Observations from LSU's National Title Showdown vs. Ohio State -- A 50-yard line view from the press box in the Louisiana Superdome
As it does after every victory, the Tigers sing the Alma Mater with the Golden Band from Tigerland. A magical year is complete as LSU becomes the first school to win two BCS titles. Congratulations to coach Les Miles and the Fighting Tigers -- the courage and character you displayed throughout the 2007 season were a credit to the university and the entire state of Louisiana. LSU stands on top of the college football world once again.
Thank You and Good NIght!
LSU players continue to celebrate on the field, with several Tigers joining the FOX TV crew on their postgame set.
LSU quarterback Matt Flynn is named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Game, and defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois is voted the Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Flynn throws for 174 yards and four TDs; Jean-Francois collects six tackles, 0.5 sack and the blocked field goal in the first half that swung the momentum the Tigers' way, beginning an onslaught of 21 unanswered points.
Les Miles accepts the BCS national championship trophy -- LSU has established itself as the nation's premier college football program. What a season!
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS -- LSU 38, Ohio State 24!!!!!!!
In the words of the immortal Dandy Don Meredith, "Turn out the lights, the party's over." Flynn connects with Richard Dickson on a 5-yard TD toss to complete a 53-yard scoring march. The celebration in the French Quarter has begun.
Curits Taylor intercepts a Boeckman pass on third-and-15 at the OSU 40. Just 5:43 remaining -- LSU and its fans can sense a title.
Ohio State threatens to get within a touchdown, but on fourth-and-8 at the LSU 35, Boeckman fumbles when he is sacked by Ali Highsmith and Harry Coleman recovers for the Tigers on the Buckeye 31. Tigers are penalized 15 yards after the play for excessive celebration. Again, the LSU defense stiffens at a critical time.
3rd quarter ends with LSU leading, 31-17. LSU has 22 first downs throuigh three quarters; OSU has nine. Tigers are 11-for-14 on third down and have controlled the ball for more than 26 minutes. Fifteen minutes to go!
Buckeyes won't go quietly -- Boeckman his Brian Robiskie with a 5-yard TD pass on fourth down to draw OSU within 14 points. The score is set up wihen Malcolm Jenkins intercepts a Flynn pass and returns it to the LSU 11. Tigers still in control with a two-TD lead; 1:38 remaining in the third period.
The Buckeyes are reeling as Flynn hits Doucet with a four-yard TD pass to give the Tigers a 31-10 lead. LSU's 80-yard drive to open the second half is aided by two personal foul penalties against Ohio State, including a roughing the punter infraction on fourth-and-23. LSU commits its first penalty of the game during the drive, when Flynn is flagged for intentional grounding, but the Tigers overcome the miscue. 9:04 to go in the third quarter.
It's halftime, and LSU holds a 24-10 lead. After a shaky start, Tigers deliver one of their best performances in any half this season. Tigers may be 30 minutes away from hoisting another crystal ball. Stats that jump off the page -- LSU has not committed a penalty tonight, and the Tigers are 8-for-10 on third down. Mix in Jackson's interception and Jean-Francois' blocked field goal, and LSU is in postiion to become the first school to win two BCS titles. This is the 10th season of the BCS; it began in 1998 when Tennessee defeated Florida State for the national title.
Jacob Hester bullls in from the one-yard line to give LSU a 24-10 lead. The 24-yard drive starts when Chevis Jackson makes a brilliant interception of a Todd Boeckman pass. Jackson delivers perfect man coverage as the Tigers blitz to force the turnover. LSU up 24-10 with 4:16 left in the first half. The Tigers have not lost a lead greater than 14 points this season.
Another superb drive engineered by Flynn -- 66-yard march culminating in a 10-yard TD pass from Flynn to Brandon LaFell on third and five. LSU in control of the game at this point; still 7:25 left in the first half. Ohio State's vaunted defense unable to solve LSU's multi-faceted attack. Buckyeyes have already allowed their second-highest point total this season.
Big momentum swing -- Ricky Jean-Francois blocks Ryan Pretorius' 38-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter. Tigers take over with a chance to grab the lead.
Tigers even up the score wtih a 13-yard strike from Matt Flynn to Richard Dickson -- precision 84-yard TD drive by LSU. The crowd is back into the game after being silenced a bit by OSU's fast start. Flynn appears to be throwing the ball with authority, showing no ill effects from his shoulder injury. 13 minutes before halftime and LSU has seized the momentum.
LSU gets on the board with Colt David's 32-yard field goal -- TIger offense puts together a 65-yard drive highlighted by Jacob Hester's 20 yard-run and a 16-yard completion from Matt Flynn to Early Doucet. Ten-point deficit faced by the Tigers was their biggest this season -- LSU also trailed by 10 in wins over Florida and Auburn. 10-3 Buckeyes as we near the end of the first quarter.
Ohio State's Ryan Pretorius gives the Buckeyes a 10-0 lead with a 25-yard field goal -- LSU defense does a nice job, however, of slowing down the Buckeye offense after OSU had a first down at the LSU 15. Lots of time -- still 9:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Ohio State's Beanie Wells give the Buckeyes an early 7-0 lead with a 65-yard TD burst, the longest touchdown run of his career. We recall the Buckeyes holding an early 7-0 lead in last year's BCS title game against Florida before the Gators erupted for a 41-14 victory.
LSU kicker Sean Gaudet steps into the football, and we are underway!
The team captains meet at midfield for the coin toss -- LSU captains are Patrick Fisher, Jacob Hester, Craig Steltz, Matt Flynn and Glenn Dorsey. Ohio State captains are James Laurinaitis, Kirk Barton, Dionte Johnson and Vernon Gholston. 1976 Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett flips the coin -- LSU wins the toss and elects to defer to the second half. Ohio State will receive to begin the 2008 BCS National Championship Game!
The LSU Tigers, champions of the Southeastern Conference, take the field as we are just seven minutes away from kickoff! Ohio State follows approximately two minutes later -- the Buckeyes enter with a small pyrotechnics display, causing smoke to waft toward the ceiling of the Superdome.
The National Anthem is performed by a New Orleans original, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. We recall Jessica Simpson performing the anthem at the '04 BCS title game versus Oklahoma. Jessica is certainly talented, but it's nice this year to have the anthem performed with a local flavor.
The performance by Ohio State's band was impressive, but the energy generated by the Golden Band from Tigerland during its pregame show is spine-tingling. The first few chords of "Pregame" bring chill bumps to even the most veteran of LSU football observers.
The Ohio State marching band enters the field for its pregame performance. The band begins by spelling OHIO in block letters, then engages in a rousing rendition of "Hang On Sloopy," the official rock song of the state of Ohio. The band then moves into its most famous routine, the formation of "Script Ohio," much to the delight of the thousands of Buckeye fans.
The entire squads for the respective teams have entered the playing field for pregame warmups, with the bandsfrom the respective schools energizing the already large crowd with fight songs. The Golden Band from Tigerland adds a rendition of "Hey Baby" to the festive atmosphere. Just under an hour from kickoff, and the noise is already intimidating. Just a harbinger of events to come when this much-anticipated battle begins.
Had a chance to speak briefly with the legendary Jerry Romig, the P.A. voice of the Superdome for all of its 32-year history. We offer to help him with pronunciations of the LSU players' names as he prepares for the game, but he says the Tigers' names won't be a problem after having to enunciate some of the Hawaii players' names during last week's Sugar Bowl. Mr. Romig brings life to all Superdome events with his infectious enthusiasm.
The Tigers arrrive in the Superdome shortly before 5 p.m. -- thousands of purple-and-gold clad enthusiasts greet the squad as it enters the historic arena, the site of some of the greatest moments in LSU Athletics history. The Tigers appear poised to add another unforgettable episode to LSU's storied football tradition -- the long walk from the team bus to the LSU lockerroom is distinguished only by the players' footsteps. Not a word is spoken as the Tigers enter the locker room, intense, focused and prepared to bring LSU its second BCS title in five seasons.