Look Back: 1968 Peach Bowl

Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

LSU 31, #19 Florida State 27

LSU fumbled the opening kickoff and spotted 19th-ranked Florida State an early 13-0 lead as the Tigers, under head coach Charles McClendon, played in the inaugural Peach Bowl (now Chick-fil-A) on Dec. 30, 1968 at Grant Field in Atlanta. LSU needed a late fourth-quarter touchdown to beat the Seminoles as the Tigers won a bowl game for the fifth time in six tries under McClendon to finish 8-3 overall in 1968.

Florida State scored on its first offensive play of the game after recovering an LSU fumble on the opening kickoff as the Seminoles built a 13-0 lead early in the second quarter. LSU seized the momentum when Craig Burns returned a punt 39 yards for a touchdown leading to 24 unanswered points for the Tigers.

LSU built a 24-13 lead going into the fourth quarter before Florida State scored TDs on back-to-back possessions, the last coming after another LSU fumble on a kickoff return, to regain the advantage at 27-24 with six minutes left.

From there, LSU's Mike Hillman guided the Tigers on a 9-play, 61-yard drive, which included completing a 20-yard pass to Tommy Morel on 3rd-and-19 at the Florida State 37-yard line. LSU scored two plays later when Maurice LeBlanc punched across what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with just over two minutes left, giving the Tigers a 31-27 lead. LSU forced Florida State to turn the ball over on downs on its following possession as LSU was able to run out the clock to clinch the 31-27 win over the 19th-ranked Seminoles.

Following the game, McClendon said, "that punt return certainly gave us momentum... but we wanted to come up with a balanced offense. I think we beat them at their own game. (Tommy) Morel came up with a great catch on that last scoring drive and our offensive line did a tremendous job when we needed clutch yardage.

"This win meant a lot to me and my staff, and I will always be proud of this squad. The Peach Bowl did a wonderful job entertaining our kids and our kids did a wonderful job of entertaining the people here tonight."




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