Skyler Green's game-winner vs. Georgia
Photo by: LSUsports.net, LSU Athletics Publications
Look Back: 10 Years After '03 National Title
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Published: October 09, 2013, 10:00 AM (CT)
Updated: October 09, 2013, 09:54 AM (CT)
by Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette), Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director/SID

BATON ROUGE – It’s been 10 years since LSU claimed the school’s first Bowl Championship Series title and the school will recognize the 2003 team on Saturday in Tiger Stadium.

Over 40 members of the 2003 national championship team will be on hand on Saturday for the halftime ceremony. Among those in attendance will be three team captains from that squad including quarterback Matt Mauck, wide receiver Michael Clayton, and offensive tackle Rodney Reed.

2003 Schedule | Roster

The 2003 team won the LSU’s first national title in 45 years as the Tigers rolled to a 13-1 overall mark and beat top-ranked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, 21-14, to claim the BCS crown.

Among the other highlights that year included a 17-10 win over No. 7 Georgia in Tiger Stadium; a 27-3 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa; a 17-14 win over Eli Manning and 15th-ranked Ole Miss in Oxford that clinched a berth in the SEC title game for the Tigers; and a 34-13 victory over No. 5 Georgia in the league’s title contest that propelled LSU into the national championship game.

The following is a game-by-game recap of all 14 games from the 2003 season. The full recaps written in 2003, along with photo galleries and box scores from each game, can also be found below.

Game 1: LSU's Rolls Past UL-Monroe, 49-7
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

Matt Mauck threw three touchdown passes, Joseph Addai rushed for 81 yards and Michael Clayton caught six passes for 152 yards and a pair of TD passes as LSU rolled to a 49-7 win over Louisiana-Monroe in the season-opener for both teams. The game was only four minutes old when a thunderstorm rolled into Baton Rouge and caused a 39-minute delay because of lightning. After a scoreless first quarter, Mauck then threw three TD passes over the final seven minutes of the second quarter to put the Tigers up 21-0 at halftime. Shyrone Carey added a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter to give LSU a 28-0 advantage and the Tigers stretched the margin to 35-0 with a 31-yard interception return just 16 seconds later. Louisiana-Monroe scored its only points of the contest on a 12-yard run by Kevin Payne with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter. Freshman Alley Broussard capped the scoring for the Tigers with a 1-yard run with 10:39 left in the contest. For the game, the Tigers racked up 474 yards of offense (306 passing, 168 rushing) compared to just 240 yard for the Indians (59 rushing, 181 passing).

Game 2: LSU Storms Past Arizona, 59-13, In The Desert
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

LSU scored on its first seven possessions, including a 15-play, 80-yard drive to open the contest, as the Tigers had little trouble with Arizona, posting a 59-13 win over the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz. Quarterbacks Matt Mauck and Marcus Randall combined to connect on 19 of 25 passes for 299 yards and two TDs and Joseph Addai rushed for 86 yards and a pair of scores to lead the Tigers. Michael Clayton led all receivers with six catches for 109 yards and a 48-yard TD reception. Addai opened the scoring for LSU with a 1-yard run midway through the first quarter. Ryan Gaudet nailed a 47-yard field goal three minutes later and then Addai added an 8-yard TD run less than a minute after Gaudet's field goal to give the Tigers a 17-0 lead. LSU stretched the advantage to 38-0 at halftime, as the Tigers were never threatened in the contest. In all the Tigers, had five rushing TDs, two passing TDs and Skyler Green returned a punt 65 yards for a TD. Arizona scored its first points with 10 minutes left in the contest on a 1-yard fumble return. Defensively, LSU limited the Wildcats to only 182 yards of offense, including just 67 yards in the first half. The Tigers also held Arizona to only 1 of 13 on third-down conversion attempts. The LSU offense racked up 481 yards of offense, 227 on the ground and 299 through the air.

Game 3: Mauck Passes Tigers Past Western Illinois, 35-7
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

LSU QB Matt Mauck connected on 23 of 32 passes for a career-best 305 yards and four TDs as the Tigers overcame a slow start to post a 35-7 win over Western Illinois last Saturday in Tiger Stadium. Shyrone Carey rushed for a career-best 124 yards and a TD to lead the Tiger ground attack, while Michael Clayton hauled in 11 receptions for 162 yards and a score. Defensively, Corey Webster intercepted two passes for the Tigers. On its first possession, LSU marched 58 yards on 10 plays and took a 6-0 lead on a 10-yard pass from Mauck to Clayton. The Tigers, who fumbled twice inside the Western Illinois 15-yard line in the first quarter, led 13-0 at halftime after a 1-yard TD run by Carey. After an on-side kick to start the second half, the Leathernecks cut the deficit to 13-7 on a 3-yard TD pass from Russ Michna to Terrence Hall at the 10:08 mark in the third quarter. It was all LSU from there as Mauck threw TD passes of 8 and 40 yards to Skyler Green to stretch the advantage to 28-7. The Tigers added a final score on a 16-yard TD pass from Mauck to Devery Henderson midway through the fourth quarter.

Game 4: Mauck-To-Green Leads LSU Past No. 7 Georgia, 17-10
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

Matt Mauck connected with Skyler Green for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 1:22 left in the contest as 10th-ranked LSU knocked off seventh-ranked Georgia, 17-10, before a record crowd of 92,251 in Tiger Stadium. The win lifted LSU to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in SEC action and it marked the first Tiger victory over a top 10 team in Tiger Stadium since a 28-21 win over No. 1 Florida in 1997. The Tigers led 7-3 at halftime thanks in part to an outstanding defensive effort by LSU over the first 30 minutes. In the first half alone, Georgia got inside the LSU 30-yard line five times and came up with only three points. Trailing 3-0, the Tigers took a 7-3 lead on a 21-yard run by Shyrone Carey with 3:10 left in the first half. The Tigers extended their margin to 10-3 on a 47-yard field goal by Ryan Gaudet at the 6:23 mark in the third quarter. LSU appeared to have the game in hand, but a fumble by Mauck at the Georgia 15-yard line with less than 5 minutes left gave the Bulldogs another chance. Two players later Georgia's David Greene hit Tyson Browning on a screen pass, which he took 93 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 10-10. Devery Henderson returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to the LSU 49-yard line to setup the game-winning touchdown for the Tigers. Georgia got into LSU territory in the final minute, but an interception by Corey Webster at the 22-yard line sealed the Tiger victory.

Game 5: Opportunistic Tigers Feast on Mississippi State, 41-6
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

LSU turned three Mississippi State turnovers into 21 points and the Tiger defense limited the Bulldogs to only 31 yards rushing as LSU rolled to a 41-6 win in Starkville. After a slow start, LSU took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by Shyrone Carey. Leading 10-0 after a Ryan Gaudet field goal, the Tigers stretched the margin to 17-0 midway through the second quarter on another 1-yard run by Carey.  Carey's second TD was setup by an interception by Jack Hunt, who returned the pick to the MSU 1-yard line. The Tigers led 24-0 at halftime after Travis Daniels returned an interception 48-yards for a TD with less than a minute remaining in the first half. MSU then fumbled on its third play of the second half and the Tigers struck again one play later, this time Matt Mauck connected with Devery Henderson for a 36-yard TD pass to stretch the lead to 31-0. LSU led 34-0 before MSU finally scored with just over 10 minutes left in the contest. For the game, Mauck completed 12 of 19 passes for 171 yards and 1 TD, while Justin Vincent led the Tigers with 58 yards rushing and 1 TD on six carries. Carey added 50 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 13 carries. Henderson led all receivers with a career-best seven receptions for 114 yards and a score. Defensively, the Tigers sacked MSU quarterback Kevin Fant five times and limited the Bulldogs to only 239 yards of offense.

Game 6: Flat Tigers Fall to Florida, 19-7
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

A flat LSU football team couldn't overcome a series of penalties and a key injury to starting running back Joseph Addai as the Tigers dropped their first game of the season to Florida, 19-7, in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers actually scored the first points of the game as Skyler Green, subbing for an injured Shyrone Carey, returned a first quarter punt 80-yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 LSU lead. Florida responded with a 13-play drive to tie the game at 7-7 on a 22-yard pass from Chris Leak to Ran Carthon. The Gators took the lead for good at 10-7 on a 29-yard field goal by Matt Leach at the 3:17 mark in the first quarter. The Gators led 13-7 at halftime after another field goal by Leach. Florida extended its lead to 19-7 on a 35-yard pass from Leak to Ciatric Fason with 5:21 left in the third quarter. The Tigers had a couple of chances to get back in the game negated, one by a penalty and another on a fumble. A penalty wiped out a 42-yard pass from Matt Mauck to Michael Clayton in the third quarter that would have given the Tigers the ball at the Florida 28-yard line. Then late in the fourth quarter with the game still in doubt, Mauck hit Devery Henderson in stride with a pass to the Florida 31-yard line, which he then fumbled away at the UF 14-yard line. For the game, the Tigers sacked Leak six times and forced another Florida turnover on the LSU 1-yard line. Mauck completed 19 of 33 passes for 231 yards and a pair of interceptions, while Leak led Florida with 18 of 30 passing for 229 yards and a pair of scores.

Game 7: Tigers Ride Freshman Running Backs to 33-7 Win Over South Carolina
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

True freshman running backs Justin Vincent, Alley Broussard and Barrington Edwards combined to rush for 222 yards and 2 TDs and quarterback Matt Mauck connected on 24 of 30 passes for 199 yards and 2 scores as 10th-ranked LSU rolled past South Carolina, 33-7, in Columbia. Playing without its two starting running backs in Joseph Addai and Shyrone Carey, who were both out with knee injuries, the Tigers rushed for a season-high 263 yards on 52 carries.  LSU finished with 482 yards off offense, while holding South Carolina to only 254 yards of offense, including zero rushing yards. LSU jumped out to a 19-0 first half lead and never looked back in cruising to the victory. LSU had first half drives of 21-plays and 97 yards and 14-plays and 91 yards that both culminated in touchdowns, the second of which gave LSU a 19-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Vincent just before halftime. South Carolina pulled to within 19-7 after a 77-yard TD early in the third quarter before LSU linebacker Jason LeDoux put the game out of reach with a 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown later in the quarter. Vincent added another 1-yard run midway through the fourth quarter for LSU's final point. Broussard led LSU with 108 yards rushing on 19 attempts, while Vincent had 77 yards and 2 TDs rushing and added another 46 yards receiving on four receptions.

Game 8: LSU Shuts Down Cadillac, Auburn in 31-7 Win
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

In a game that featured the nation's top rushing defense in LSU against one of the best at running the football in Auburn, LSU came out on top, limiting Auburn to 50 yards rushing in a 31-7 win in Tiger Stadium. LSU struck early and often in the game as the Tigers rolled up 21 first half points and never looked back in posting its biggest win over Auburn since a 35-7 victory in 1972.  Matt Mauck connected with Devery Henderson on a 64-yard scoring pass on the sixth play of the game for a 7-0 LSU lead. After the LSU defense stopped Auburn on a fourth-and-one at the 48-yard line, the Tigers needed only six more plays for take a 14-0 advantage as Mauck found Michael Clayton for an 18-yard TD. Alley Broussard capped the first quarter scoring with a 5-yard run for a 21-0 LSU lead, which is where the game stood at halftime. Ryan Gaudet kicked a 33-yard field goal and then Mauck hit Henderson for another TD pass to give the Tigers a 31-0 lead in the third quarter. Auburn, who was held to only 193 yards of offense, scored its only points late in the fourth quarter. For the game, Justin Vincent led the Tigers with 127 yards rushing, while Mauck completed 17 of 28 passes for 224 yards and 3 TDs. Henderson caught 6 passes for 101 yards and 2 TDs, while Clayton had 6 catches for 59 yards and 1 score. The LSU defense limited Cadillac Williams, who was considered a Heisman Trophy Candidate, to 61 yards on 20 carries.

Game 9: LSU Dominates Louisiana Tech in 49-10 Homecoming Win
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

LSU quarterback Matt Mauck completed his first 14 passes, four of which went for touchdowns, as the seventh-ranked Tigers dominated Louisiana Tech in every phase of the game in a 49-10 win over the Bulldogs. For the game, the Tigers racked up a season-high 653 yards of offense - 372 passing, 281 rushing, while holds Tech's high-powered passing attack to only 220 yards. The contest was never in doubt as LSU scored on five of its first six offensive possessions to take a 49-3 lead at halftime. The Tigers led 28-0 after 15 minutes and then tacked on another score just seconds into the second quarter for a 35-0 advantage. Josh Scobee finally got Tech on the board with a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter. LSU followed that with scoring plays of 50 yards on a Mauck to Devery Henderson pass and then a 22-yard TD run by Alley Broussard. For the game, Mauck tied an LSU single-game record by completing 14 straight passes and he set the school-record for completion percentage as he connected on 18 of 20 passes for 311 yards. Broussard led the Tiger ground game with 106 yards and 1 TD on 16 carries, while Barrington Edwards added 66 yards on 11 attempts. Skyler Green led all LSU receivers with nine catches for 103 yards and 1 TD. Defensively, Tiger safety Jack Hunt scored on a 29-yard interception return.

Game 10: Tiger Defense Shuts Down Alabama, 27-3
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

Matt Mauck threw for 251 yards and 2 TDs and LSU's defense limited Alabama to only 65 yards rushing as the third-ranked Tigers dominated the Crimson Tide, 27-3. The Tigers jumped on Alabama early, taking a 10-0 lead on a 23-yard TD pass from Matt Mauck to Michael Clayton. The Tigers, who held the Crimson Tide without a first down in the first quarter, took a 17-0 lead late in the second quarter on a 3-yard TD pass from Mauck to Eric Edwards. The Tigers tacked on another score to run the margin to 24-0 on a 4-yard run by Alley Broussard midway through the third quarter. Chris Jackson added a 33-yard field goal for a 27-0 LSU lead before Alabama's Brian Bostick put the Crimson Tide's only points on the scoreboard with a 27-yard field goal with 6:39 left in the contest. For the game, LSU held Shaud Williams, the SEC's top rusher, to only 29 yards (85 yards below his season average of 114.0 per game). Michael Clayton led all LSU receivers with a career-best 12 catches for 130 yards and 1 score, while the Tigers got a balanced rushing attack with freshmen Justin Vincent rushing for 83 yards on 16 carries and Broussard 79 yards and 1 TD on 11 attempts.

Game 11: LSU Defense Shuts Down Ole Miss and Eli in 17-14 Win
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

LSU's defense lived up to its billing as one of the nation's best as the Tigers shutdown Eli Manning and Ole Miss in a 17-14 win over the 15th-ranked Rebels in Oxford. For the game, the Tigers held the Rebels to only 227 yards of offense and 22 points below their season average. Ole Miss' defense struck first in the contest, picking off a Matt Mauck pass on LSU's first play from scrimmage and returning it 6-yards for a TD and a 7-0 lead just one minute into the contest. LSU pulled to within 7-3 on a 45-yard field goal by Chris Jackson midway through the first quarter and then took the lead for good on a 9-yard pass from Mauck to Michael Clayton just before halftime. The Tigers stretched the lead to 17-7 early in the fourth quarter on a 53-yard TD pass from Mauck to Devery Henderson. Manning then directed the Rebels on a 9-play, 76-yard scoring drive culminating on a 10-yard TD pass from Brandon Jacobs to pull to within 17-14 with 10:51 left. After Ole Miss missed a 36-yard field goal that would have tied the game with 4:15 left, the Tigers went three-and-out on their next possession, turning the ball back over to Rebels. The Tiger defense came up big again, forcing three incomplete passes by Manning before a blitz tripped up the Rebel quarterback on fourth-and-10, turning the ball back over to the Tigers with 1:50 to go. The Tigers ran the clock down to nine seconds before giving Ole Miss one more shot. Manning's desperation pass was knocked down at midfield as time expired.  

Game 12: Tigers Clinch Berth in SEC Championship Game With 55-24 Win Over Arkansas
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

Justin Vincent rushed for 112 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Matt Mauck tied a school-record with 4 TD passes as third-ranked LSU clinched a berth in the SEC Championship game with a 55-24 win over Arkansas. The win was LSU's 11th of the season, tying the school-record set in 1958. The Tigers also won seven SEC games for the first time in school history. After spotting Arkansas an early 7-0 lead, the Tigers battled back, getting a 38-yard field goal from Chris Jackson and then taking a 10-7 lead on a 25-yard fumble return for a TD by Eric Alexander. The Razorbacks tied the game at 10-10 before LSU regained the lead at 17-10 on a 10-yard pass from Mauck to Clayton, which game him a school-record 20 TD receptions. The Hogs tied the game two plays later at 17-17 on a 20-yard run by Cedric Cobbs. From there, it was all LSU as the Tigers closed the half with a 17-0 run to take a 34-17 lead on a 22-yard pass from Mauck to Devery Henderson. The Tigers stretched the margin to 41-17 early in the third quarter on a 37-yard pass from Mauck to David Jones and then increased it once again to 48-17 on a 23-yard run by Vincent. The Tigers got their final points on a 2-yard run by Vincent to stretch the lead to 55-17 late in the third quarter. For the game, LSU piled up 436 yards of offense, including 250 on the ground. Mauck finished 12 of 19 for 186 yards with four TD passes, all going to different receivers. 

Game 13: LSU Overwhelms Georgia, 34-13, to Claim Second SEC Title in Three Years
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

Freshman Justin Vincent rushed for an SEC Championship game record 201 yards and two TDs and the LSU defense dominated fifth-ranked Georgia in every phase of the game in a 34-13 win over the Bulldogs. The win sends LSU to the Sugar Bowl and a national championship game date with Oklahoma. Vincent opened the scoring for the Tigers with an 87-yard run, the longest in SEC title game history, late in the first quarter for a 6-0 LSU lead. The Tigers tackled Georgia's punter in the endzone less than two minutes later for a safety and an 8-0 LSU lead. LSU stretched the margin to 14-0 on a 43-yard TD pass from Matt Mauck to Michael Clayton and then extended the lead to 17-0 on a 35-yard field goal by Ryan Gaudet. The Tigers led 17-3 at halftime. After another Georgia field goal pulled the Dogs to within 17-6 midway through the third quarter, LSU linebacker Lionel Turner picked off a David Greene pass and returned it 18-yards for a TD and a 24-6 Tiger lead to put the game out of reach. Vincent added a 3-yard TD run and Gaudet a 22-yard field goal for the final margin of victory. For the game, LSU's offense racked up 444 yards, including a whopping 293 on the ground. The Tiger defense proved to be the best in the nation, holding Georgia to only 249 yards of offense, with only 50 of those coming on the ground. With constant pressure on Greene all night, the Tigers finished with six sacks and held the Georgia quarterback to only 17 completions on 41 attempts, including a season-high 3 interceptions. Mauck completed 14 of 22 passes for 151 yards and a TD, while Clayton led all receivers with five catches for 81 yards and a score. Vincent earned MVP honors for the game as the Tigers claimed their second SEC title in three years.

Game 14: Tiger Defense Propels LSU To National Title With 21-14 Win Over Oklahoma in Sugar Bowl
Full Recap | Photo Gallery | Box Score

Behind a suffocating defense that limited the nation's top scoring offense to only 154 yards, the Tigers claimed their second national title in football with a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. The victory in the BCS National Championship contest marked LSU's first national title since 1958 and also sent the Tigers, champions of the Southeastern Conference, to a final overall record of 13-1. Running back Justin Vincent earned MVP honors for the game, rushing for 117 yards and one touchdown in leading the Tigers to the victory. Vincent opened the contest with a 64-yard run on the game's first play, opening the door for what appeared to be an early LSU TD. However, quarterback Matt Mauck fumbled the snap on first-and-goal at the 1-yard line to halt the Tiger drive. The Tigers did score on their next possession, which was setup by a Corey Webster interception that gave LSU the ball at the OU 32-yard line. Three plays later, Skyler Green went 24-yards on an end-around, giving the Tigers a 7-0 advantage. The Sooners tied the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Kejuan Jones, which was setup by a blocked punt. The Tigers led 14-7 at halftime following an 18-yard run by Vincent. LSU struck again early in the second half as Marcus Spears returned an interception 20 yards for a TD just 47 seconds into the third quarter, giving the Tigers a 21-7 advantage. A defensive struggle continued for most of the second half before the Sooners pulled to within 21-14 on another 1-yard run by Jones with just over 11 minutes left in the contest. The teams traded possessions for the next five minutes before the Sooners mounted a drive deep inside LSU territory. OU had first-and-10 at the LSU 12-yard line before the Tigers turned the Sooners away on four straight plays, including a fourth-and-10 situation with 2:52 to play. After another three and out for the Tigers on offense, the Sooners had one final chance. However, the Tigers held the Sooners at bay, sacking quarterback Jason White on fourth-and-10 to secure the victory and the school's first national title in football in 45 years. Defensively, linebacker Lionel Turner led LSU with nine tackles, including a pair of sacks, one of which came on the last offensive play of the game for the Sooners. In all, LSU recorded five sacks in the contest and held the Sooners to only 54 yards rushing.

 

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