Dear Tiger Fan,
The college football bowl season is one of the most exciting times of the year, and we’re looking forward to ringing in 2014 with a tremendous opportunity for our players and fans:
NEW YEAR’S DAY IN TAMPA!
We were extremely pleased on Sunday to accept an invitation to the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. Our sincere appreciation goes to Outback Bowl President/CEO Jim McVay and the bowl committee for selecting us to represent the SEC in this prestigious game. We believe the Outback Bowl provides a tremendous experience for our players, who have earned the opportunity to play in a fantastic NFL facility, Raymond James Stadium.
The Tampa area is one of the most beautiful and hospitable places to visit in our country, and I encourage you to purchase Outback Bowl tickets and support the Tigers in a first-class venue on New Year’s Day. Our opponent, the University of Iowa, has a storied football tradition, and this SEC-Big 10 showdown will be one of the most attractive matchups during the bowl season. This will be our football program’s first trip to Tampa in 25 years, and I’m certain it will be a rewarding experience for the Fighting Tigers and our devoted fans.
I know you will join me in congratulating our senior quarterback and team leader, Zach Mettenberger, on a tremendous LSU career. Unfortunately, Zach won’t be able to play in the Outback Bowl due to the injury he suffered in the Arkansas game; however he is on track for a full recovery and the opportunity to begin his NFL career this spring. And, I’m very pleased to add that Zach will receive his LSU degree next week during fall commencement ceremonies.
Zach became this season just the third player in LSU history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a single year, and he finished his career with the Tigers ranked in the top 10 in six passing categories. He is the only player in LSU history to throw for 2,500 or more yards in back-to-back seasons and he finished his career with a 19-6 record as a starter.
Zach’s statistics are impressive, certainly, but his impact on our program is also measured by the respect he earned from his teammates and coaches as a fearless leader always willing to place the needs of the team ahead of his own. We eagerly look forward to following Zach’s progress as he embarks upon the next stage of his life.
How about the performance of freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings at the end of the Arkansas game? He calmly stepped in after Zach’s injury and led the Tigers on a brilliant, 99-yard game-winning touchdown drive capped by a 49-yard TD pass to fellow freshman Travin Dural with just 1:15 left on the clock.
The Jennings-Dural connection symbolizes the wealth of young talent Coach Miles and his staff have assembled into our program. The potential of a blockbuster signing class in February combined with the volume of experienced players returning for next season solidifies LSU’s standing as a perennial championship contender.
HOOPS HEATING UP
A quick note about our dynamic men’s and women’s basketball teams, who are taking final exams this week -- both squads are off to strong starts and will play host to games in the Maravich Center throughout the month of December.
Coach Johnny Jones and the men’s team take on UL-Monroe at 7 p.m. Saturday in the PMAC. The Tigers’ fast-paced style of play on both ends of the floor is highly entertaining, and the team has already displayed its ability to compete with some of the top programs in the country, including UMass, Memphis and Butler.
Coach Nikki Caldwell and the 13th-ranked Lady Tigers, who advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 last season, have won seven of their first eight games and return to the PMAC on December 17 versus Florida Gulf Coast. I encourage you to support our basketball teams throughout the season as they continue their drives toward March Madness.
I hope each of you in the coming weeks experience peace, joy and the love of family and friends. All of us involved with LSU Athletics sincerely appreciate your devotion to the Fighting Tigers. Thank you for your support throughout the year, and especially during this holiday season.
As always, we welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately we cannot answer every e-mail we receive, but please be assured they are all read.
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics