Slice of History: LSU Football

A collection of articles from the past about important sports events.

You Thought Les Miles Was the First Grass-Eating LSU Coach?
While doing research for the Tiger Den article on the 1935 LSU-Arkansas game in my next football magazine, I ran across this passage in the book The Louisiana Tigers: LSU Football by Dan Hardesty (1975) about Coach Bernie Moore (1935-1947).

"There was a standing joke around Tigertown for years that the groundskeeper had to replant the grass in front of the LSU bench every season because Bernie Moore ate it! During each game, he would pace for awhile and then stoop and pick a blade of grass and stick it between his teeth. Nobody ever saw him swallow it, but he did pull many a blade of grass, never consciously aware of doing so."

Here's two stories from October 1935 that I ran across in online newspaper files.

Says Football Will Be Dead Within 20 Years
(By the Associated Press)
Lexington KY, 10/18/35
A prediction that intercollegiate football will be "as dead as the dodo bird" within 20 years was made by Dr. William R. Embree of Chicago, president of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, in an address today before faculty members and students of the University of Kentucky.
He declared professional athletes would be engaged to carry on professional sports and said that an encouraging sign was the rapidly spreading rebellion of undergraduates against the prime emphasis of football.
The speaker's subject was "How to Distinguish College Men from Birds and Fishes," and he based his talk on the Southern description of an ideal man as "a gentleman, a scholar and a judge of good liquor." Analyzing the phrase as it relates to the educated man, Embree said that "insofar as this phrase has sunk into neglect in the South, the South has sunk into mediocrity."

"I Won't Pitch for $15," Says Dean and Walks Out on 200 Ball Fans
by Clifton Dreyfus (New Orleans Times-Picayune 10/19/35)
Everything went wrong at Heinemann Park Friday.
"Dizzy" Dean, scheduled to pitch for a group of all-stars against "Big Boy" Brown of the New York Yankees and his team of local semipros, refused to go out on the mound when only a couple of hundred fans showed up.
Then when the teams played without him they had to quit after five innings because they ran out of baseballs.
Dean had just come in from Chattanoogs where he "ran out" on a game there because he was to receive only $40 for his efforts. Here he would have gotten only $15.65.
"I'll not take a chance on hurting my arm for any $10 or $15," he said.
He, at least, got in uniform but when he walked out to the stands, took a look around and his wife asked, "Where'll we sit?" he answered, "In the hotel in 20 minutes."
The Cardinal ace apparently doesn't pay much attention to players in the American League. He was asked what he thought about the two New Orleans stars in the big leagues.
"Who do you mean," questioned "Diz."
"Well, Zeke Bonura for one."
"I never heard of him," replied Dean.
"He plays first base for the Chicago White Sox," he was told.
"Well, I never saw him play," said the Cardinal ace.
"How about Mel Ott?" someone asked.
"He's a nice player," was all Dean would say.
"Where are you going when you leave here," one reporter asked Dean.
"Dallas," was his reply.
A few seconds later another reporter arrived and asked him where he was going next.
"Longview," said "Diz."
"How did your tour go?" Dean was asked.
"O.K. I drew 20,000 people in New York, 6000 in Springfield and did all right in the other towns - all except Chattanooga and New Orleans. They are the two lousiest towns I ever played in."
"What do you mean, played in?"
But the dizzy one had gone.

The Only Time LSU Faced Chattanooga on the Gridiron
As LSU prepares to face Chattanooga 9/9/17, we recall the first time the teams met. Notice the size of the crowd.
Sunday, November 7, 1954
Bayou Bengals Beat Scrappy Moccasins
 Tigers Struggle Hard for 26-19 Triumph
 by Pete Baird
TIGER STADIUM - LSU won a strange and ex­citing 26-19 game from Chattanooga's veno­mous Moccasins Saturday night before 11,000 chilly patrons. After taking a 19 to 0 lead the Bengals were pushed around in the fourth quarter for 19 points. Then, realizing the tremendous importance of pulling this one out of the fire, LSU went 78 yards for the winning touchdown, Al Doggett passing to Vince Gon­zales for 13 yards and the payoff punch.
The aerial game stood the Tigers in very good stead. Two long throws set up the first two Purple touchdowns, one in the first quarter and one in the second. After that LSU re­covered a fumbled pass from the Mocassin center on a punt play to make the third TD almost a certainty.
With that lead the fans could relax and watch an impressive show of 44 high school bands playing with the Tiger musicians. But close observers knew the home team had been very fortunate and that the Mocassins were doing a lot more than showed up on the scoreboard.
Coming out for the third quarter it looked like Gus Tinsley's boys would run up some more points as they moved down to the Chatta­nooga four, but that was the last Tiger threat for a long time.
The Mocassins took over, and starting with a long pass from QB Bobby Case to E Bill Staudenmaier, marched to the LSU 36 as the quarter ended.
Then the fun - for Chattanooga - started. QB Dick Durham ran and directed the others down to the LSU 8, and he passed to Stau­denmaier for the TD.
Right afrer that Doggett tried a pass but a Mocassin enjoying a great night - No. 71 C Abe Cohen, intercepted it on the Tiger 35 and returned it five yards. The fired-up Moc­assins rushed and passed to the ten, from where HB Jerry Ward ran through the center for the second Chattanooga score.
Still hot, the Tennesseeans took a Tiger punt at midfield and returned to the Tiger 43. Two plays later a 33-yard pass from Durham to Staudenmaier went to the LSU three. In two sneaks Durham, behind Abe Cohen, jammed on over to make it 19-19.

LSU FB Jerry Adams (L) defends a Mocassin pass.

That was bad - for LSU. The Tigers knew it, and started hustling like mad. They were not to be held, and moved 78 yards, aided by one 15-yard penalty for roughing, to the winning points.
Getting those first 19 points might have caused an LSU let down, and they had a mighty tough time coming back - but they made it.
Luck was with them at the start. A 47-yard pass from Doggett to end John Wood carried to the Mocassin one in the opening quarter and Dog­gett sneaked it over.
In the second Matt Burns, who had replaced Doggett, pitched one for 34 yards to Sammy Murphy, left end that took the ball to the Chattanooga 14. Joe May made two good runs as the Tigers rammed to the two, and Dick Prescott found a big hole at LT for the second Tiger touchdown.
The third came after Murphy recovered a fumble by punter Billy Carter of Chattanooga and it was LSU's ball on the Mocassin one. Don Stinson plunged over for the 19-0 lead.

L-R: Gaynell Tinsley, Al Doggett, Dick Prescott
The 1954 Tigers finished the season with a 5-6 record, his third losing season in the last five. That was enough for new LSU AD Jim Corbett to terminate Tinsley after seven seasons at his alma mater, where he was an All-American end from 1934 through 1936. Corbett then hired Paul Dietzel, who put LSU back at the top of the SEC in his seven seasons in Tigertown.
The Last Time LSU Faced Texas Tech on the Gridiron
This was posted right before LSU played Texas Tech in the 2015 Advocare V100 Texas Bowl.
Baton Rouge Advocate Sunday, October 6, 1957
Booming Billy Cannon Paces LSU to Unimpressive Win over Tech
 Hard-Trying Raiders Lose Out by 19 to 14
 by Bud Montet
LUBBOCK, Tex., Oct. 5 - Booming Billy Can­non, the Tiger back who likes lots of running room, sparked the Bengals of LSU to an un­impressive 19 to 14 victory over a hard­driving Texas Tech Red Raider eleven here tonight before 16,000 fans.
Handling the ball in the first half like an Arkansas integration problem, both teams combined for 11 fumbles and lost posses­sion six times as they stumbled to a 7-all deadlock.
However, in the second half both managed to hang onto the ball and stage a sen­sational scoring spree for the small turnout of fans, with Cannon providing the brilliance for LSU with two long touchdown jaunts, one a 59-yard pass play from J. W. "Red" Brodnax, and another scoring play, a 97­yard runback of a kickoff early in the fourth period.
In addition, Cannon proved a passer tonight as he took pitchouts and threw the ball with surprising accuracy, hitting on two of four heaves for 31 yards.
Cannon led the Bengals in rushing with 36 yards in 13 tries and caught one heave for 59 yards.
In the first half, the two elevens almost re­fused to score as they failed to hold the ball. However, late in the opening quarter, Texas Tech managed to stage a 75-yard driive in 10 plays to score with Floyd Cole breaking over the right side of the line for five yards and the tally. The Raiders' Jerry Bell kicked the placement to give Texas Tech a 7-0 lead.
LSU Threatens
came back to threaten twice early in the second period when they twice re­covered fumbles deep in Raider territory.
After failing twice, the Bengals drove 32 to score with two passes figuring in the drive. Turner tossed 16 yards to Brodnax to get the drive under way and on fourth down Turner hit Johnny Robinson for 16 yards and the first Tiger score.
Jimmy Taylor's kick tied the score at 7 to 7 and the half ended that way.
Coming out for the second half of play, the elevens seemed to have settled down and forgot to fling the ball with wild abandon to the wind and both staged several threats.
Midway through the third period, LSU got the ball on their 26 when a Texas Tech threat failed and LSU took over on downs.
After Taylor gained 13 yards, Brodnax hit Cannon with a flip pass at the midfield stripe and the fleet Bengal broke down the side­line and made several Tech defenders miss him as he sped 59 yards, barely missing the sidelines a half foot as he ambled along.
LSU brought trouble upon themselves fol­lowing the kickoff when Tech mounted a drive with a Bell-to-Jimmy Knox heave go­ing for a first at midfield and LSU drawing a 15-yard penalty to put the ball on their 34.
The Raiders then smashed at the Tiger line in short smashes to go to the three as the quarter ended. The Ben­gals held twice as big 232-pound Gene Bentley tore at center. But on third down Bell dove over and this time Mil­ton Vaughn kicked the placement and the Raiders led again, 14 to 13.
Cannon Roars
And this time Cannon again broke the Rai­ders' back as he stepped back to the three to gather in the kickoff and raced down the middle behind good blocking. Breaking away into the clear at the 30, Cannon easily out­distanced the field as he sped 97 yards for the third Tiger score and the winning tally.
Taylor again missed a kick but LSU led, 19 to 14, with 14 minutes left in the game.
Tech was never able to get within Tiger ter­ritory in the final period but late in the game the Bengals pushed to the Rai­der five yard line after little Win Turner intercepted a pass on his 36 and returned it to the 43.
LSU moved down to the 33 for a first down and a couple of plays later Cannon tossed 29 yards to Brodnax for another first at the Raider five.
However, on the final play of the game, Cannon's pass into the end zone was inter­cepted by Bell, who ran it back to the 23 before being hauled down.
LSU's vaunted ground attack had trouble operating as the Raiders utilized a shifting seven and eight-man line throughout the night and consistently outcharged the Ti­gers in the first half.
Tech outgained the Tigers, 204 yards to 147 on the ground, but LSU's surprise pass­ing attack accounted for 137 yards to 82 for the home eleven.

Billy Cannon in action vs Texas Tech on defense and offense