Tiger Stadium carries a legacy full of great games, record-setting crowds and noise that rivals that of any stadium in the world. It’s a place where fellow Louisianians come together on Saturday’s in the fall to share memories and make new ones. Here is what the national media has said about Death Valley this week ...
Brett Martel of the Associated Press:
“The mystique surrounding Saturday night games in Tiger Stadium is undeniable. ... Four years later, the healing, though not complete, is well under way. A new reality has taken hold, spawning new hope. And hey, the Tigers are 5-0.”
Associated Press Story
Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com:
“It has turned the knees of All-Americans to goo. It has caused coaches to lose their coaching minds. It only happens at a special space at a special time. LSU can be up, LSU can be down, but LSU's best weapon remains ... sunset. Dark. That combined with Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night is something loud, strange and holy. There is noise in stadiums everywhere from Eugene to Tuscaloosa. Only in Baton Rouge is there a living, breathing being lurking in its grand, old stadium.”
CBS Sports.com Story
Chris Low of ESPN.com:
“If you love college football and love the atmosphere surrounding college football on game day, find a way to be in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday night. The party outside Tiger Stadium has a chance to be as good as the game itself. They do it up right on the Bayou for every game, but the environment for the Florida-LSU showdown will be electric. I can already taste the gumbo. I can already feel the anticipation of the last two national champions squaring off in one of college football’s most hallowed (and deafening) cathedrals. I can already hear the LSU band striking up those legendary first four notes: DAH-DANT-DA-DUM.”
LSU believes it has credentialed more media for this game than any game in the history of Tiger Stadium. The 639 credentials issued include ESPN, ESPN GameDay, CBS, photographers and the press will who occupy the Paul Manasseh Press Box on Saturday. All three major New York newspapers the Times, the Daily News and the Post will have writers covering the game.
Sports Illustrated will have two writers in the press box, including former LSU All-SEC center John Ed Bradley. Bradley, the author of It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium, is doing an 11-page cover story on the SEC that will run in next week’s issue. A few weeks ago, he spoke to current Tigers Richard Dickson and Richard Dugas for the story. Both have fathers who played in the SEC.
LSU is finishing up its walk through in the Indoor Practice Facility. Head coach Les Miles, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, defensive coordinator John Chavis had a meeting with the CBS production crew earlier this afternoon that includes Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson and producer Craig Silver. The crew also interviewed Perry Riley, Jordan Jefferson, Charles Scott and Trindon Holliday.
Campus is already alive with tailgating despite an earlier heavy rain shower. ESPN College GameDay goes live at 9 a.m. CT from the Parade Grounds. For those of you who did not get to watch the Chad Jones feature last weekend, you can watch it here.
We will have more for you tomorrow as it gets closer to Saturday Night.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
by Bill Martin
Following A.J. Green’s go-ahead touchdown, there was no panic on the LSU sidelines. Ciron Black and Charles Scott simply turned to their fellow offense and said, “We got this. Believe.” Trindon Holliday gave the Tigers great field position with a 40-yard return. Scott then refused to be tackled with a 33-yard dash through the Georgia defense. The rest is history and the Tigers are 5-0 for the first time since 2007 and the third time this decade. It represented the 12th time under head coach Les Miles, LSU had posted a fourth-quarter comeback. It was also the first engineered by quarterback Jordan Jefferson. You can watch the replay of this instant classic tonight on CST (cable channel 37 in Baton Rouge) at 7 p.m. CT.
Noting the LSU Defense Against Georgia
LSU turned in an inspiring defensive effort “Between the Hedges”. Sparked by Georgia natives Perry Riley and Kelvin Sheppard, the Tigers shutout one of the league’s top offenses in their own stadium for three quarters. It represented the first time LSU blanked a ranked opponent on the road for the first three quarters since Nov. 6, 1993. That day Curley Hallman’s Tigers stunned No. 5 Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium, 17-13. Alabama trailed 14-0 heading into the fourth quarter of that contest. Here are a few more notables on the Tiger defense:
* Georgia’s 13 points were the fewest by a ranked opponent on the road since Auburn had 7 on Sept. 16, 2006.
* Georgia’s 45 net rushing yards were the fewest by an SEC opponent since South Carolina had 39 last season. They were also the fewest rushing yards by a ranked opponent since Ole Miss has 27 on Nov. 22, 2003.
Dickson Breaks LSU Career Record For Receiving Yards by a Tight End
With his 31 receiving yards at Georgia, Richard Dickson shattered the school record for career receiving yards by a tight end. Dickson, who owns 890 receiving yards, eclipsed David LaFleur’s old mark of 881 yards set from 1993-96. Dickson broke the mark on his 10-yard catch late in the fourth quarter that set up a Charles Scott touchdown. Dickson also moved into second place in career receptions by a tight end with 80. He passed Malcolm Scott (77 from 1979-82) and now needs just eight catches to become the school record holder. Mitch Andrews (1982-85) is the current school record holder with 87 receptions. Dickson shares the LSU career record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with Brad Boyd (1972-74). Both own 10 career touchdown catches.
“Chuck The Truck” Into the Endzone
Senior running back Charles Scott found the endzone twice in the fourth quarter to go along with his 95 yards rushing against the Bulldogs. His two rushing touchdowns now puts him in the LSU career top five for rushing TDs. He passed Rondell Mealey (29 from 1996-99) on Saturday and sits at 30 career rushing TDs. Scott needs one more TD to tie Terry Robiskie (1973-76) for fourth and 10 more to tie Charles Alexander (1975-78) for third place. Kevin Faulk (1995-98) holds the school record with 46. The Sporting News conducted a Q & A with Scott outside the locker room following the victory. You can read it here.
#4 LSU vs. #1 Florida
The stage is set for the first top-five matchup in Tiger Stadium in 50 years when fourth-ranked LSU battles No. 1 Florida on Saturday. It will be the first top-five matchup in Death Valley since the infamous Oct. 31, 1959, game against No. 3 Ole Miss. As you may have seen, ESPN College GameDay will be on hand at the LSU Parade Grounds. It may be six days away, but remind your friends and your fellow tailgaters to wear GOLD on Saturday. We will have much more on the top-five showdown as the week progresses.
Oct. 3, 2009
3:05 p.m. ET
by Todd Politz
This week's trip has been so different than last week. There were no 4 1/2 hour travel delays, no severe thunderstorm warnings on the way to the stadium, and no 6 a.m. wake-up calls. The LSU football team arrived in Atlanta about 4 p.m. ET on Friday, bused to the team hotel in Duluth (northeast of Atlanta, on the way to Athens).
The weather is just about perfect -- not a cloud in the sky, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity, and a nice breeze coming from the west (the "open end" of the stadium).
Like Husky Stadium in Washington, Sanford Stadium here in Athens has a somewhat-rare orientation of east-to-west. The structure of the stadium is a horseshoe of three decks, with upper decks on the north and south side. The west end has student seating, but only rises about two-thirds of the height of the lowest deck. Therefore, there's a view of the campus, a video scoreboard and a walkway that allows fans to view part of the field from outside the stadium.
Another difference between the most recent road trips is LSU's familiarity with the road venue. The Tigers have beaten Mississippi State 10-straight times and only a few have been competitive. On the other hand, LSU hasn't won in Athens since 1987 -- truth be told, we've only played here three times in that span (2004, 1999 and 1991). Only one of those games was close. In '99, Josh Booty connected with Reggie Robinson for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds to play. However, down a point, LSU head coach Gerry DiNardo elected to go for a two-point conversion. Booty scrambled to the right and threw back across the field to an open receiver, however, the pass was knocked and Georgia won, 23-22.
Today, the teams are on the field for warm-ups and kickoff is 30 minutes away.
LSU is wearing its traditional white jerseys with gold pants and helmets. Georgia is wearing red jerseys and helmets with grey pants.
Oct. 2, 2009 - 5:53 p.m. ET
by Michael Bonnette
Tigers Set To Go Between The Hedges
Despite both being Charter members of the Southeastern Conference, LSU and Georgia have met on the gridiron just 27 times, which is the fewest meetings between the Tigers and any other school in the league with the exception of South Carolina, who joined the conference in1 992. The 28th meeting comes on Saturday in Athens in what will be LSU coach Les Miles’ first trip to Sanford Stadium. LSU hasn’t won in Athens since Tommy Hodson directed the Tigers to a 26-23 victory on Oct. 10, 1987. LSU’s only been back to Athens three times 1991, 1999 and 2004 since that win in 1987.
Georgia's The Only One Standing
Going into tomorrow's game against Georgia, the Bulldogs remain the only team in the SEC that LSU coach Les Miles has yet to beat. Miles has only faced Georgia twice - losing 34-13 in the SEC title game in 2005 and then 52-38 last year in Baton Rouge. As a matter of fact, Miles has at least two wins over every other team in the SEC with the exception of Kentucky. Miles is 1-1 against the Wildcats.
LSU and Georgia: The Winningest Teams in the SEC This Decade
Since calendar turned to the year 2000, LSU and Georgia have been the two winningest programs in the SEC. Sine the start of the 2000 season, LSU has won 94 games, while Georgia has picked up 93 victories. The teams have combined to win five of the last eight SEC titles LSU winning the league championship in 2001, 2003 and 2007, while Georgia claimed the league crown in 2002 and 2005. Furthermore, the teams have combined for 11 10-win seasons this decade (Georgia 6, LSU 5) and they’ve won a total of 13 bowl games (Georgia 7, LSU 6). This year’s game also marks the fourth straight time that both teams enter the game ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation, a stretch that goes back to LSU’s 17-10 win in Tiger Stadium in 2003.
Taking A Look Back At Some Interesting Notes and Moments in the LSU-Georgia Series
Dating back to a 13-0 LSU win in 1935, four of the Tigers’ 14 overall wins against the Bulldogs during the series have come in years in which LSU has gone on to claim the league crown. All four of those wins can be pointed to as victories that served as a springboard to the league title for the Tigers. In 1935, a 13-0 LSU win in Athens, followed by a victory over Tulane two weeks, later helped clinch the Tigers’ first-ever SEC title. A year later, LSU posted a 47-7 win over the Bulldogs in Baton Rogue on its way to a perfect 6-0 league mark and yet another conference title.
Since 1978, the teams have met 13 times with the Bulldogs winning eight of those games. Seven of the 13 games during that span have been decided by seven points or less and at least one of the teams have been ranked in the top 20 in the nation in 10 of the 13 games.
Following Georgia wins in 1978 and 1979, the 1986 game between the Tigers and the Bulldogs took a turn in LSU’s favor. In 1986, the Tigers finally broke through against Georgia, a drought that had plagued LSU since a 14-6 win in 1953. Behind the rushing of Harvey Williams (133 yards) and Sammy Martin (100 yards), overcame a 14-10 halftime deficit to beat the Bulldogs, 23-14, in Tiger Stadium. That win was the first of five league victories for the Tigers that year as LSU went on to claim the 1986 SEC title, the first for the school since 1970.
A year later in 1987, the Tigers again won, holding off a Georgia rally that saw the Bulldogs erase a 16-3 halftime deficit to take a 23-19 fourth quarter lead before Brian Kinchen scored on a 5-yard pass from Tommy Hodson with just over three minutes left in the contest. That win helped send the Tigers to a 10-1-1 overall mark that year and a berth in the Gator Bowl.
Another meaningful contest between the teams came in 1998 when sixth-ranked LSU hosted 12th-ranked Georgia in Tiger Stadium. In a battle between a pair of 3-0 teams, the Tigers had no answer for Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter, who passed for 318 yards and a pair of TDs in the 28-27 victory. That loss was the first of seven for the Tigers that year, while Georgia went on to go 10-2 and reach the Outback Bowl.
A year later, the teams again battled to a one-point game as the Tigers dropped a 23-22 decision when then LSU head coach Gerry DiNardo decided to go for a two-point conversion and the win instead of going into overtime. After pulling LSU to within 23-22 with 18 seconds left in the contest, LSU quarterback Josh Booty had his passed tipped away at the last second by a Georgia defender on the two-point conversion attempt to help secure the victory for the Bulldogs.
Fast forward to the 21st century and what has become the revival of LSU football in the year 2000 and one will see that the Tigers and the Bulldogs have met nearly as many times in Atlanta for the SEC Championship (twice - 2003, 2005) as they have during the regular season (3 - 2003, 2004, 2008) LSU beat Georgia, 34-14, to claim the 2003 SEC title, a win that propelled the Tigers into the BCS National Championship Game.
The stage for LSU making the SEC Championship Game and a run at the national title was set on Sept. 20 of 2003 when the Tigers, then ranked No. 11 in the nation upset No. 7 Georgia, 17-10, in Tiger Stadium. That victory proved to be a signature win for LSU as it marked the Tigers’ first win over a top 10 team in Tiger Stadium since beating No. 1 Florida in 1997.
After sweeping Georgia in 2003, the Bulldogs returned the favor in 2004, beating LSU soundly 45-16 in Athens in what was one of the worst losses for the Tigers in the Nick Saban era.
Then a year later in December of 2005, the Tigers and Bulldogs met in Atlanta for a second time three years. With LSU ranked No. 3in the nation and Georgia at No. 13, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in taking a 34-13 victory in the league’s title game.
Last year, Georgia used a pair of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns to beat the Tigers, 52-38, in Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers are scheduled to depart Baton Rouge this afternoon just before 2 o’clock as they will charter a flight to Atlanta. The team will spend the night in Duluth and then bus to Athens tomorrow just after lunch. LSU is scheduled to arrive at Sanford Stadium at 1:35 p.m. Following the game, the Tigers will fly out of Athens and they are expected to land in Baton Rouge at approximately 9 p.m.
September 28, 2009 2:39 p.m.
by Bill Martin
The buzz around Coach Miles’ weekly press conference is still LSU’s remarkable goal line stand in the final minute at Mississippi State and Chad Jones’ punt return for a touchdown. It was the second week in a row the Tigers delivered a goal line stop to prevent a score.
Chad Jones, Ryan Baker Featured In Sporting News
The Sporting News awarded the goal line series as the publication’s “Play of the Day.” Dave Curtis of the Sporting News visited with both Jones and Ryan Baker who were in on the final stop. "Their fans went completely silent,” Jones said. “It was like it was our home stadium at the end." Jones was named Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday. Earlier today it was announced, the Southeastern Conference awarded him as Special Teams Player of the Week. You can read the entire Sporting News story right here.
LaFell Impacting The Record Books
WR Brandon LaFell continues to rack up touchdown receptions through the first four games of his senior year. LaFell reached the endzone twice against UL-Lafayette and two more times against Mississippi State. He became the first LSU player since Eddie Fuller in 1989 to have back-to-back multi-TD receiving games. Josh Reed, Michael Clayton or Dwayne Bowe never did it. Fuller caught two TD passes in consecutive games against Ole Miss and Alabama in 1989.
LaFell's five TD receptions through the first four games are the most by a Tiger since 1977 when Carlos Carson had six TD receptions during that span. Carson caught a school-record five TD passes against Rice in week 2 and then followed that with a sixth TD catch a week later against Florida. LaFell is nearly halfway to the school record for TD receptions in a season set by Dwayne Bowe in 2006 with 12. During ESPN2’s halftime broadcast of Florida versus Kentucky, ESPN’s Todd McShay said of LaFell, “Outside of Dez Bryant at Oklahoma State, Brandon LaFell is the best wide receiver in the country.”
It’s CBS Primetime For LSU, Florida
It may be two weeks away, but the SEC announced today that LSU’s home contest against No. 1 Florida on Oct. 10 is set for a 7 p.m. CT kickoff in Tiger Stadium. It marks the third straight season the Tigers and Gators will face each other in the network’s only primetime game of the season. LSU makes its 2009 CBS debut this weekend at Georgia in a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff. Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter) handle the call.
Sept. 26, 2009
11:16 a.m. CT
The Tigers and Bulldogs are on the field, with LSU wearing purple jerseys and gold pants. In it's "White Out" game, Mississippi State is wearing white jerseys and pants with maroon helmets. The teams just finished the brief warm-up session and have headed back into the lockerroom.
It's still raining...but hopefully it will stop in the next 30-45 minutes. The crowd is sparce, as expected for a wet, early start.
10:52 a.m. CT
Though it seems strange to me, the teams will take the field at 11 a.m., the national anthem will be at 11:16 and kickoff still set for 11:21. That's a very short warm-up period for an early kickoff.
It's much brighter than it's been in the past few hours, and the rain has slowed.
10:27 a.m. CT
The Mississippi State staff has informed us that the game will start as scheduled at 11:21 a.m., assuming that there's no more lightning.
10:21 a.m. CT
by Todd Politz
It's been an eventful 18 hours for the LSU football team, and the hits just keep on coming. First, the Tigers were delayed for about four hours in Baton Rouge Metro Airport on Friday. After boarding the 737 and getting ready to push back from the terminal, the oxygen masks fell. Supposedly, there was an electrical short that caused the system to deploy. Needless to say, I've never seen the masks before and I don't want to see them again.
We got off the plane, then got back on the plane to retrieve our personal items when they determined that we would need an "equipment change." Three hours later, another plane arrived from Atlanta and we proceeded to Golden Triangle Aiport about 7 p.m. -- And, yes, I know that we could have driven here quicker.
We arrived about 7:45, the players took part in meetings after dinner and headed to bed for the early start.
The rain started on our way from Columbus to Starkville (about a 25-minute drive) and it hasn't let up much since we arrived at 9:20 a.m. The teams came out for warm-ups moments ago only to return to the lockerroom due to lightning in the area.
Kickoff is in exactly an hour, but there's a chance that it may be delayed by lightning that is presenting the warm-up process.
Check back throughout the game for updates from Starkville.
September 25, 2009
by Bill Martin
At 1:50 p.m. today, LSU will board buses and head to the airport for a 2:45 p.m. flight to the Golden Triangle Airport in Mississippi. The 55-minute flight is scheduled to land at 3:40 p.m. and the Tigers will tour Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field soon after. SEC road life begins for LSU who is making the first of four league road trips.
The Tigers are staying in Columbus, Miss., just a 30-minute drive to the stadium. LSU won’t be in Starkville for long as the 11:21 a.m. kickoff time is the earliest for the Tigers since kicking off the 2008 season-opener against Appalachian State at 10 a.m. due to Hurricane Gustav.
Morning games for the Tigers has equaled success the past several seasons. LSU has won its last four games that have started prior to noon. Two of those victories have come against Mississippi State (2004 and 2006). Head coach Les Miles is 3-0 at LSU in games that have kicked off prior to noon. You have to go back to the 2002 Cotton Bowl (a 10 a.m. start) when the last time the Tigers lost a game with a morning kickoff time.
For the second straight week, LSU will wear purple jerseys. This weekend is Mississippi State’s “White Out Game” and the Bulldogs will wear white jerseys and white pants. The Tigers wore purple the last time they were in Starkville, winning by a score of 45-0 to start the 2007 national championship season.
We will have more from Columbus, Miss., this evening and then again from the stadium tomorrow morning in Starkville. For those Tiger fans making the five-hour drive from Baton Rouge, you might want to pack the rain gear. Weather.com lists a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms at kickoff. Have a safe trip Tiger fans.
Monday, Sept. 21 9:30 a.m.
by Bill Martin
SNL 10 Questions With David Toms
PGA Tour star and former LSU All-American David Toms returned to Tiger Stadium this past weekend prior to heading to the TOUR Championship this week in Atlanta. He heads into the PGA Tour Playoffs final stop ranked 19th in the FedEx Cup standings and owns seven top-10 finishes this season. You won’t find a golfer on tour more passionate about his school than Toms. A devoted Tiger fan since he was five years old, Toms continually gives back to the university and is an active participant in the community with his David Toms Foundation.
He took time out of his busy schedule to join us for SNL 10 Questions.
1. What is the all-time favorite LSU football game that you have attended?
“It’s got to be 2004 BCS National Championship Game against Oklahoma. Game on the line, and Lionel Turner makes the sack at the end.”
2. What is your favorite SEC road venue you have attended and why?
“Alabama, Tuscaloosa. You get the feeling when you go there, they are as passionate about football as LSU fans are. It is a very loud venue. One of the times I was there, I was in a friend’s luxury box who is a big Tide fan. They heckled me the whole game, but then we won at the end. It was nice to get that victory.”
3. Would you rather play in the Ryder Cup or watch LSU win the BCS National Championship in person?
“I’d say that’s a tie on that one.”
4. Who do you see being the Tigers’ breakout player the remainder of the season?
“Keiland Williams. He’s been very impressive to me so far. He plays very hard. It seems like he might be a step quicker right now. I like how he’s done so far.”
5. With kickoff starting at 10:35 p.m. ET, did you get to stay up and watch the Washington game while being at a tour stop in Boston?
“Yes I did, of course. I watched every play. I think I turned the TV off at 2:05 a.m. ET.”
6. Who is your all-time favorite LSU football player and who is your favorite since 2000?
“Tommy Hodson. We were at LSU at the same time. He’s a good friend of mine and he loves golf. Since 2000, Jacob Hester. He’s a Shreveport boy.”
7. With the game on the line, LSU needing a touchdown to win the game at the opponent’s seven-yard line, what play would you call and who would you get the ball to?
“Fade route corner of the endzone to Terrance Toliver, jump ball situation.”
8. We know former DL Kyle Williams is an avid golfer. Do you ever get to play a round with any former Tigers and has Kyle ever challenged you on the links?
“I have gotten to play a few holes with Kyle. He’s a good player. Obviously for his size, he’s got unbelievable touch. I play with Tommy (Hodson) a bunch.”
9. Other than Billy Cannon’s famous run, what would you consider the most defining moment in LSU football history?
“Obviously, (Tommy) Hodson to (Eddie) Fuller was a great moment but it was a loud moment in a big game. I think maybe the (2003) national championship game against Oklahoma. We knew we were on the way up, but now all of a sudden you have won a BCS championship in the modern day era with the addition of the facilities we have. Those have made for unbelievable recruiting tools.”
10. More efficient, the number of fairways you hit which leads the PGA Tour or Jordan Jefferson’s completion percentage?
“He (Jefferson) is pretty good. I’ve actually had a few interceptions this year and put some out of bounds, so I’d have to go with Jordan Jefferson. He has been pretty impressive so far.”
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009
by Todd Politz
6:02 p.m. CT
LSU's captains tonight are S Harry Coleman, DT Charles Alexander, RB Keiland Williams and PK Josh Jasper. The Tigers won the toss and deferred the decision to the second half. LSU will kickoff and defend the North endzone. LSU is 2-1 in coin tosses this season.
Just a note: UL-Lafayette has never scored a touchdown in Tiger Stadium, and the Cajun's last TD in Baton Rouge was early in the 1924 season (Tiger Stadium opened for the final game of the 1924 season).
5:35 p.m. CT
(Knocking on wood) The weather looks great, and teams are on the field and we're 30 minutes until kickoff in Tiger Stadium. LSU is wearing purple jersey for the first of consecutive weeks -- Mississippi State will host it's "White Out" game next weekend in Starkville, so LSU will not be able to wear its traditional white for the 11:21 a.m. start.
2:57 p.m. CT
by Todd Politz
Take a look at this week's Tailgaters of the Game presented by Super Chevy Dealers. Is your group pictured this week?
10:36 a.m. CT
by Todd Politz
Yesterday, we made available on www.LSUdvd.net a "2009 LSU Football DVD Season Ticket," which includes the entire regular-season schedule on DVD. For the first time in LSU history, fans can have a video archive these games. The DVD's feature the network television broadcast (commercial-free!). These will be mailed to fans 7-10 days following each game.
In seasons past, LSU was not able to duplicate nor offer these broadcasts. This is another positive outcome of the Southeastern Conference's new network television agreements released this past summer.
Speaking of improvement, today's LSU football game will again be aired on ESPNU -- which is available in HD on Cox Communications in select markets. The Team LSU Partner announced the offering last Friday before the LSU-Vanderbilt game. Read more.
A reminder to members of the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net: Though LSU cannot offer live streaming video of the game per conference regulations, we have put a camera in the LSU Sports Radio Network booth in the Tiger Stadium press box. Members can not only listen to Jim Hawthorne and Doug Moreau, but they can also watch their call of the game. Check it out! Not a member? Join today.
Friday, Sept. 18 12:50 p.m.
by Bill Martin
LSU Aims For 3-0 Start For Third Straight Season, A Possible First Since Late 1960s
A victory on Saturday night against UL-Lafayette will give the Tigers their third straight 3-0 start to a season a first since LSU was 3-0 in 1967, ’68 and ’69. LSU opened the 2007 campaign with wins over Mississippi State, No. 9 Virginia Tech and Middle Tennessee. A year later, Les Miles’ squad defeated Appalachian State, North Texas and then-No. 9 Auburn. It’s been 40 years since Coach Charles McClendon’s teams achieved 3-0 starts in a record three consecutive seasons. Miles can join elite company. LSU has never posted a 3-0 record in four straight seasons.
McCartney To Be Featured on ESPN GameDay, Outside The Lines
LSU reserve quarterback T.C. McCartney will be featured on ESPN College GameDay and Outside the Lines this weekend in a story that honors his late father, former Colorado quarterback Sal Aunese. ESPN College GameDay airs at 9 a.m. CT Saturday. Outside The Lines airs at 8 a.m. CT Sunday on ESPN and then again at 11 a.m. CT Sunday on ESPN News. Tom Friend, ESPN.com senior writer, authors the poignant story. For more information on the story, check out the press release here and a short video clip here.
David Toms Makes His ’09 LSU Football Debut
Former Tiger great and PGA Tour star David Toms will get his first chance to see the 2009 LSU football team in person. Toms, the two-time Southeastern Conference Golfer of the Year, is in town Friday to announce renovations to the University Club. Toms and architect Jim Lipe are heading up the redesign to make the course more challenging and attractive to hosting collegiate postseason tournaments. During the Tigers’ contests against Washington and Vanderbilt, Toms was busy competing in the PGA Tour Playoffs with tour stops in Boston and Chicago. The tour is off this week, so Toms will be in Tiger Stadium before heading to Atlanta, Ga., for next week’s Tour Championship. Toms has posted seven top-10 finishes this season.
Sun Belt Success
32-0. That is LSU’s record against Sun Belt Conference opponents. The last time LSU faced a Sun Belt opponent that mark was in serious jeopardy. On Nov. 15 last season, the Tigers rallied from a 28-point deficit to beat Troy in Tiger Stadium, 40-31, in the biggest comeback in modern day school history. LSU is 21-0 all-time against UL-Lafayette. Following Saturday’s game, the Tigers aren’t scheduled to play another Sun Belt opponent until Nov. 13, 2010, when UL-Monroe comes to Baton Rouge.
Ciron Black The Broadcaster?
Ask senior offensive tackle Ciron Black what he would like to do when his playing days are over and he might tell you a trip to the broadcast booth would not be out of the question. Black, a communication studies major, talks about possibly being a sports broadcaster in his weekly Sporting News Today journal that will run on Saturday. Black also takes a look back at last week’s Vanderbilt win and previews this week’s matchup against UL-Lafayette. Black has started 42 straight games, a streak that began in the 2006 season-opener against UL-Lafayette. That was the last meeting between the two teams. Visit www.sportingnewstoday.com on Saturday to read Ciron’s latest entry.
R.J. Jackson’s Breakthrough
Gary Laney of the Advocate wrote a nice story on R.J. Jackson today that you can read here. Jackson has always been an unselfish team player since his arrival at LSU in 2005. For three seasons he saw most of his action on special teams and made the move from running back to wide receiver. Heading into last week’s Vanderbilt game, Jackson tallied just one career reception. He broke out with six catches for 55 yards, including a career-best 30 yarder that setup a field goal prior to halftime against the Commodores. Jackson plans on being an active part of the offense in future weeks.
Countdown To Kickoff
LSU wraps up its final preparations at its closed walk through today at 4:30 p.m. The Tigers will then board the bus to their usual Friday night location, the Lod Cook Hotel on campus. An early look at the weather shows temperatures in the lower 80s with a 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms at kickoff. If you are not in Tiger Stadium or unable to watch the ESPNU broadcast, tune into the LSU Sports Radio network across the nation on XM Satellite Radio channel 203 or Sirius Satellite Radio channel 215. Of course, the audio broadcast is always available to members of the Geaux Zone on LSUsports.net.
September 15, 2009 5:30 p.m.
by Bill Martin
20-0. That is Les Miles’ perfect record against non-conference opponents in his five years at LSU. No other current coach in the SEC (multiple seasons) owns a perfect winning percentage in non-conference games. In those 20 non-conference contests, including four bowl games, the Tigers have outscored their opponents, 725-191. Here is a look at non-conference records for coaches in the league:
Head Coach, Team, Yrs. At School, Non-Conf. Winning Percentage At Current School
Les Miles, LSU, 5, 1.000 (20-0)
Urban Meyer, Florida, 5, .957 (20-1)
Mark Richt, Georgia, 9, .895 (34-4)
Houston Nutt, Ole Miss, 2, .833 (5-1) (34-10 at Arkansas)
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas, 2, .800 (4-1)
Rich Brooks, Kentucky, 7, .750 (18-6)
Steve Spurrier, S. Carolina, 5, .737 (14-5)
Nick Saban, Alabama, 3, .692 (9-4) (18-4 at LSU)
Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt, 8, .571 (16-12),
Gene Chizik, Auburn, 1, 1-0
Lane Kiffin, Tennessee, 1, 1-1
Dan Mullen, Miss. State, 1, 1-0
You have to go back to Nick Saban’s final game as head coach when the Tigers last lost to a non-SEC team. That came on the final play against Iowa in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2005. Since then no other team in the nation has won as many non-conference games in a row as LSU has.
- LSU and UL-Lafayette are meeting for the 22nd time but only the third time since 1938. The two in-state foes used to play each other regularly since their first meeting 107 years ago in 1902. In 21 previous meetings, the Tigers have outscored the Cajuns 957-22. Sixteen of those games have been shutouts.
- Several Tigers have ties to the Lafayette area, including running back Keiland Williams. Williams prepped at Northside High School before finishing his high school career at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. LB Jacob Cutrera, OL Ben Domingue and PK Drew Alleman all hail from Lafayette. Cutrera was a prep star at Acadiana High School, while his brother, John, used to play at UL-Lafayette.
- Running back/return specialist Trindon Holliday was interviewed by the Sporting News’ Dave Curtis this week. Holliday’s speed will be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Earlier this summer, Holliday was featured in ESPN The Magazine.
- ESPN.com’s Pat Forde had the following to say about Tiger Stadium in his weekly chat: “My personal favorite remains Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, first home game after Katrina vs. Tennessee on a Monday night. Getting goose bumps typing about it. It was so loud and emotional that I think everyone was exhausted by the second half.”
That led us to post some of the best comments we have heard the past five years about the storied venue. You may have seen a few in the media guide, but here is what others have said about Tiger Stadium:
“It’s like walking into a movie set. Your ears become sensitive to what you hear and the thousands of people around you are screaming at the top of their lungs. It’s mindboggling to see this as you walk through those doors and onto the field.”
-- Former DE Tyson Jackson (July 23, 2008)
“Usually when the opposing team does well, the crowd quiets down. All I began to hear was a chant L-S-U, L-S-U.’ It got louder and louder and louder. It was the loudest I’ve ever heard a stadium.”
-- Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt (on the 2003 game)
“I get asked about the best games I’ve called, and as far as college football goes, the Florida-LSU environment was as good as I’ve ever been around. I had always heard about night games at Tiger Stadium and had never gotten the chance to call one. It was really special to be a part of that and then the game, my gosh, how can anybody ever forget that. The fourth quarter and LSU’s final drive, that’s something I’ll always remember.”
-- Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports
“We are going to Baton Rouge and one of the most storied stadiums in the country, a place I can truthfully say is the loudest place I’ve ever been.”
-- Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt
"Best scene in college football is at LSU on a Saturday night."
-- Beano Cook
"Best stadium Tiger Stadium, LSU. The pregame festivities. The deafening noise there’s no other place like it. ... it’s in the freakiest, funkiest, most frenetic place in all of college football.”
-- Matt Hayes, The Sporting News Today (July 8, 2009)
“Once you touch the crossbar and those doors open up, it’s chaos. It’s a scene you can’t even describe.”
-- Charles Scott on Entering Tiger Stadium
“When you think of all the great players who have done this it gives you goosebumps. It is an indescribable scene to enter Tiger Stadium. The place is shaking and the energy feels like you can run through a wall. It is the greatest feeling in the world and something I never forget.”
-- Ciron Black on Entering Tiger Stadium
"It was electric. When Death Valley is rocking, it seems as if it might actually take flight. ... Tiger Stadium is the best place in the world to watch a sporting event.”
-- Wright Thompson, ESPN.com (Nov. 10, 2008)
Lastly, we take a look back at the Vanderbilt game in this exclusive behind the scenes and sideline video produced by Michael Blevins of the LSU video crew.
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009
by Todd Politz
When LSU went ahead 23-9, another true freshman entered for his first action. Morris Claiborne entered at right cornerback. Five true freshmen have played this season including Shepard tonight, along with wide receiver Rueben Randle safety Craig Loston (special teams), and defensive tackle Josh Downs.
In honor of the 30th anniversary of Charles McClendon's final season as LSU's head coach, the football team is wearing a decal on the back of their helmets with the great coach's image. There was also a reunion of his players on Friday, and many of the All-Americans from his teams were honored as guest captains before tonight's game.
LSU backup quarterback Jarrett Lee saw his first official action of the season when Jefferson left the game for one play. He completed a 10-yard shuffle pass to Charles Scott. Lee entered for one play against Washington, however, the play did not count statistically, so Lee was not charged with a game played.
Along with Shepard, another Tiger has seen his first live action. Redshirt freshman Alex Hurst entered at left guard on Josh Jasper's 32-yard field goal that gave LSU a 10-0 lead with 10:22 left in the half.
The 2009 National Championship LSU Baseball team was honored at the end of the first quarter, bringing the crowd to its feet -- most of those fans are wearing ponchos now, as the light rain continues).
Former football wide receiver Jared Mitchell, who was a first-round pick of the Chicago White Sox, received a warm welcome from his former football teammates. Chad Jones, who is a safety on this year's football team, was also a member of the championship baseball team.
Both Mitchall and Jones are in an elite group of players who have won national championship in two sports.
The long-anticipated debut of LSU "athlete" Russell Shepard happened with 7:06 left in the first quarter. Shepard, the No. 1 recruit in the nation, lined up at in the shotgun behind center and ran 13 yards for a first down before being flipped upside down near the LSU sideline. On the next play, Shepard lined up in the right slot and caught an 8-yard pass from LSU starting QB Jordan Jefferson. However, he took a him from Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Marve and fumbled at the Vandy 38-yardline.
It just started raining in Tiger Stadium for the first time since about 12:30 p.m. today. It's a light rain, but it may be with us for a little while based on the radar.
If you're not watching the live video from the LSU Sports Radio Network student in the Geaux Zone, take a look. You can watch Jim Hawthorne and Doug Moreau call the game live.
The LSU student section -- which, if you haven't been to Tiger Stadium, is the first place to fill -- greeted a special guest in the endzone. Movie star Matthew McConaughey made an appearance and will be watching the game in the suites.
By Bill Martin
As of 3:30 p.m., Tiger Stadium remains rain-free since this morning. According to Weather.com, a 25 percent chance of rain is forecasted at 6 p.m. kickoff time and that percentage increases to 50 percent at 9 p.m. Due to the saturated field, Mike VI will not be in attendance on the field during pregame, though, the live Bengal tiger did make it into his cage this afternoon. The pregame flyover is still on schedule, and the national champion LSU baseball team will still be recognized at the end of the first quarter.
Regardless of weather, the 85th year of LSU football in Tiger Stadium dating back to 1924 gets underway at 6:05 p.m. on ESPNU. The Tigers put their streak of 30 consecutive Saturday night victories in Death Valley back on the line. Head coach Les Miles is a perfect 19-0 in Tiger Stadium Saturday night games. You have to go all the way back to Nov. 16, 2002, when Alabama handed the Tigers a 31-0 defeat. Nick Saban was LSU head coach.
With a Win:
- LSU would defeat Vanderbilt for the sixth straight time and the 10th time in the past 11 meetings. During the five-game winning streak, the Tigers have outscored the Commodores, 116-33.
- LSU would win its 11th consecutive game during the month of September. The last loss: Sept. 16, 2006 at Auburn by a score of 7-3.
- LSU would win its 18th straight game on the ESPN Family of Networks. However, tonight marks the Tigers first appearance on ESPNU as part of the Southeastern Conference’s new television contract with the network.
What to Watch For:
- Brandon LaFell heads into tonight with a reception in 29 consecutive games, including 28 straight multiple-reception games. LaFell’s streak ranks as the fifth longest current streak in NCAA FBS. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson has caught a pass in 42 straight games and extended that streak earlier today against Michigan State.
The gates to Tiger Stadium are now open and the anticipation is building for the 2009 home opener. We will have more game notes and coverage as the evening progresses. Fans can look forward to the HD videoboard in the North Endzone that is making its debut. It’s Saturday Night in Death Valley ...
Wednesday, September 9, 4:35 p.m. CT
by Michael Bonnette
LSU hits the midpoint of its preparation for Vanderbilt today. The Tigers will be indoors for most of their practice session as an early afternoon rain shower soaked the LSU campus. LSU will do special teams outside on its new artificial surface practice field. Today was a busy one off the field for LSU coach Miles has he participated in the weekly SEC Teleconference this morning, following by a lunchtime radio interview with WWL. After practice, Miles will conduct a 20-minute media session then head over to Walkon’s for his weekly radio show with Jim Hawthorne. The night will conclude with Miles and his staff watching film of today’s practice session.
Former Tiger and renowned author John Ed Bradley was on campus today interviewing Richard Dugas and Richard Dickson for an SEC Football Traditions story that will appear in Sports Illustrated sometime later this fall. Bradley played alongside Richard’s father Robert on the offensive line for the Tigers in the 1970s. Dickson’s family has an interesting twist in that his grandfather played football at Ole Miss and his dad at Mississippi State. Dickson has a shot at going down as the most productive tight end in school history in terms of receptions, yards and touchdowns for the position.
Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt will see the Tigers hosting a Commodore team coming off a 45-0 win over Western Carolina. The win over Western Carolina was the most impressive for the Commodores in a season-opener since a 47-0 victory over Middle Tennessee State to start the 1950 season. Vanderbilt comes to Baton Rouge operating a new offense this year, one that is very similar to the offense that Florida runs. The Commodores racked up 680 yards of total offense, 433 on the ground, in its first game of the year.
Speaking of offense, the 48 offensive plays that the Tigers ran against Washington were the fewest by an LSU team since the 1965 season when LSU mustered just 45 snaps in a 23-0 loss to Ole Miss on Oct. 30. LSU, 5-1 and ranked No. 5 in the nation at the time, managed just 52 yards of offense that day against the Rebels. Research showed that Alabama once ran just 43 offensive plays against the Tigers in a 20-10 loss to LSU in 1982.
Last week, Jordan Jefferson became the youngest Tiger to start at quarterback in season-opener since Y.A. Tittle in 1945. Jefferson was 19 years, 11 days when he took the first snap against Washington. Tittle was 18 years, 11 months and 6 days when he started the 1945 season at quarterback for the Tigers against Rice. Jefferson is currently the youngest starting quarterback in the SEC.
Even though we are just one game into the season, Saturday’s game between LSU and Vanderbilt will mark just the third time in the series that both teams go into the game undefeated. In 1902, LSU was 4-0 and Vanderbilt was 8-0 when the teams met. Vanderbilt won that game, 27-5, in Baton Rouge. In 1937, LSU was 4-0 and Vanderbilt 5-0 when they met. The Commodores remained undefeated with a 7-6 win over the Tigers.
Finally, the NFL opens its season tomorrow night and a record 41 former Tigers will be on active rosters when the season starts. In all, a total of 47 former LSU players are with NFL teams as the Tigers have four players on practice squads and two on injured reserve. A total of nine players from last year’s LSU team will make their NFL debut this weekend, a list that includes Tyson Jackson who has earned a starting role at defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs. Jackson is one of 25 former Tigers who go into the opening weekend of the NFL season starting for their respective franchise.