LSU Athletics: The Top Photos of 2008

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It's been an amazing and historic year for LSU Athletics. 2008 started in New Orleans with a football national championship, went back through the Crescent City to a Women's Final Four, and then a long-anticipated return to Omaha.

Then, it snowed on Mike VI! Before 2009 arrives, take a look at the top photos from this year...and maybe there will be one more image to add from Atlanta.


Photos property of LSU Athletics, were taken by LSU Athletics photographers Steve Franz, Chris Parent, Brad Messina and Alex Restrepo.


Enjoy It Again!
Jan. 7, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

NEW ORLEANS -- LSU fans across the world had to wait 45 years between the Tigers’ first and second National Championships. They only had to wait four between the second and third, but the victory tasted just as sweet.

With a crushing 38-24 win over Ohio State in Monday’s Bowl Championship Series Championship Game, LSU left little doubt in the minds of those in the college football universe who the best team was during the 2007 season. Forget USC. Forget Georgia. Forget Ohio State. Remember LSU.

National Champions.

LSU fifth-year senior quarterback Matt Flynn kisses The Coaches Trophy after the Tigers victory in New Orleans.
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Sack of the Year

Trailing 31-17 early in the fourth quarter, Ohio State entered LSU territory and threatened to make it a one-possession game. But the LSU defense didn’t crack.

Facing a third-and-4 at the Tiger 31, Buckeyes quarterback Todd Boeckman was pulled to the turf by defensive end Kirston Pittman for a 3-yard loss forcing the Buckeyes to try to convert a fourth-and-7. Boeckman, finding no open receivers, was forced to scramble to his right, right into a crushing sack by linebacker Ali Highsmith (right) who forced a fumble which was recovered by defensive back Harry Coleman.

Ali Highsmith (7) sacks Ohio State's Todd Boeckman and forces a fumble to lock the National Championship for the Tigers.
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Miles Above the Rest

Head coach Les Miles, in his third season at LSU, lifted the $30,000 Waterford Crystal football-shaped trophy amid a cloud of purple and gold ticker tape -- a cloud that lifted moments later for the coach who's won 34 games against six losses since arriving in Baton Rouge in 2005.

The Tigers (12-2) became the first two-time winner of the BCS Championship by dominating the most of the game and outscoring the Buckeyes 31-0 over a 24-minute stretch. LSU also improved to 4-0 in BCS games since the series began in 1998, the best record of any team.

After all of the drama leading up to the SEC Championship Game -- remember "Damn strong team...Have a nice day!" -- LSU head coach Les Miles hoists The Coaches Trophy a month later.
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Most Outstanding Tigers

LSU quarterback Matt Flynn was nearly flawless, save for a third-quarter interception in LSU territory that gave a brief hint of hope to the Ohio State fans, on his way to winning the offensive Most Outstanding Player Award. Aside from the errant toss, Flynn jabbed and upper-cutted the Buckeyes on his way to completing 19-of-27 for 174 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes in his final game as a Tiger.

Tigers defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois garnered defensive M.O.P. honors chiefly for blocking a second-quarter, 38-yard field goal attempt that kept the game tied at 10-10 and swung the momentum completely in LSU’s favor. The Tigers scored 31 unanswered points after taking control near midfield following the blocked kick. Jean-Francois also recorded six tackles, including 1.5 for loss and combined on a sack.


Offensive MOP Matt Flynn (15) and Defensive MOP Ricky Jean-Francois helped LSU to its second national championship in five years.
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Mardi Gras Came Early This Year
Jan. 8, 2008 | Recap

At an early morning celebration, LSU head coach Les Miles stood on the balcony of a French Quarter hotel and raised a replica of the BCS trophy to delirious fans on Bourbon Street.

At about 9 a.m. the next morning, Miles answered his cell phone and heard an unfamiliar female voice.

"She said, 'Please hold for the president of the United States,"' Miles said. "I went, 'OK.'


Boubon St. in New Orleans only has nights like this on the Saturday before Mardi Gras. But when Les Miles brought The Coaches Trophy, it was Fat Tuesday a couple months early.
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The Drive for Five Goes to Tampa
March 31, 2008 | Recap | Stats | More Photos

NEW ORLEANS -- LSU's "Drive for Five" made it to Tampa, as the Lady Tigers women's basketball team became the second team in history to advance to five-straight NCAA Women's Final Fours, 56-50, over top-seeded and second-ranked North Carolina.

The New Orleans Region's Most Outstanding Player, senior Sylvia Fowles, scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to guide her seven fellow seniors and first-year LSU head coach Van Chancellor to his first career national semifinal in his 20th collegiate season.

After making four NCAA Elite 8 appearances at Ole Miss, the four-time WNBA World Champion and Olympic coach finally added the elusive title to his long resume.

The LSU women's basketball team's historic run to a fifth Women's Final Four also went through New Orleans.
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The Final Weekend at Alex Box, We Thought
May 9, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | Photos

BATON ROUGE -- No. 22 LSU exploded for 12 runs on 15 hits in the first three innings Friday evening as the Tigers defeated Mississippi State, 15-6, in Alex Box Stadium.

A paid attendance of 8,548 cheered the Tigers on to victory and enjoyed a special postgame fireworks display after Game 1 of the final regular-season series at “The Box.”

It was supposed to be the last Friday night at Alex Box Stadium. Then, the Tigers won 10 more games in-a-row and an NCAA Regional became a reality.
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Leon Can Do Everything
June 7, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

In game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional, UC Irvine's 3-1 lead looked to be 5-1 until Leon Landry tracked a home run by Tony Asaro at the 405-foot sign in center field -- and brought it back.

The ball cleared the 10-foot fence when Landry snagged it and fell to the ground. The home crowd erupted when he came up the ball and tossed it back toward the infield.

For the first time in 24 games, LSU lost, 11-5. Then, the Tigers won the next two games to advance to the College World Series.

Leon Landry's home-run saving catch didn't win game 1 of the NCAA Super Regional, but it was ESPN's Top Play.
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Goodbye Alex Box! Hello Omaha
June 9, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

BATON ROUGE -- Seventy years of history at Alex Box Stadium ended on Monday night at 10:01 p.m. -- and the next era will start on Sunday in Omaha. LSU's rapid ascent back to the top of college baseball continued with an NCAA Super Regional thumping of UC Irvine, 21-7, to advance to the NCAA College World Series for the 14th time.

A little over 24 hours earlier, LSU (48-17-1) was down to its final three outs and trailed the Anteaters (42-18) by three runs before staging a comeback for the ages that resulted in the Tigers setting up an NCAA Super Regional winner-take-all game. LSU carried the momentum from Sunday’s thriller into Monday night and closed out the grand old ballpark by securing the program’s first Omaha appearance since 2004

Second-year head coach Paul Mainieri said before the season that "A trip to Omaha would not surprise me at all." (Seriously? Watch the video.) Who else knew?
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Pile It On Again

The 2008 LSU baseball team won 23-straight games leading up to its NCAA Super Regional against UC Irvine. This moment wasn't to be denied.

“Omaha, here come the Tigers,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said. “I’ve been waiting to say that for so long, and I know that the Tiger Nation will follow us up there. Omaha, Nebraska, it just feels great to say. These kids would not be denied today, you could just see it. I went into the locker room about three hours before game time. They were loose, confident and having fun. There was not an ounce of nervousness in them. You could see the determination in their faces.”


A dogpile at the pitcher's mound was only fitting for the final game at Alex Box Stadium.
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Thanks For the Memories

An Alex Box Stadium record 8,173 fans packed into every available space to watch the 1,723rd and final game at “The Box” as LSU improved to 30-6 on championship day in NCAA postseason play.

The actual attendance shattered the previous mark of 7,607 set against Texas A&M in the second game of the 2004 NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional.


After a two-year hiatus, Alex Box Stadium enjoyed one more NCAA Regional and then a Super Regional.
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Refuse to Lose!
June 17, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

OMAHA, Neb. -- The LSU baseball team simply refused to see its season come to an end. All-America designated hitter Blake Dean lined a three-run, walk-off double off the left field wall to lift the seventh-seeded Tigers to a dramatic 6-5 College World Series win over sixth-seeded Rice at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The Tigers, who entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 5-2, registered their 30th come-from-behind win of the season and their third ninth-inning comeback in Omaha. LSU also snapped a five-game College World Series losing streak.

“For us, what a monumental win,” LSU head coach Paul Mainieri said.


Jared Mitchell -- who won a football national championship in January -- crosses the plate for the improbable victory.
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Early Start to '08 Season
Aug. 30, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

BATON ROUGE -- Charles Scott rushed for a career-best 160 yards and two touchdowns, as the No. 7 LSU football team dominated the 10 a.m. kickoff and defeated Appalachian State, 41-13, in Tiger Stadium.

The game was moved up six hours due to expected traffic and logistical issues related to Hurricane Gustav preparations.

With the score 31-0 LSU at halftime, just about all but the teams on the field had shifted focus away from competition and to the category 4 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.


After playing only two games in 2007, Ricky Jean-Francois opened the '08 season with a bang against Appalachian St. His hit knocked the helmet off FCS All-America quarterback Armanti Edwards.
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Nice Return
Sept. 13, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

The LSU football team, which had it's Sept. 6 game against Troy postponed due to Hurricane Gustav, returned to the field for the first time since Aug. 30.

The game location and time was threatened throughout the week by Hurricane Ike, but remained unchanged after the storm looked to be headed toward the Texas coast.

The Tigers used the long touchdown runs to blow open a one-sided contest. The Tigers' amassed 425 yards while holding the Mean Green to 199.


LSU wasn't sure if this game was going to happen. Talk of moving the game to Dallas, Atlanta, Shreveport, and New Orleans ended when Ike went to the west.
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Great Takeoff
Sept. 27, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

BATON ROUGE -- LSU running back Charles Scott scored twice, while quarterback Jarrett Lee added two touchdown passes in the Tigers' 34-24 victory over Mississippi State.

LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) scored on its first three drives of the game and its first two of the second half.

Scott, who ran a career-best 27 times for 141 yards and two touchdowns, opened the season with four-straight 100-yard games. No Tiger has done that to open the season since Charles Alexander in 1978. Scott has 535 yards on 71 carries with six touchdowns this season

A flyover before the game was a perfect salute to "The Old War School" and its military veterans.
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Six Short of the Record
Oct. 25, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

BATON ROUGE -- In one of the preseason's most anticiated matchups, 92,904 fans watched No. 11 LSU take on No. 9 Georgia at Tiger Stadium.

LSU, playing at home for the first time in nearly a month, fell behind early and couldn't recover.

The crowd was the second-largest in Tiger Stadium history, six fans short of the record.


An overhead shot of Tiger Stadium is one of the most classic images of the famed facility.
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Fireworks and Overtime Thrills
Nov. 8, 2008 | Recap | Video | Stats | More Photos

BATON ROUGE -- With the SEC Western Division on the line, the LSU football team played No. 1-ranked Alabama into extra time before falling to the Crimson Tide, 27-21, at Tiger Stadium.

LSU forced overtime when Alabama placekicker Leigh Tiffin's 29-yard field goal attempt was blocked by defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois as time expired in regulation.

A school record crowd of 93,039 watched the heart-thumping action.


Fireworks erupted in Tiger Stadium, as the team ran through the goalposts onto field between the Golden Band from Tigerland. Moments like this make LSU football something special.
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Let It Sneax!
Dec. 11, 2008 | Recap | More Photos

BATON ROUGE -- Mike VI was really in his element on the morning of Dec. 11, as LSU's 3-year-old live Bengal/Siberian tiger played in a rare south Louisiana snowfall that accumulated overnight.

The early White Christmas in Baton Rouge caused many roads and schools to close, not including LSU which was open as scheduled for its final exam week.

LSU fans across the I-10 corridor woke to a winter storm that hasn't been seen in the area in decades. Some areas received up to four inches of accumulation, while the LSU campus had about two inches.

According to the National Weather Service, this was the earliest snowfall on record for the Baton Rouge area, and the area's first major snow event since February of 1988

Mike VI, LSU's live Bengal/Siberian tiger mascot, played in the snow that blanketed his habitat. What a sight!
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