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Origin of "The Rag"

Bernie Moore

Pinky Rohm

Bob Kellogg

From 1917-1931, Tulane beat LSU ten times with one tie to only three victories by the Purple and Gold.
  • But the tide turned starting in 1932. LSU won four of the next six against the Greenies with one tie.
  • The powerhouses that Bernie Moore developed in 1935 and '36 walloped the Green Wave by a combined 74-0 score.

Before the 1937 game in New Orleans, the captains of the two teams made a pact that started a new tradition for the annual clash.

  • RB Pinky Rohm was acting captain for LSU for the game. The annual finale had special meaning for him because he was from the Crescent City (Fortier High School).
  • Before the toss of the coin, Pinky made a deal with Tulane's co-captains Norman Buckner and Norman Hall. We agreed the captain of the winning team could cut out the seat of the other captain's pants as a souvenir.
  • When LSU won 20-7, Rohm went to the Tulane dressing room to claim not his pound of flesh but his square of cloth. While dodging cleats thrown at him by the Greenies, Pinky borrowed a pair of scissors from the Tulane trainer and removed the seat of Hall's football trousers. The LSU captain preserved the patch, which became a forerunner of what became known as "The Rag."

LSU-Tulane action 1938
Tulane ended LSU's three-game winning streak by upending the Tigers 14-0 in Tiger Stadium in 1938.
  • The star of the game was Green Wave RB Bob "Jitterbug" Kellogg, who wanted to play for LSU but was deemed "too small" by Bernie Moore and his staff. Another explanation is that Moore did not want married players on his team.
  • Kellogg gained 131y in 21 carries - more yardage than all the LSU backs combined. He scored one TD, kicked two PATs, threw Tulane's only completed pass that set up the Wave's first TD, played S superbly, and returned four kicks 51y.

Opening of north end zone in Tiger Stadium for Tulane game of 1938.
The picture at the left shows the African-American seating area in Tiger Stadium.

Tommy O'Boyle, who would be Tulane head coach

Jabbo Stell

Bernie Smith

Young Bussey
But the enduring story of the game was the free-for-all that broke out at the end.
  • Feelings were high and play rough from the beginning. At one point, linemen Tommy O'Boyle of Tulane and Jabbo Stell were ejected for fisticuffs.
  • With 35 seconds left and the outcome no longer in doubt, the Green Wave ran a play up the middle. LSU's Bruce Hedrick slugged the Greenie back and was ejected. LSU was penalized 30y.
  • On the next play, Bernie Smith blocked LSU back Young Bussey. Smith said afterward: After I blocked Bussey, he took a pass at me, and he knocked my headgear mask into my mouth and broke a couple of front teeth. When I found myself with a mouthful of teeth, I got mad and took a poke at Bussey. The next thing I knew everybody was throwing punches.
  • Players on both sidelines went onto the field. Soon a couple of dozen scraps were going on at the same time.
  • Both coaching staffs as well as the officials, LSU cadet officers, and state police tried to halt the hostilities. After five minutes of milling, order was restored. The officials called the two elevens together to insist on calmness so the game could be completed.
  • When the game ended, the Tulane and LSU players shook hands.

Fight for the goal posts
But then another battle broke out, this one involving the fans.
  • A mob of Tulanians jumped out of the stands and made a beeline for the north goal posts to tear them down. They were met by a score of LSU followers.
  • One reporter estimated that as many as 100 fights broke out around the goal posts, which were finally torn down by the determined Green Wave fans.
  • Several renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner" by the Tiger band failed to halt the fisticuffs. The P.A. announcer begged, Please leave the stadium. Time and tide and trains wait for no man.
  • An estimated 1000 of the crowd of 38,000 was involved in the melee as were mascots, cheerleaders, and water boys. The battle ebbed and flowed from one end of the field to the other.
  • Bernie Moore watched the fracas from the tunnel at the north end of the stadium. There must have been 15,000 people on the field throwing punches. ... One thing I'll never forget. When the fighting was at its peak, a little blond cheerleader ran out of the m illing throng over to where I was standing. "Coach," she told me, "ain't we having fun?" Then she turned right around and ran back to join those crazy folks.
  • Fighting continued until moonlight, with small skirmishes continuing with frozen sugarcane sticks in the fields south of the stadium.
  • Bill Keefe of the Times-Picayune called it one of the roughest games ever played between the two teams - a game which wound up in the most disgraceful exhibition of hoodlumism that ever marred this annual contest which, for years, has been a clean and sportsmanlike affair.
The student leaders of the two universities agreed that something must be done to prevent future outbreaks of violence. So they agreed on a proclamation that made these points for the annual clash:
  • The football field is neutral and off limits to students.
  • A rectangular flag of purple and blue cloth bearing the Louisiana seal would be awarded to the winner.
  • The presentation would take place at a banquet of the two student councils after the game.
Originally, the new trophy was referred to as the "truce flag." But after a 1942 free-for-all (not as violent as the one in '38), the prize was called "The Rag," and that stuck.

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Tiger Den Archives – I

First LSU Football Game
One-Game Sensation
Tigers Invade Ebbets Field
Dazzling Debut: Tommy Hodson
Streak Buster: LSU vs Alabama 1993
Dazzling Debut: Cecil Collins
Tiger First: Notre Dame Game
Memorable Game: Alabama 1945
Tiger First: UAB Game

Tiger Den Archives – II

Origin of the Chinese Bandits
Leave Coach Dietzel Alone!
Six Straight TD Catches
How Addai Ended Up at LSU
LSU AD on His Coaches
Pro Football Hall of Famers
Streak Buster: UNC 1949
Streak Buster: Alabama 1982

Tiger Den Archives – III

First College Replay
Memorable Game: Tulane 1949
Profile: Robert Dugas
First Big Ten Opponent
Profile: Michael Mahtook
Memorable Game: Tulane 1965
Profile: Alvin Roy
Memorable Game: Ole Miss 1959
Interesting Story: Andre Lafleur

Tiger Den Archives – IV

Firsts: Victory, Home Victory, Winning Season
You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
First NFL Draftee
It's a Miracle!
Dazzling Debut: Alvin Dark
Dazzling Debut: Charlie McClendon
Memorable Game: Tulane 1972
Memorable Game: Tennessee 2000
Dynamic Duo

Tiger Den Archives – V

LSU Lost a Game and a Coach
The Night Big Ben Came to Tiger Stadium
Profile: Tommy Casanova
Profile: Richard Dickson
Memorable Game: Oregon 1932
Buckeyes First LA Invasion
From Braces to All-America
Memorable Game: Georgia 1935
"The Year of the Extra Point"
Brodhead Takes Over

Tiger Den Archives – VI

First Southern Team to Fly to a Game
Memorable Game: Florida State 1991
7-0 in 1973
Profile: John Ed Bradley
Super Bowl Bengals
Recruiting Tales
Memorable Game: Tulane 1937
Scoreless String
Profile: Dub Jones

Tiger Den Archives – VII

Dietzel Returns
Profile: Bert Jones
Largest Crowd in SEC History
Win One for the Bear
Profile: Ken Kavanaugh
Why Didn't He Go to Florida?
No Married Players

Tiger Den Archives – VIII

First Appearance of Mascot Mike
Faust Fever
Profile: Alvin Dark
"LSU is not a class team"
Saban's First Rematch
But Did He Beat Tulane?

Tiger Den Archives – IX

"Give Them My Regards in Baton Rouge"
"Football Is Strictly an Afternoon Game"
When Washington Came to Baton Rouge
Tigers vs Badgers I & II | Profile: Y.A. Tittle

Tiger Den Archives – X

Streak Buster: LSU @ Auburn 1970
Dazzling Debut: Coach Jerry Stovall
Profile: Leonard Fournette
Terry Bradshaw: "I know how it all got started."
Profile: Young Bussey I-VI

Tiger Den Archives – XI

Commodore Surprise
Incredible Five Quarters
Dietzel and McClendon
First Bluegrass Miracle

LSU Bowl Games

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