Tiger Bowl Games

1936 Sugar Bowl

LSU's Season

  • Bernie Moore's first LSU squad lost its opener to Rice, 10-7, then won the remaining nine to win the Southeastern Conference crown.
  • Moore's star was triple-threat TB Gus Mickal, who would soon become LSU's first NFL draftee.
  • The Tigers pitched five shutouts: Manhattan (32-0 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn), Auburn (6-0), at Georgia (13-0), Southwestern Louisiana (56-0), and at Tulane (41-0).
  • The mathematical system of economics professor Frank Dickinson ranked the Tigers #4. The United Press International sportswriters' poll placed LSU #7. (The Associated Press would start its poll the following season.)
  • As a result, LSU received the school's first bowl bid ever. They would play their second straight game at Tulane Stadium, this one on New Year's Day against TCU in the second edition of the Sugar Bowl.

The Opponent

  • In his second season in Fort Worth, Dutch Meyer coached the Horned Frogs to an 11-1 record. One of the victories came in New Orleans, 14-0 over Loyola. A battle of unbeatens for the Southwest Conference championship on November 30 resulted in a 20-14 SMU victory that sent the Mustangs to the Rose Bowl and the Frogs to the Sugar. It was TCU's first post-season game.
  • Dickinson's final standings – he didn't recalculate after the bowl games – pegged TCU #8. Amazingly, the Frogs didn't make the Top 25 in the UPI vote.
  • Known as an innovator in the passing game, Meyer had the ideal QB to run his system. Sammy Baugh threw for 1,293y on 101 completions and 19 TD.

Pre-game Prospects

  • Even if the heavy rains that had fallen for three days stopped before the 1:30 kickoff, the field would at least be sloppy, which concerned Meyer.

    It's going to be a great game. I hate for us to have to play on a slippery field—and we haven't played in the mud in two seasons. I am afraid the wet ball will hurt our chances. Sam Baugh may be able to throw them, but the catching will be tough.

  • TCU averaged three pounds more per man than LSU. However, the Tigers fielded the deeper squad, with "three first rate backfields and two lines of near equal strength." On the other side, only 16 of TCU's 27 players saw regular action.
  • The game would feature two All-American players in Gaynell Tinsley, LSU's powerful end, and Darrell Lester, TCU's husky C who had been selected to the mythical team for the second time.
 1936 Sugar Bowl
1936 Sugar Bowl game in progress

The Game

  • 35,000, the largest crowd ever for a sporting event in Louisiana, braved the chilly, damp conditions. Rain began falling as the second half began and continued throughout the rest of the contest. As the Sugar Bowl's web site says, "Considering everything, the crowd may have witnessed the finest touchdown-less game ever played, complete with multiple goal-line stands."
  • Q1: TCU showed more offense in the scoreless first quarter. George Kline rambled 38y to LSU's 37, but the play was called back for offside. On the next snap, Baugh, who was subjected to a fierce Tiger rush all afternoon, passed to L. D. Meyer for 16y to the Frog 37. Then HB Jim Lawrence dashed 26y to put the ball back on the LSU 37. But J. T. "Rock" Reed intercepted a fourth down pass and returned to the 24. On the next play, he bolted to the 48. But after several short gains, Mickal quick-kicked to the Frog 7. After another exchange of punts, Baugh, one of the greatest punters in football history, quick-kicked 68y to LSU's 12. LSU moved out to the 33 as the period ended.
  • Q2: The day's only points were put on the scoreboard in this period. The punting duel continued with LSU enjoying field position advantage. Crass booted the ball out of bounds on the TCU 6. Not taking any chances, Baugh immediately punted back to George "Junior" Bowman at midfield. He returned the ball to the 18. On third and four, Bill Crass tossed a beautiful pass to E Jeff Barrett who caught it on the 7 and was pulled down on the 3. Crass hit the line twice, then threw incomplete to Jesse Fatherree. Finally, on fourth down, 168lb G Tracy Kellow stopped Crass at the one-foot line. On first down, Baugh dropped back to pass but, pressured by Tinsley, stepped on the end line for a safety. With a chance to regain good field position, LSU received the free kick on its 40. But the key break of the game occurred on the next play when Ernest Seago, a graduate of the same Temple TX high school as Baugh, fumbled, and Willie Walls recovered for TCU on the LSU 45. Finally free from the shadow of its own goal, the Frogs struck quickly. Lawrence crossed up the Tiger D by passing to Walls who was tackled by Bowman on the 13. When the D held for three downs, Taldon Manton kicked a FG from the 28 into the teeth of a brisk northern wind. After several more exchanges of kicks, the half ended. Baugh explained years later:

    I held the ball, and I believe I was more nervous than Taldon was. The kick was ... on the order of a line drive ... at first I thought it might go wide to the right ... but it stayed inside the posts.

TCU Field Goal 1936 Sugar Bowl
Winning FG in 1936 Sugar Bowl
  • Q3: LSU received the kickoff, but Mickal quick-kicked to the 4. Baugh immediately punted back to LSU's 45. Two plays put the ball on TCU's 31, but Baugh intercepted Mickal's pass on his own 16. Late in the period, Abe tossed a "pretty pass" to Barrett for 27y to the LSU 44. But TCU held and traded possessions with the Tigers for the remainder of the quarter.
  • Q4: The United Press reported, "The players on both sides were smeared with mud and hard to recognize as it began to grow dark." Following Bernie Dumas' recovery of Baugh's fumble, LSU mounted a drive that resulted in a first-and-goal on the 8. From there, Bowman swept end for six. But Crass, in two attempts, lost 3. Moore eschewed the FG – possibly because of the rain and muddy field. Instead, Mickal passed to Barrett, but Manton knocked it down to end the immediate threat. Baugh punted out of bounds on his 32, giving LSU another chance to take the lead. But on the next play, Bowman fumbled and TCU recovered back at the Tiger 46. On third down, Baugh crashed through LT and reversed his field all the way to the 4. An unnecessary roughness penalty advanced the ball to the 1. But here the LSU forward wall of Marvin Stewart, Ernest Seago, Justin Rukas, and Tinsley rose up and denied the Frogs the prize. Manton lost 3 yd, Lawrence gained nothing, and Baugh passed into the EZ, where three Tigers knocked it away. On fourth down, HB Vic Montgomery tried an E sweep but lost 7. LSU needed to travel 93y with 5 minutes remaining. But, indicative of the offensive philosophy of the day, Mickal kicked to midfield. After three plays, Baugh punted into the EZ. On first down, Harold McClure intercepted Abe's pass on the 35, returning it 10y. The game ended a minute later.


  • Baugh averaged 46 yd on his 14 punts, an amazing figure considering the weather conditions. LSU punted 13 times for a 45y average, including a 65-yarder by Mickal and Crass's 64-yarder.
  • The total offense marks were almost identical: 169-165 LSU. The Tigers led in first downs 9-6.
  • Coach Meyer: "My conclusion of the game was that the slippery field eliminated at least 30 percent of the offensive power of both teams." He called the game "the finest I've ever seen played in the rain."

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1936 Sugar Bowl Program

Coach Bernie Moore
Bernie Moore

Abe Mickal, LSU TB
Abe Mickal

Coach Dutch Meyer, TCU
Dutch Meyer

Sammy Baugh, TCU QB
Sammy Baugh

Gaynell Tinsley, LSU All-American E
Gaynell Tinsley

Darrell Lester, TCU G
Darrell Lester

L. D. Meyer, TCU
L. D. Meyer

Jim Lawrence, TCU HB
Jim Lawrence

Jess Fatherree
Jesse Fatherree

1937 Sugar Bowl

For the second straight year, the Tigers traveled down Airline Highway to appear in the Sugar Bowl. The opponent in the third annual New Year's Day classic would be the Santa Clara Broncos from the San Francisco Bay Area.

LSU's Season

  • Spurred by their new mascot, a Royal Bengal Tiger named "Mike"after trainer Mike Chambers, LSU won the Southeastern Conference Championship with a 6-0 conference record and finished 9-0-1 overall.
  • The tie came in the second game at Texas 6-6. Bernie Moore's charges won all their other games by at least 12 points.
  • The Tigers rock-ribbed D, led by two-time All-American and AP first team All-SEC E Gaynell "Gus" Tinsley and All-SEC G Wardell "Rube" Leisk, gave up only 34 points all year.
  • The Tigers' 281 points - greatly inflated by 93 against Southwestern Louisiana (today's ULL) - led the nation.
  • One ranking system, the 1932 brainchild of Paul Williamson, a New Orleans geologist, rated the Tigers #1 in the nation. (In recent years, Jeff Sagarin's computer system retroactively put LSU in the top spot also.)
  • LSU ranked #2 behind Minnesota in the brand new AP poll, which conducted its final vote before the bowl games. Since the Big Ten prohibited its teams from playing post-season games, the Tigers had no chance to leapfrog Minnesota in those polls that revoted or recalculated after January 1.
  • Seven of the 1936 Bayou Bengals would play pro football: Backs Pat Coffee (two years), Bill Crass (one), Bill May (two), Joe "Rock" Reed (two), and linemen Ben Friend (one), Leisk (one), and Tinsley (three). Tinsley would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956, two years after Coach Moore.
1936 LSU Forward Wall
1936 LSU Forward Wall
(L-R): John Mihalic, Paul Carroll, Oscar Matlock, Moose Stewart, Wardell Leisk, Eddie Gatto, Gus Tinsley

Coach Bernie Moore, LSU
Coach Bernie Moore in later years as SEC Commissioner










LSU 1936
Ole Miss
Mississippi State
Southwestern Louisiana

Santa Clara 1936
San Francisco
San Jose State
St. Mary's
Loyola (Los Angeles)

The Opponent

  • The Broncos of first-year coach Lawrence "Buck" Shaw finished the season ranked #6 by the AP. His squad won seven of eight games, all against West Coast teams except one. The common opponent with LSU with Auburn, whom the Tigers defeated by 13 and the Broncs by 12. The only loss came in the last game against TCU and its QB "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh, the same team that had defeated LSU in the 1936 Sugar Bowl.
  • Shaw's D went LSU's one better by yielding only 22 points.
  • On O, they used the "Notre Dame system" (sometimes called "The Notre Dame Box"). In this single wing approach, the QB had to be the best blocker on the team. In spring practice with his new team, "Silver Fox" Shaw discovered that rising senior FB Nello Don "Flash" Falaschi was the greatest blocker on the squad. So he moved him to QB where he would get to run and pass as well.
  • Buck selected 5'8" 185 lb G Chuck Pavelko to take Falaschi's place at FB.
  • The Broncs line was anchored by All-Pacific-Coast G Dick Bassi and 220 lb T Lee Artoe.
Falaschi (four years), Bassi (six), Artoe (seven), T Bob McGee (one), and C Phil Dougherty (one) would play in the National Football League and the All-America Football Conference. Falaschi was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971, one year before Coach Shaw.


  • Some oddsmakers established the Tigers as 5 to 1 favorites, thereby enraging both the Broncos as well as the West Coast media, who promised that Santa Clara would give a good account of themselves.
  • All signs pointed to a defensive struggle between two opponents "boasting rugged lines and husky, hard-blocking backs."
  • Shaw took his team to Houston for two days of training December 29-30 before boarding a train to Bay St. Louis MS where they would conduct a light workout and spend New Year's Eve at St. Stanislaus College to avoid the New Year's Eve revelry in the Big Easy. The head football coach at SSC, "Wop" Glover, "Tulane's great HB who stole a Rose Bowl show from the Trojans a few years ago, greeted the Broncs on their arrival."
  • When Shaw stepped off the train from Houston and peered into the low-hanging clouds at Bay St. Louis, he grinned. "We've had the same kind of weather from California to Louisiana." According to the AP writer, "Clouds lessened the hopes of Louisiana State, prepared to base their offensive on the kicking and passing of Pat Coffee, sharp-shooting blond-haired fullback."
  • Moore kept his boys in Baton Rouge until the morning of the game. The night before, he sent them to a movie, then told the press:

    We are ready. We have no injuries and will have no alibis. We are going to do our best and, if we lose, Santa Clara will just be the better team. A slippery ball would hurt our chances, for we have counted heavily on our passing attack to open up that big Santa Clara line.

  • Moore planned to use Bill Crass, "noted 'mudhorse' FB," in the event of a soggy field. The front that passed through on New Year's Eve and brought needed rain to end the unseasonably muggy weather ushered in cool, clear weather.
  • A record crowd of 42,000 was expected to see the teams battle on "the rain-softened turf" of Tulane Stadium where LSU thumped the Green Wave 31-0 November 30.

Coach Buck Shaw, Santa Clara
Coach Buck Shaw

"Flash" Falaschi, Santa Clara
"Flash" Falaschi

Charles Pavelko, Santa Clara
Chuck Pavelko

1937 Sugar Bowl Program

Starting Lineups
Santa Clara
Norman Finney (sr)
Gaynell Tinsley (sr)
Robert McGee (sr)
Clarence Strange (sr)
Dick Bassi (sr)
Marvin Baldwin (sr)
Phil Dougherty (jr)
Marvin Stewart (sr)
Lionel Rodgers (sr)
Wardell Leisk (sr)
Lee Artoe
Paul Carroll (jr)
Frank Smith (sr)
Bernie Dumas (jr)
Nello Falaschi
Bill May (sr)
Don De Rosa (sr)
Guy Milner (so)
Manuel Gomez
Arthur Morton (jr)
Chuck Pavelko
Pat Coffee (sr)

The Game

The Broncos opened with two quick TDs in the initial period on the sluggish Tigers, who perhaps underestimated their opponent.

  • Falaschi ran back "Cotton" Milner's kickoff 24y to the 41.
  • After an exchange of punts, Santa Clara began its second possession on the LSU 44. After misifring on a long pass, HB Don De Rosa, unable to find an open receiver, started around Tinsley's end, reversed his field, shed E Bernie Dumas in the backfield, and ran to the 32.
  • Crass knocked down DeRosa's pass. So Falaschi "called his favorite scoring play." Pavelko took the snap, hit into the line but handed the ball to Flash. He raced back in a wide arc and threw 21y to Mexican HB Manuel Gomez who outran "Slick" Morton into the checkered end zone.

The second TD was set up by a great punt.

  • Pavelko booted the pigskin 51y out of bounds on the 1. Crass tried to reciprocate but got the ball out only to the 28.
  • Falaschi sneaked for 4, then Bruno Pellegrini made 2 at "Mr. Strange's tackle." Tinsley got what today would be called a "sack," tackling Falaschi for a 7y loss.
  • On fourth down, Pellegrini fired a 30y TD to E Norman Finney. Pelligrini kicked his second PAT with four minutes still remaining in the opening period.
  • LSU went 25 minutes before recording its initial first down. As you can surmise, the Bronco forward wall was winning the battle in the trenches.

The Tigers finally got on the board in the last minute of the half.

  • With Santa Clara threatening to score again, Rock Reed changed the momentum when he intercepted Tommy Gilbert's pass and raced 26y to the LSU 40, nearly breaking loose before Leo Artoe brought him down.
  • Crass passed to Mihalic for 12y over the middle. Then Tinsley showed the Californians why he was an All-American.
  • Gaynell twisted to take Crass's 23y pass in the right flat. The terminal reversed his field, shook off several tacklers, picked up his interference, and raced 27 more to paydirt.
  • Guy Milner's kick made the score 14-7 at the break.

Shaw had prepared for the wet conditions to give his team a fresh start for the second half.

  • He arranged with the coaches at sister Jesuit college Loyola of New Orleans to supply his men with fresh shoes to replace their mud-caked pairs.
  • Shaw also had his squad change into their dry practice uniforms for the final 30 minutes.

Joe "Rock" Reed, LSU
Joe "Rock" Reed

E Gaynell Tinsley, LSU
Gaynell Tinsley

LSU-Santa Clara - 2 1937 Sugar Bowl - 2
L: Arthur Morton of LSU brings down Bronco Donald DeRosa. R: Pinky Rohm gallops around E and almost breaks loose for a TD.

1937 Sugar Bowl - 3
LSU's Guy "Cotton" Milner is tripped by Manuel Gomez with Charley Pavelko (7) in hot pursuit.

Santa Clara extended its lead back to 14 on an unusual play three minutes into Q3.
  • LSU received the kickoff with hopes of building on the momentum from the end of the first half. But a wild exchange of turnovers followed.
  • First, Pat Coffee fumbled and Dick Bassi recovered on the Tiger 32. Then Morton intercepted one of DeRosa's tosses meant for E "Mississippi" Smith from Picayune. However, Coffee turned the ball over again with an errant toss that Gomez intercepted and ran back 35y before Morton nailed him at the 15.
  • Pavelko hit RT for 3, and Flash sneaked for 8 and a first down.
  • After three plays went nowhere, Mississippi took the ball on an E around on 4th-and-goal at the 4. When pinched by two tacklers, Smith tossed the ball into the air. Falaschi leaped, grabbed the pigskin, and nose-dived over the goal line. Afterwards, the Broncos insisted it was a well-rehearsed pass, not a fumble.
  • With Pelligrini out of the game, Falaschi passed to Smith for the PAT to make it 21-7.
 1937 Sugar Bowl - Santa Clara's Clinching TD

LSU tacked on a TD in the final period.

  • The Broncos got careless with second stringers in. After Santa Clara was penalized for unnecessary roughness to its own 10, Jules Perrin, strongly rushed by Dumas, shanked a punt out on the 20.
  • Milner rambled over RG for 6 only to fumble backwards, LSU recovering for a loss of 3. Moments later, with the ball on the 16, Crass passed to Reed on the 9, and he outran Perrin to pay dirt. Milner added the EP to close the scoring at 21-14.


  • Moore didn't offer the wet field as an excuse. We just met a better ball club today than ours, that's all. Everyone on that Santa Clara team was good.
  • Shaw praised his warriors. I thought our boys - all of them - played their best game of the season. Our team certainly surprised me with its great blocking and precision passing.
  • Santa Clara fans tore down one of the goal posts to celebrate their upset victory. Having battled police when they tried a similar celebration at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, they offered to pay for the goal posts beforehand, but Sugar Bowl officials told them to help themselves.
  • Years later, Shaw would recall: That was a day I'll never forget. LSU was supposed to have the greatest team in its history, and we were such underdogs that hardly any odds were posted.

Amazingly, the same two schools would square off in the 1938 Sugar Bowl. But that's a story for another day.

Reference: "Santa Clara Shocks LSU 21-14," Harry Borba, San Francisco Examiner, January 2, 1937

1944 Orange Bowl - a Rematch

LSU Coach Bernie Moore
Bernie Moore

LSU RB Steve Van Buren
Steve Van Buren

FB Joe Nagata
Joe Nagata

1944 Orange Bowl Program Cover

LSU E Charley Webb
Charley Webb

Texas A&M B Jesse Burnitt
Jesse "Red" Burnitt

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Due to the fact that World War II drained college-age manpower, only four of the twelve SEC schools fielded football teams in 1943: LSU, Tulane, Georgia, and Georgia Tech.

  • This reflected a national trend in which 150 colleges abandoned football that season.
  • Many military bases fielded football teams that competed against college teams. The most famous was the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Bernie Moore's LSU squad consisted of two groups of players.

  • Those who had been rejected for military service for some reason. For example, star RB Steve Van Buren failed his army physical because of defective vision.
  • Students too young for the draft who could play for a year before entering the service.

LSU lacked the Navy V-12 training program that provided manpower for teams at other schools.

  • The purpose of the program was to train future officers by providing them with a bachelor's degree as a stepping stone to attending a U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School for four months to obtain a commission as an ensign.
  • Both Tulane and Georgia Tech participated in the V-12 program which benefitted their football teams because the Navy allowed its trainees to play sports.
  • Some V-12 programs fielded their own football teams. The Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks finished second to Notre Dame in the final AP poll for 1943.

Led by Van Buren, the Tigers compiled a 5 -3 record, going 2-2 in the SEC.

  • How could LSU end up 2-2 in the SEC when there were only three other opponents. Simple - they played Georgia twice, once in Tiger Stadium to open the season (34-27 victory) and again in Athens (27-6 triumph).
  • Another of the victories came at the expense of LSU's Army Specialized Training Program team. The Army program had a different purpose from the Navy's V-12 program. The primary goal of the ASTU was to turn out technically-trained personnel and not officers. The ASTU program was also of shorter duration (typically 18 months) since it did not lead to a bachelor's degree.
  • Two Tiger losses came to Georgia Tech (42-7) and Tulane (27-0). One of the Green Wave's stars was Dub Jones, who had played for LSU in 1942 before joining the V-12 program in New Orleans.

LSU's third defeat occurred in the third game against Texas A&M, another V-12 school, in Baton Rouge 28-13.

  • Having won their first two, the Tigers entered the contest ranked #17 in the AP poll.
  • Called by the Associated Press writer of the game report as "an eleven man track team in football toggery," the young Aggies, dubbed the "Kiddie Corps" by the press, beat the larger Tigers 28-13 before a Saturday night crowd of 25,000.
  • Van Buren didn't enjoy the success he had against Georgia and Rice. His best work came when he started to pass, then ran, including a 38y jaunt down the sidelines for a TD.
  • The key difference in the game was A&M's passing prowess: 110y to 37 for LSU. The Tigers had one more first down, 10-9, and outgained the visitors on the ground, 198-123.

The five bowls that existed at the time - Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton, and Sun - faced slim pickings.

  • The Sugar Bowl, which had chosen an SEC team seven of its first nine years (including LSU three times), selected Georgia Tech to face Tulsa.
  • The Cotton Bowl went with Texas against Randolph Field, an army air corps base near San Antonio.
  • The Orange Bowl arranged a rematch between LSU and 6-2-1 Texas A&M.
  • Coach Moore was pleased with the bowl bid.
  • All we hoped to do when the season started was keep football alive.

The Tigers hoped to exact revenge on the Aggies and win their first bowl game after three failures.

  • Moore and his staff knew they had to do something different from the first meeting to help Van Buren get loose.
  • So they moved 165 lb WB from Eunice, Joe Nagata, to FB. They didn't do this because of Nagata's blocking. The plan called for Joe to take direct snaps from C in LSU's version of the Notre Dame box. Joe stepped forward, pivoted left or right, and handed the ball to Van Buren. The intent was to freeze the A&M LBs for a moment to give Steve an extra step.
  • Nagata would occasionally keep and run up the middle.

Traveling to Miami for the game was no simple matter thanks to wartime regulations that gave priority to troop movements.

  • With trains not an option, the Tigers benefitted from the largesse of Baton Rouge banker Lewis Gottleib.
  • He purchased eighteen used cars to transport the players. He later sold the cars at his automobile agency.

An overflow crowd of 25,203 saw and listeners around the world on Armed Forced radio heard about more points scored in Q1 than the remaining periods combined.

  • Moore wasted little time in deploying his new offensive scheme. The result was two TDs before A&M awoke.
  • On the Bengals' second possession, Van Buren powered a 57y drive. With the ball on the 12, Steve caught the Aggies by surprise on a delayed double reverse as he raced over the goal untouched. The EP attempt failed.
  • Later in the period, E Charley Webb recovered a fumbled punt on the A&M 22. After two running plays gained only two yards, Van Buren passed to Burt Goode who hot-footed it across the goal. Steve's PAT try failed.
  • Down by 12, the Aggies wasted little time getting back in the game. They took the kickoff and unleashed the aerial attack that had knocked the Tigers for a loop in Baton Rouge. Aided by a 15-yard roughness penalty, A&M found themselves on the LSU 20. Jim Hallmark passed to "Red" Burnitt to climax the 70y march. Bing Turner added the point.
  • The second period was scoreless as the Tigers dominated the action. Van Buren gathered in a punt and rambled 40y into the clear only to stumble and fall at the 26. On another occasion, the Tigers made a first down on the Aggie 5 but failed to push the ball into the EZ on four rushing tries.
 Steve Van Buren in 1944 Orange Bowl
Steve Van Buren runs against Texas A&M.
The teams traded TDs in Q3.
  • A few minutes after the kickoff, Big Steve showed his All-American form by breaking loose for 62y through the entire Aggie team. This time he converted to give LSU a 19-7 lead.
  • Down by 12 again, A&M took to the air with a strong breeze at their backs. LSU held, however, and forced a punt. But Joe Nagata fumbled it and A&M recovered on the 25. After a 7y pass, Hallmark shot another one to Marion Settegest on the 5, and he did the rest himself. Turner booted the point to reduce the margin to 5 again.
  • The fray settled into a defensive battle the rest of the way. The Aggies threatened often in Q4, but pass interceptions - a total of five for the game by the Tigers - repelled every attempt.
  • LSU ended the game on the A&M 22.

LSU won the statistical battle.

  • First downs were square at 7 apiece.
  • The Texas cadets gained 199y passing to 100 for LSU.
  • The rushing numbers told the story. The Tigers stuffed A&M to the tune of -15 net yards while amassing 210 themselves.
  • Van Buren gained 160 of LSU's 181y.
1944 Orange Bowl Action
1944 Orange Bowl Action
The Tigers' trip back to Baton Rouge was even more challenging than the one to Florida.
  • As the convoy of cars headed home, the group ran out of gas rationing stamps.
  • So the group had to beg each gas station they stopped at to let them buy one gallon gas. Then they stopped at the next station and made the same plea.
  • One of the cars broke down. "It took a couple of days to get it fixed," recalled Nagata. "But we enjoyed swimming in the Gulf of Mexico while we were waiting."

Unsung football hero Nagata would soon become a military hero.

  • The Japanese-American would fight in Europe with the 442nd regiment, composed entirely of Nisei. The unit became the most decorated of the war. Nagata won the Bronze Sar and the Infantry Combat Medal.
  • After his discharge, he returned to LSU and finished his degree. He then coached at Eunice and St. Edmund High Schools for the rest of his life.
References: Greatest Moments in LSU Football History, Baton Rouge Advocate (1998)
"Playing twice in one season nothing new for Tigers," Marty Mule, Tiger Bait, 12/13/11
"Looking back on the life of LSU football alumnus, veteran Joe Nagata," Bud Johnson

Coach Bernie Moore
Coach Bernie Moore

Coach John Barnhill, Arkansas
Coach John Barnhill

Clyde "Smackover" Scott
Clyde "Smackover" Scott

LSU G Wren Worley 1947
Wren Worley

Walter "Piggy" Barnes

LSU E Ray Bullock 1947
Ray Bullock

LSU E Mel Lyle
Mel Lyle

LSU T Fred Land 1945
Fred Land

LSU HB Dale Gray 1947
Dale Gray

LSU HB Carroll Griffith
Carroll Griffith

1947 Cotton Bowl Program

Gene "Red" Knight
Gene "Red" Knight

Clyde Lindsey
Clyde Lindsey

1947 Cotton Bowl action
Aubrey Fowler (43) of Arkansas defends against a pass to Jim Cason on the last play of the first half. (NEA Photo)

Zollie Toth
Zolllie Toth

LSU E Jeff Adams 1947
Jeff Adams

Holly Heard

1947 Cotton Bowl

The 1946 LSU roster included twelve players who would play in the NFL or AAFC. And HB Joe Glamp is not one of them. After lettering in 1942, he entered the military. When he returned from the war, he surveyed the talent Bernie Moore had assembled and decided he had a better chance to make the Pittsburgh Steelers, the perennial doormats of the NFL. His choice proved wise as he started for three years for the Steelers.

LSU's Season

  • In 1946, the Tigers, loaded with military veterans as well as young talent, finished 9-1. The veterans could attend school without a football scholarship because of the "G.I. Bill." That freed money for the youngsters.
  • The loss came to Georgia Tech in the fourth game, 26-7 at Tiger Stadium. Unfortunately, that defeat cost the Tigers a share of the SEC crown as Wally Butts' Georgia Bulldogs defeated Tech 35-7 in the annual finale to finish 10-0. John Ferguson, the radio voice of the Tigers, said the loss to the Yellow Jackets was "just one of those games." Two late INTs were returned for TDs. (Ferguson rated the '46 contingent as the best LSU team of all time.)
  • The Tigers won all four non-conference games: Rice (7-6 in Houston), Texas A&M (33-9), Miami (20-7 in Florida), and Fordham (40-0).
  • The Tigers were led by junior QB Y. A. Tittle, a member of the United Press All-SEC team, and a deep corps of RBs led by Jim Cason and Dan Sandifer. G Wren Worley made the AP all-conference eleven while T Walter "Piggy" Barnes earned a spot on sportscaster Bill Stern's All-American team.
  • LSU ranked #8 in the final AP poll, which was conducted before the bowl games.

The Opponent

  • John Barnhill finished his first season as Arkansas coach with a 6-3-1 record.
  • The 16th-ranked Razorbacks went 5-1 in the Southwest Conference to share the championship with Rice. UA's lone loss came at Texas 20-0. With the 8-2 Owls accepting a bid to the Orange Bowl, Arkansas took the conference's Cotton berth.
  • The Hogs also fell to Ole Miss 9-7 in Memphis and at Tulsa 14-13. The tie came at Oklahoma State 21-21.

Pre-game Prospects

  • Coach Moore had a problem motivating his team for the Cotton Bowl, which guaranteed LSU $62,000. First of all, the players had their hopes set on a shot at Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to show that they were better than the SEC champions. But the Crescent City bowl chose North Carolina and its star HB "Choo Choo" Justice as the Bulldogs' opposition.
  • Before practice could begin for the bowl game, Moore and AD Skipper Heard had to deal with an insurrection by the older players, who wanted $600 each to play in Dallas. When the administration flatly denied the request, the squad met before practice and took a vote on whether to play in the Cotton Bowl. When a close vote favored striking if their demands weren't met, the players refused to practice and returned to their dorm, expecting someone from the athletic department to come and talk to them. Tittle, who opposed the plan, recalled, Nobody came to us. They just let us sleep on it. Eventually, a counterproposal appeared: $100 a man if LSU won the Cotton Bowl. That was enough to end the walkout. None of this story made the newspapers at the time. (Marty Mule recounted it in Tiger Rag 4/22/14.)
  • The Tigers worked hard on their passing game since the Arkansas defense had been vulnerable to air attacks.
  • Moore announced a change in the original travel plans. Instead of arriving in Dallas December 26, the Tigers would wait until the 29th. Whether the players' insurrection contributed to the delay is anyone's guess.
  • The Tigers flew to Dallas on four separate flights. Moore, who preferred to stay earthbound, made the trip by automobile. Newspaper stories focused on E Clyde Lindsey, who got married the day before the team left for Dallas. Not distracted, Clyde would play all 60 minutes New Year's Day.
  • On the eve of the game, Moore admitted knowing little about Arkansas.

    We not only didn't scout each other but have little Information from others who saw our teams in action. One fellow wrote from Oklahoma that he could give me the lowdown on Arkansas, but I didn't know him so I didn't take advantage of the offer.

  • Bernie knew that Arkansas had a fast team led by the running of sophomore Clyde "Smackover" Scott and the pass receiving of big Alton Baldwin, a four-year letter winner and second-team All-American E.

I remember as a boy in the 1950s seeing the sign "Entering Smackover, Arkansas, home of Clyde Scott" as we drove to visit dad's relatives.

  • Seven Tigers looked forward to the Cotton Bowl with extra anticipation - the players from Arkansas: Ends Ray Bullock, Sam Coots, and Mel Lyle, T Fred Land, G Worley, HBs Dale Gray and Carroll Griffith.
1947 LSU Backs
Dan Sandifer, Y.A. Tittle, Ray Coates, Jim Cason, Rip Collins, Al Heroman
  • The oddsmakers installed LSU as a 10-point favorite. Both squads reported no significant injuries.
  • A UP article the day before the game proclaimed: "Weather forecasts were that it would be cold and cloudy but that no rain or snow was expected." Unfortunately, that prediction didn't pan out. The game day report said:

Sub-freezing temperatures and a blanket of snow today furnished a frigid setting for the 11th Cotton bowl football game ... The condition of the field remained an unknown quantity until the huge tarpaulin protecting it from Tuesday's snow was removed shortly before the kickoff.

  • The Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, 278 miles south, was postponed for four days because of the sleet storm that moved across the Lone Star State. Mike the Tiger, on his way to Dallas in his cage, hibernated in a storage garage in Shreveport.
  • Nevertheless, the Cotton Bowl went on as planned. 38,000 of the 45,000 ticket holders showed up. They sloshed through foot-deep snow in the aisles and sat in a misty rain to watch what came to be known as "The Ice Bowl" 30 years before Dallas's own Cowboys played in another "Ice Bowl" in Green Bay for the NFL Championship. Some spectators set fires in the stands to keep warm.
  • Moore sent trainer Jules Roux to the store to buy long underwear for the players and several charcoal heaters, which were placed on the sideline. For the only time anyone could remember, the LSU linemen all wore gloves. LSU procured several oil drums, filled them with charcoal, and started a fire to produce heat on the sideline. AD Heard brought in 25 bales of hay to spread in front of the bench to keep the players' feet warm. Assistant coach Harry Rabenhorst remembers that "the cold brought tears to everyone's eyes. I went up to Bernie one time and, sure enough, the tears had frozen on his cheeks."

1947 Cotton Bowl

The Game

  • Never before or since has an LSU team so dominated its opponent, yet failed to win.
First Downs
Yards Rushing
Total Yards
Fumbles Lost
  • In the only statistic that counts, LSU and Arkansas tied 0-0. The Razorbacks stopped the Tigers inside the 10 three times.
  • A major reason Arkansas gained only one first down is the poor field position they constantly faced. Even in good weather, coaches in that era preferred to punt the ball on first or second down from deep in their own territory rather than risk a fumble or INT.

Quarter-by-quarter summary:

  • Q1: Midway through the period, a quick-kick by Aubrey Fowler died on the LSU 3. Gene "Red" Knight immediately punted back, Fowler returning to the Tiger 37. However, the Razorbacks could go no further than the 29 and punted into the EZ. At that point, Arkansas had gained 36y rushing, mostly by freshman FB Leon "Muscles" Campbell. Little did anyone know that Arkansas had achieved its deepest penetration of the game and would gain only 18 more yards that afternoon. As one writer put it, "The rest of the game found the Porkers too busy warding off Tiger thrusts to even think about putting on a drive." Sandifer, Ray Coates, and Rip Collins combined for two first downs to the Arkansas 49, but Tittle fumbled on fourth-and-1, and John Hoffman recovered on the Razorback 42. But Hoffman fumbled right back, Tittle recovering at the LSU 48 as the period ended.
1947 Cotton Bowl - Q1 action
  • Q2: Cason, Al Heroman, and Knight pounded the line for a first down on the UA 38, but the Hogs forced Knight to punt. But Barnhart didn't want the ball deep in his own territory. So Fowler quick-kicked to the LSU 40. Knight plunged for 16y, but again Arkansas threw the Tigers back, and on fourth down Charles Lively blocked Knight's punt with Baldwin recovering on the LSU 44. The Razorbacks couldn't take advantage of the good field position they had achieved because Scott fumbled the frigid pigskin, and Lindsey recovered for the Tigers on the 45. After three plays failed to gain a first, Knight kicked to the 18. Tittle intercepted Fowler's pass and returned it to the 16. After two running plays netted 9y, Tittle chose to pass twice unsuccessfully, and Arkansas took over. Cason ran Fowler's kick back to the 19. The half ended with LSU on the 14.
  • Q3: After a punt exchange, the Bengals surged from their 7 to the Arkansas 18 with Coates and Sandifer pounding out most of the yardage. But on fourth down, LB Bill Thomas batted a pass out of Sandifer's hands at the goal line. After Fowler kicked out, Zollie Toth cracked the line for a first down to the UA 47. But Cason fumbled, and James Minor recovered for UA. The Razorbacks couldn't gain, and Fowler kicked yet again, this time to Cason who ran it back to the 26 as the period came to a close.
  • Q4: Toth plowed over RG for a first down, but then a penalty for offensive interference forced LSU to punt. Arkansas kicked right back, Coates making a fine return to the UA 42. The Tigers drove to the 4 where, on third down, Tittle flipped a pass to Jeff Adams, but Scott drove him out of bounds on the 2. On fourth down, Toth was stopped for no gain. Fowler kicked out, but Dale Gray ran the ball back to the 31. Gray and Willard Landry led a surge to the Arkansas 9, but three tries netted only 3y. With time expiring, Holly Heard lined up a FG at the 15, but Coates fumbled the snap. Heard picked up the pigskin but was downed on the 16, a fitting ending to a frustrating afternoon for LSU.


  • Coates gained more yards than Arkansas as he romped for 61 on 7 carries. Sandifer added 56 on 9 tries, with Tittle racking up 38 on 7 runs. Campbell topped Arkansas with 21 on 7 attempts.
  • The media selected Tittle as LSU's outstanding player, with Baldwin top Razorback.
  • At the banquet for the teams that night, Barnhill won the coin toss and departed Dallas with the Cotton Bowl Trophy. LSU would have to wait for a duplicate to be ordered and shipped to Baton Rouge.
  • Despite the weather, the game was expected to gross the largest gate in the gridiron classic's history, more than $150,000. So each school could expect to get the $60,000 it was promised.
1950 Sugar Bowl

Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice

Kenny Konz

T. P. "Skipper" Heard

Charlie Pevey

Billy Baggett

Ray Collins

Allen Hover

Darrell Royal

LSU's Season

  • The 1949 Tigers were referred to as a "Cinderella Team of the South" because they were not rated very highly going into the season.
  • Gaynell "Gus" Tinsley's first season in 1948 replacing legendary head coach Bernie Moore had ended with a 3-7 record, including a 46-0 thrashing by Tulane in the annual finale.
    The LSU Board of Supervisors' first choice to replace Bernie was Baylor coach Bob Woodruff. However, Woodruff could not secure a release from his contract. The Board then turned to an "LSU man." Tinsley was as surprised as everyone else that he was selected since he had no head coaching experience at the college level.
  • Tinsley was considered the best player who ever wore the Purple and Gold. He made the consensus All-American teams at E in both 1935 and 1936 before playing three years with the Chicago Cardinals, during which he set or tied NFL single-season records for receptions and receiving yards.
  • After serving in the Navy in World War II, he was an assistant to Moore in 1947. Gus's promotion to head coach brought him the princely salary of $12,500 per year. But that was approximately four times the average income in the U.S. at that time.

Tinsley and his staff, Ed McKeever (backfield), Norm Cooper (line), Alf Satterfield (line assistant), and Ben Enis (ends), arguably got more out of the 1949 team than any LSU staff has coaxed from a team before or since.

  • After 1948's disaster, little was expected of the '49 Tigers. In fact, they were generally picked to fight with another group of Tigers at Auburn for last place in the SEC.
  • To start with, the daunting schedule included three opponents that would win their conference championships that year: Rice (Southwest Conference), North Carolina (Southern), and Tulane (SEC). However, eight of the ten games would be played in 45,000-seat Tiger Stadium, the crown jewel of the SEC at that time.
  • The season turned on the fifth game when North Carolina and its All-American HB Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice came to Baton Rouge. Sitting at .500 after losses to Bear Bryant's Kentucky Wildcats and Georgia sandwiched around wins over Rice and Texas A&M, the Tigers didn't seem to have the capability of upsetting the Tar Heels, winners of 20 straight. But that's what they did, holding Justice to just 48y on 11 carries to prevail 13-7.
    A "mistake" by a grounds crew member helped the LSU defense. After a team manager turned on the sprinkler system when the Tar Heels finished their workout Friday evening, someone turned on the sprinklers again Saturday morning.
  • The Tigers finished with five more victories, including four in the conference. The crowning glory was the revenge triumph against Tulane in the finale, 21-0. The sparkplug was S Kenny Konz, who returned the Green Wave's first punt 92y to pay dirt and intercepted three aerials. The win was the Tigers' sixth against a school that had defeated them the season before
  • The victory propelled the 8-2 Tigers to the #9 ranking in the final AP poll - the highest of any SEC team - and made them the Sugar Bowl's choice instead of the 7-2-1 Greenies. However, some strings had to be pulled first. The SEC had a rule that required a member team to win at least 75% of its league games to be eligible for bowl competition. LSU's 4-2 conference mark fell .083 short of the requirement. LSU AD T. P. "Skipper" Heard began phoning conference members the day before the Tulane game to lobby for the rule to be waived should the Tigers win their final contest. Within a few hours of Saturday's victory, the SEC unanimously waived the rule.
    Heard was motivated to seek relief for his team by the fact that he bore responsibility for the "suicide" schedule the Tigers had faced.
  • Anyone looking at statistics would wonder how LSU managed to win eight games. Senior QB Charlie Pevey ranked ninth in the conference with 521y on 36-of-86 passing. The ground unit averaged 237.5 ypg, second in the SEC, with no dominant back. 165lb HB Billy Baggett led the team with 481y on 57 attempts, ninth best in the league. 17 different players scored at least one of the team's 34 TDs.
  • The secret, if there was one, lay in the defense, which surrendered only 74 points in ten contests. T Ray Collins (Shreveport) anchored a solid forward wall. Tinsley later called Collins "the best defensive tackle I ever coached" and "the only player you could classify in the 'great' category" on the 1949 team. The AP polled sportswriters and coaches in the SEC. Collins and fellow Bengal Tiger Allen Hover (Hamilton OH) tied for best defensive lineman in the conference.
    Six of the 1949 Tigers would play in the NFL: Billy Baggett, Ray Collins, Ken Konz, Joe Reid, Zollie Toth, and Ebert Van Buren. Oklahoma boasted seven future pros on its roster.

Tinsley thus became the first Sugar Bowl player to return as coach.

  • He was a member of the 1936 and 1937 Tiger teams that lost to TCU and Santa Clara in the New Year's Day classic.
  • Gus hoped to become the first LSU coach to win the Sugar Bowl. Moore went 0-3 in the Midwinter Sports Association classic before coaching the school's lone victory in the Orange Bowl following the 1944 season.
  • The LSU Athletic Department announced December 2 that they had received more than 100,000 requests for the 12,000 tickets it had available.

The Tigers took two weeks off before starting bowl drills December 12.

  • Most of the first week was devoted to conditioning work and brush-up on fundamentals.
  • LSU had sent scouts to the early season Oklahoma-Texas A&M game to watch the Aggies, the Tigers' opponent the following week. However, Tinsley told the press, We just don't know very much about them (Oklahoma). We can't find out much either.
    An incident that occurred at the end of the month made many think back to Tinsley's remarks and wonder if he resorted to subterfuge to get a line on the Sooners.
  • A&M was the only common opponent of the two teams, and the comparative scores boded well for the Tigers, who pasted the Aggies 34-0 a week after Oklahoma beat them 33-13.
  • The Tigers would face OU without starting DE Jess Yates, who suffered a broken shoulder during a scrimmage six days before the game.
LSU 1949
Texas A&M
North Carolina
Ole Miss
Mississippi State
Southeastern Louisiana 48-7

Gaynell Tinsley

Bud Wilkinson
Oklahoma 1949
@Boston College
Texas A&M
Texas (Dallas) 20-14
Kansas 48-26
@Nebraska 48-0
Iowa State 34-7
@Kansas State
Santa Clara 28-21
Oklahoma A&M 41-0

The Opponent

  • Bud Wilkinson's third Oklahoma team, champions of the Big Seven Conference for the third straight year, finished second in the final AP poll to another undefeated team, Notre Dame. Led by 13 seniors, the Sooners came to New Orleans with a 20-game winning streak that included a 14-6 victory over North Carolina in the 1949 Sugar Bowl.
  • The speedy Sooners ran the Split T formation, an offense that Wilkinson learned from Don Faurot at Missouri during World War II. Senior Darrell Royal satisfied Bud's call for a split T QB "who is smart, who can pass, and who can run." LSU had never played a team that ran the split T.
  • Led by swift HB George Thomas and burly FB Leon Heath, OU ran up 3,202y rushing compared to just 556 for their ten opponents. The Sooners spread their backs more than in the standard T but didn't split the linemen any more than LSU did.
  • Even though the relaxed substitution rules adopted by the NCAA during World War II still prevailed, Wilkinson eschewed the offense-defense platoon system. Instead, he alternated lines in half quarter intervals with each group playing both ways. The first unit forward wall was led by All-America T Wade Walker and co-captain E Jim Owens.
  • The Sooners left December 27 for Biloxi MS where they continued their workouts until heading to the Crescent City the day before the Monday, January 2 game. They would spend the night before the game at the Algiers Naval Station.
  • Arriving in Biloxi, Wilkinson sounded like a typical coach trying to motivate his team, which didn't seem excited about a second straight trip to the Sugar Bowl. All year my boys have thought they were better than they are. I wish they would either stop that or get better. He also compared this Sugar Bowl trip to the previous one. It's different this year. Our boys came here last year thinking about the football game. This year, they're thinking about the trip and not the football game. ... We'll work them lightly ... getting them ready for a physical battle ... The only thing that worries me is the enthusiasm for the game. ... If I could be as sure they'd be as peppery about the game as they are about the trip, I'd feel a lot better. ... That's going to be my hardest problem - getting these boys to get their mind on the ball game and to realize we are going up against a team that can trim us if we're not at our best. The boys who play on LSU's team are as fine a group of boys as any that play anywhere.
  • A former LSU player, on his own or at the behest of his alma mater, gave Bud what he needed to solve his motivation problem.

    When the Sooners bussed to New Orleans Sunday, January 1, Wilkinson revealed that a spy had been discovered the day before secretly observing his squad's closed drills in Biloxi. The man in question was Walter "Piggy" Barnes, a former LSU lineman who currently played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Barnes was caught standing between two garages on a ladder about 5' above the ground. Wilkinson: He had a good view of our practice field over the fence we had erected. He was screened from the field by the blanket stretched between the two garages. ... The interloper saw every card in our hand. When your entire offense and defense is known by persons who scout your practice, then your chance of winning any game is damaged materially. Bud said he had received a tip from Biloxi residents that three men had scouted OU drills Thursday and Friday. So the coach sent two men from his traveling party to confront the spies. They brought a Biloxi photographer and a local policeman, who turned out to be John "Baby Grand" Scafide, who played G for Tulane in the 1931 Rose Bowl. They came upon the man from behind. When he saw them, he hid behind one of the garage doors and, becoming profane, threatened to smash their camera if they tried to photograph him. Scafide, big enough to contend with an NFL lineman, grabbed the man, who tried unsuccessfully to hide his face as the photographer took a picture. Barnes then ran away with a pair of binoculars and some notes he taken but no camera. Wilkinson: I was very agitated at the discovery. We had worked a month on a new offense for the Sugar Bowl and had rehearsed several times the special defense we will use against LSU.

    When the OU coach arrived at Antoine's Restaurant Saturday night for the annual Sugar Bowl dinner, Ben Enis, an LSU assistant coach offered his hand. I don't shake hands with spies, replied Bud. Hearing the remark, LSU AD Heard cornered Wilkinson and began a heated argument. The LSU coaching staff doesn't send out spies, Heard said and charged Wilkinson with taking his "Coach of the Year" title too seriously. Skipper vowed that LSU would teach Oklahoma a lesson on the field. Wilkinson shook hands with Tinsley later that evening.
    One of the other men who had been seen observing OU practices, "Goober" Morse, an LSU fan who had served in the Navy in World War II with Wilkinson (and who would later become a good friend of Billy Cannon), insisted to his dying day that he and Barnes were merely scouting prospects for Eagles coach Earl "Greasy" Neale. LSU didn't have a thing to do with it. We just thought it would be a good idea to look 'em over. We could've gone in the main gate, maybe. We didn't exactly scout like we were supposed to.

George Thomas

Leon Heath

Wade Walker

Jim Owens

The Game

82,289 fans jammed Tulane Stadium in weather more befitting early fall than winter - clear, high of 70°. The majority, LSU fans, saw their heroes battle the mighty Sooners on even terms in the first period.

First Quarter - Video narrated by Harry Wismer

  • Oklahoma won the toss and elected to receive.
    Ken Konz kicked off into the checkered EZ. Three runs gained only 8y and, after a delay of game penalty, Royal punted out of bounds on the LSU 41.
    After two Ebert Van Buren runs netted 2y, Lee Hedges took a lateral around RE but missed the first down by 2'. Van Buren punted poorly to the OU 31.
    Oklahoma, not running anything different from what they had used all season, tried both flanks but gained only 6. On 3rd down, Collins stopped Lindell Pearson just short of the first down. After a 5y penalty, Royal punted to Billy Baggett who returned 10y to the LSU 35.
    The Tigers gained the initial first down of the game when Pevey rolled right on 3rd-and-4 and threw a jump pass to Baggett in the right flat. Billy made an off balance catch and raced to the OU 36 where Ray Powell ran him out of bounds. After a 1y run, the Tigers tried three straight passes, Baggett snagging the last one from the other HB, Hedges, but advancing only to the 29 to turn the ball over on downs.
    The Sooners moved the chains on their second snap when Thomas took a pitchout around LE to the 40. On 3rd-and-4, Thomas fumbled when hit by E Armand Kitto, and G Nick Bradley recovered for the Tigers on the OU 45.
    The program listed Kitto at 170 but that was generous. He was closer to 155. E Sam "Egg" Lyle recalled: The athletes today are so much bigger, stronger, and faster than the athletes when we were playing ball. With the weight rooms they work out in, they take a totally different attitude toward training. When we were in school, if the coaches caught you lifting weights or in the swimming pool, you could be dismissed from the team.
    Hedges threw a HB pass to Lyle who made a fine catch as he fell on the 34. Then Pevey tossed to Baggett to the 19 for another first down. But the defense rose up and the Tigers found themselves facing 3rd-and-16. Pevey threw poorly to Lyle in the EZ. Then Royal knocked down Charlie's pass that fell far short of Lyle in the EZ to stop the threat.
    The possession started strong for the Sooners as Thomas gained 7 behind a good block by FB Leon Heath. Then it was Leon's turn to tote the leather. He got 8 for a first down at the 40. But three more runs netted a mere 1y. So, after another 5y penalty on 4th down, Royal, getting a good roll, kicked out on the 14.
    Not chancing a pass, the Tigers ran the ball three times, and Konz kicked out on the OU 46. Thomas gained 4 as the period ended.

Lindell Pearson find heaving going against the Tigers.
Second Quarter- Video
  • Given excellent field position, the Sooners drove deep into LSU territory. On third down, Pearson took a pitchout and threw to Robert Goad behind the defenders on the 8 to set up first-and-goal as Konz made a TD-saving tackle. Thomas ran over RT for 3y before being swarmed by Tigers. With LSU employing an eight-man line, G Jim Shoaf and HB Jimmy Roshto stopped Pearson on the 4. Thomas tested the center of the defense again but gained just 1. On 4th down, Royal tried a keeper at LE but was stopped inches short of the goal line by Collins.
    Taking no chances, Konz immediately punted out against the wind to the 45 where Buddy Jones caught the ball and returned 8y. Given even better field position this time, the Okies were not to be denied. On third down, Pearson took a pitchout and threw down the middle to the other HB, Thomas, who pivoted the other way and took the ball in over Van Buren at the 3 into the EZ. Ken Tipps booted the PAT. Oklahoma 7 LSU 0
    Lyle took the ground all kick on the 35 but, carrying the ball loosely, fumbled after several strides, and Delton Marcum recovered for OU on the 37. Royal went for the jugular right away, but Roshto and Chester Freeman knocked down his long pass over the middle. After Van Buren stuffed Heath, Thomas took a delayed pitch over RG to the 21. Pearson tossed a perfect pass to Thomas standing in the EZ. With a defender closing end, George dropped the ball as he turned toward the goal post. Heath skirted RE for 6. Pearson drove over the left side for a first down on the 8. The Sooners dodged a bullet when Thomas fumbled a lateral, but Royal recovered on the 6. DB Billy West stopped Heath after a 1y gain. Then Thomas took a pitchout and raced around LE to the coffin corner for the second Okie TD. Oklahoma 14 LSU 0
    Konz ran the kickoff back 20y to the 26. With the OU defense hitting its stride, the Tigers netted -2 on three plays.
    Starting from the 45 after the punt, the Sooners could not make a fi rst down. So Royal punted out on the 26.
    Pevey hit Lyle to the 38. On the next set of downs, facing 3rd-and-1, the Tigers lost 7 on a pitchout to Baggett.
    Starting from their 31 after the punt, the Sooners struck quickly as Pearson took a pitchout and rambled to the LSU 48 before being tackled by Roshto. After Heath gained 7, Pearson went through a big hole at LT to the 31. But Konz ended the threat by intercepting Pearson's pass on the 2, falling forward to the 8.
    LSU ran out the clock with three runs.
    The Rangerettes from Kildore Junior College in Texas preceded the Oklahoma and LSU bands during the halftime show, which drew effusive praise from sportswriters.

Darrell Royal gains around end for Oklahoma.

Third Quarter - Video

  • T Ed Coyne took Tipps's short kickoff on the 40 and returned to the 45. With a chance to get back in the game, the Tigers went backwards on Owens's 10y sack of Pevey. So Konz kicked from the 42 to the 14.
    On the first play, Heath took a short pitch and raced straight through the middle of the line behind a trio of blockers. After he broke into the clear on the LSU 35, Armand Kitto chased him all the way to the EZ. Oklahoma 21 LSU 0
    Heath's 86y run was the longest in Sugar Bowl history at that point. It remains the second longest after Raymond Brown of Ole Miss scooted 92y in the 1958 classic.
    On the next possession that started at the 25, Pevey was reduced to throwing left-handed to no avail. A holding penalty put the ball back on the 10. After Hedges got 4 at LG, backup QB Carroll Griffith fumbled on the 9, and Tipps recovered.
    On the first play, Pearson lobbed a pass into the EZ that Konz intercepted. Behind good blocking, he ran up the left sideline, sidestepped tacklers, then head to the middle of the field on a sensational return to the LSU 31.
    Zollie "Tugboat" Toth, unused in the first half, ran twice for a first down on the 41. Then Baggett fumbled a handoff, and Bert Clark fell on it for OU on the 44.
    But Royal fumbled right back, Kitto grabbing the pigskin.
    Pevey threw a long pass to E Aubrey Anding, who grabbed the ball in stride just before stepping out on the OU 28. But Tiger hopes were dashed on the next play when Buddy Jones cut in front of Pevey's pass down the middle on the 15 and returned to midfield where Pevey downed him after Baggett warded off blockers to slow down the ball carrier.
    In three plays, the Sooners gained a first down at the LSU 38 thanks to Thomas and Pearson. But, hamstrung by an incompletion and several penalties, Oklahoma had to punt.
    With LSU unable to move the Sooner line, three Toth runs gained 8. So Konz dropped back to punt. Tipps partiallly blocked the punt, and the ball rolled across the sideline on the LSU 40.
    Roshto burst through on first down but missed a tackle on Thomas deep in the backfield. The fleet back made it to the 36. Then Collins dropped Royal for a 13y loss. Ray almost made another great play on the next snap but couldn't quite corral an INT on a slow-developing screen pass. Royal booted to the 8, Baggett returning to the 20.
    The OU defense continued its domination, tossing ball carriers for 4 and 8y losses. After a 5y delay penalty, Konz punted from the EZ to Royal on the LSU 40, but T Charles Cusimano downed Darrell in his tracks.
    Thomas fumbled into the air, and Pearson caught it but lost 14. Three plays later, Royal punted to the 10.
    An incomplete pass by Griffith and a 7y gain brought the Tigers to the end of the period, during which LSU gained a net of 40y and made only two first downs.

HB George Thomas runs as FB Leon Heath blocks.

Fourth Quarter - Video

  • LSU tried an end around to Lyle, but Mel fumbled when hit hard, and Jones recovered on the LSU 14.
    Van Buren stopped Pearson for a 1y loss at LE. Offside on LSU moved the ball to the 10. After Thomas gained 6, Royal broke over C into the EZ. Oklahoma 28 LSU 0
    Griffith continued at QB on LSU's next possession. He hit E Warren Virgets for 5 and then connected with the 6'3" terminal again between two defenders on the 29. But Clark stepped in front of the next pass, delivered while falling backward under duress, on the 44 and returned it 15y.
    With Wilkinson playing some fresh players, George Brewer carried a pitchout wide left but, hemmed in, reversed his field for a 5y advance. Repeating his TD from the first half, Heath broke over RG and raced to pay dirt without a hand laid on him. Oklahoma 35 LSU 0
    The rest of the game produced a comedy of errors.
    Lyle took the short kickoff on the 30 and gave Tiger fans a thrill by running down the sideline to the EZ. But the officials ruled he stepped out on the LSU 35. West rambled around RE for a first down on the OU 41. After Billy gained 3, Griffith threw the ball right into the hands of Owens, dropping off the line, on the OU 35. The big E ran 10y before he lateralled to Charles Dowell, who continued to the LSU 38. However, the Sooners were penalized back to their 45 for a forward lateral.
    Still in the game, Heath got 5, then, on the next snap, broke away to the LSU 40, where he fumbled, and Konz recovered.
    But three plays later, Oklahoma was back in business when Jones intercepted Pevey's jump pass on the OU 40 and returned it 16y. It was Buddy's third turnover of the afternoon.
    But backup QB Claude Arnold and Heath, still on the field, couldn't make connections on a handout, Red Baird covering for LSU on his 45.
    Jim Barton got some playing time at HB, gaining 5 on two runs before West just missed the first down. On fourth down, Konz tried a fake punt but lost 10 to the 37.
    More new players entered, and OU reached the 12. But two plays lost 5 before the final whistle mercifully ended the game, which produced the largest margin of victory in Sugar Bowl history.


  • Heath won the Warren V. Miller Memorial Trophy as the game's Most Valuable Player thanks to his gaining 176y in 15 tries with three TDs.
  • LSU completed only 9 of 20 passes for 121y with 2 INTs. Oklahoma did even worse through the air - 2-for-11 with 4 INTs and 74y.
  • But the Sooners dominated on the ground, 256-38.

Lee Hedges

Ebert Van Buren

Armand Kitto

Sam Lyle

Jim Shoaf

Jim Roshto

Buddy Jones

Carroll Griffith

Zollie Toth

Aubrey Anding

Charles Cusimano

Chester Freeman

Warren Virgets

Billy West

Claude Arnold

Red Baird

Jim Barton

1959 Sugar Bowl

LSU's Season

  • In 1958, LSU enjoyed its first undefeated season on the gridiron in exactly fifty years.
  • Read about the entire season.

    Six Tigers on the '58 team would play in the NFL: Mel Branch, J. W. Brodnax, Billy Cannon, Tommy Davis, Warren Rabb, and Johnny Robinson. Clemson also boasted six future pros on its roster.
LSU 1958
Alabama (Mobile)
@Miami (FL)
Ole Miss
Mississippi State (Jackson) 7-6

Paul Dietzel

Frank Howard
Clemson 1958
North Carolina
@Maryland 8-0
@Vanderbilt 12-7
@South Carolina 6-26
Wake Forest 14-12
@Georgia Tech
@North Carolina State
Duke 34-12
Furman 36-19

The Opponent

  • LSU fans had hoped to play SMU's exciting Mustangs led by QB Don Meredith, who believed they would get the bid if they beat TCU in their finale, which they did, 20-10. However, Sugar Bowl officials had apparently already made up their minds to invite Clemson for their Silver Anniversary game, an action that drew the wrath of the SMU AD.
  • Oddsmakers immediately installed LSU's Tigers as two TD favorites over the Tigers from South Carolina.
  • The disparagement of LSU's opponent gave Coach Frank Howard fodder to stir up his troops. "Anybody knows a hungry Tiger is more dangerous than a fat Tiger," said the veteran of 19 seasons at the helm. "The biggest problem right now is to get everybody well."
  • Many of Clemson's front-liners had been banged up during the season. 6'2" 200 lb QB Harvey White hurt his ankle in the finale against Furman. Keeping the ball often in Howard's option attack from an unbalanced T formation, Harvey had been hobbled multiple times during the season on his way to 739y of total offense.
  • As a response to LSU's nationally-known defensive unit, the Chinese Bandits, the jocular Howard said, "My boys play like a bunch of one-armed bandits." He explained that he had reverted from early season "fancy stuff" like splitting the ends and using wide flankers to "good, hard football. Nothin' wins better." He added, "Our players wanted this opportunity to meet them," the first time the school had ever played the nation's #1 team.
  • Clemson began Sugar Bowl drills December 12, then, after taking time off for Christmas December 20-25, set up training headquarters at Biloxi MS. They moved to New Orleans New Year's Eve.
  • LSU practiced in Baton Rouge until the morning of the game.
  • The game shaped up as a classic confrontation between a fast team (LSU) against a bigger team (Clemson). Dietzel worried about the possibility of rain, which could slow down his Tigers. He recalled the season's second-to-last game, a 7-6 squeaker over Mississippi State in the Jackson mud.
  • "Clemson plays hard, tough football," the LSU head man said. "I look for them to try to overpower us, outmuscle us. They'll try to beat us up badly and wear us down. ... We'll be giving away 15 pounds per man in the line." Paul explained that he had learned that type of football as an assistant to Paul "Bear" Bryant at Kentucky.
  • Howard pronounced his team "in the best possible shape, and everybody is hitting harder than at anytime this year." In particular, QB White was ready to start despite breaking a small blood vessel in his foot and spending December 30 in bed as a precaution. Howard would utilize two units to counter LSU's three-team deployment. He insisted, "We didn't come down here to lose."
  • Frank also commented on the lack of respect for his team. "They (the press) keep telling us we're not worth a darn. I don't know, maybe we're not. But you keep telling a feller that long enough, and it begins to get under his hide." The Clemson boss also took note of the comment by Louisiana Governor Earl Long that the game would be a glaring mismatch.
  • The night before the game, Ted Smith, general sports editor of The Associated Press, presented the trophy to Coach of the Year Dietzel for finishing #1 in the final AP poll. The Tigers finished almost 500 points ahead of Iowa.
  • By game time, LSU had risen to as much as a 17-point favorite in some quarters.

SMU QB Don Meredith

Clemson QB Harvey White

The Game

Overcast skies and some mist early New Year's morning portended an uncomfortable afternoon. But the sun came out an hour before the kickoff and helped the temperature reach a high of 50°. A sellout crowd of 82,000 saw a game much closer than pundits predicted. The slippery grass bothered both teams but especially the Bayou Bengals.

First Quarter

  • The opening period featured some fine punting by Billy Cannon, Tommy Davis, and Clemson's Bill Mathis with LSU generally holding the advantage.
    Max Fugler kicked off for LSU to the Clemson 8, HB Charlie Horne returning to the 35. When three plays gained 9 yards, the visitors punted dead on the LSU 24.
    On the second play, Cannon attacked RT for 15, but Clemson held, and Billy punted to the 25.
    Soon after, the ACC team kicked back to the LSU 41.
    After the SEC champs went backwards, Davis boomed a punt to the 13 where Lowndes Shingler fumbled and picked it up just in time to be clobbered by Mel Branch. On third down, HB Bob Morgan broke loose for 21. But the purple-shirted Tigers couldn't move the chains again and punted to the 20.
    Dietzel sent in the Go team, his offensive specialists. After Donnie Daye gained 4, Davis got free through LT for 15 to the 40. Two snaps later, Durell Matherne hit Scotty McClain with a fine pass all the way to Clemson's 30. Don Purvis registered 5y as time expired.
1958 Go Team
1st row: Don Norwood (82), Jack Frayer (73), Mike Stupka (68), Bobby Greenwood (50), Al Dampier (63), Dave McCarty; (74), Scotty McClain (83); 2nd row: Donnie Daye (33), Tommy Davis (44), Durel Matherne (16), Don Purvis (23)

Captain Billy Hendrix represents LSU for coin toss

L: Cannon takes handoff from Rabb; R: Red Broadnax tackles runner with Johnny Robinson (34) and Charles Strange (72)
Second Quarter
  • The action stayed in Clemson territory most of the 15 minutes.
    Matherne and Daye mishandled a handoff, and E Ray Masneri recovered for Clemson on the 22.
    Staying with its game plan of banging off-tackle slants, Clemson rammed for a first down by a hair on the 32 - the first of four close calls on the afternoon. But after gaining nothing more, Horne went back in punt formation. But a high pass from center threw off his timing, and the ball went off his ankle for -2y to the 28.
    Two plays, including a pass Rabb-to-Cannon pass, moved the pigskin to the 12. But three passes failed, and Tommy Davis came on with the kicking tee. But the Tigers decided to pull a fake. Rabb took the snap and tried another aerial that sailed over the head of Cannon who was all alone in the EZ. "We had been practicing the play. We figured they would all come in and that we could make a touchdown on it," Davis explained.
    The next time, the Bayou Bengals moved into the red zone, they stayed on the ground.
    Clemson went three-and-out, LSU receiving the punt on its 45. On the third snap, Rabb connected with E Mickey Mangham for 25y. Then Warren kept around end for 13 more to the 19, hurting his hand on the tackle. Rabb gained 3 more before FB Red Broadnax burst over RT to the 8. Cannon added 3 and another 3 to put the ball on the 2. Clemson called timeout to devise a goal line defense, but luck prevailed over design. As FB Red Broadnax plunged into the EZ, he fumbled the ball on the 1' line, Doug Cline recovering for Clemson for a touchback. "I thought it was over," Broadnax insisted after the game.
    Rabb left the game and did not return. "I didn't know it was broken until I came out before the half," Warren said. "I think it got hit with a helmet." With Bandit QB Darryl Jenkins out of action due to a pregame injury, Dietzel had one experienced signal-caller at his disposal, the Go team's Matherne.
    Set back by a holding penalty, Clemson had to punt, Purvis returning 19y to the 42. But incomplete passes led to Cannon kicking over the goal line.
    The SC Tigers gained 8 in three plays to run out the clock.
    The 0-0 score at the break shocked the nation.

Red Broadnax fumbles at the goal line.

Third Quarter

  • Cannon returned the kickoff 32y to the 39. But a third-down incompletion caused Billy to uncork a beautiful 50y punt to the 6 only to have the play called back and LSU penalized 15y for holding.
    Still not throwing its first pass of the day, Clemson used straight-ahead, no-frills T-formation power to drive for four first downs from its 28 to LSU's 27. But a hard tackle forced George Usry to lose the ball, and Strange fell on it.
    But LSU couldn't move the defense led by future New Orleans Saint Lou Cordileone at T, and Davis boomed a 53-yarder to the 10, Morgan getting thrown back to the 8 on the return.
    LSU finally got the break it was looking for four plays later. With Clemson in punt formation, backup C Paul Snyder launched a misguided snap that bounced off the leg of FB Cline, and T Duane Leopard recovered for LSU on the 12.
    After gaining just 3 on two runs, Cannon took a pitchout from Matherne to the right and shot a perfect pass to Mickey Mangham, then converted for a 7-0 lead.
    Clemson gained a first down at its 42, then gained 6 more before the horn sounded.

Two views of Cannon's TD pass to Mangham
Fourth Quarter
  • 210 lb FB Rudy Hayes smashed for a first down on the LSU 48. But four plays later, Usry barely missed another first down to turn the ball over on the 39.
    Once again, the Clemson D caged the Bengals, and Cannon punted to the 17.
    Dietzel sent in the rested Chinese Bandits. But boom, boom. Shingler ran for 12, then White threw his first pass of the game, a completion to E Wyatt Cox for another first down, and just like that the Tigers reached their 47.
    With time winding down, Clemson finally threw its first pass, a 12-yard completion from White to Cox. Soon after that, White hit Sam Anderson for another 12y advance. White threw again, this one to Anderson for 11 to the 40. Aided by a 5y penalty, the Carolina Tigers gained another first down on the 28 with 3:40 to play. On the sideline, Howard decided to go for two if his boys scored.
    After two runs gained 4, Clemson suddenly changed its strategy. White threw an incompletion to make it fourth down. He then flipped a screen pass to Usry, who appeared to have running room. But the throw was low, and Usry dropped the ball. With the collective sigh of LSU fans audible all the way to Baton Rouge, the white-clad Tigers took over with a minute and a half to play.
    On the next to last play of the game, Fugler lost his temper over what he considered rough play. But for quick intervention from his teammates, Max might have started throwing punches.
    Thus did LSU complete the most successful gridiron campaign in its history.
1958 Chinese Bandits

1st row: Mel Branch (75), Emile Fournet (65), Tommy Lott (61), Duane Leopard (71), Gaynell Kinchen (81); 2nd row: Andy Bourgeois (80), Darryl Jenkins (10), John Langan (53), Merl Schexnaildre (43), Henry Lee Roberts (32), Hart Bourque (22)

Charlie Horne

Ray Masneri

Doug Cline

Hendrix and Lynn LeBlanc (70) close in on Harvey White.

Cannon is spilled in early action.

George Usry

Mickey Mangham

Cannon runs with handoff from Matherne

Lowndes Shingler

Sam Anderson

Max Fugler

First Peach Bowl: December 30, 1968
With Florida State set to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, it's appropriate to go back in time to the first Peach Bowl, the forerunner of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, when FSU placed LSU. The game matched two head coaches who had been assistants on Paul Dietzel's staff in Baton Rouge in the 1950s.

The independent Seminoles finished the regular season 8-2.

  • The losses were to Florida in Tallahassee, 9-3, when the Gator D held Bill Peterson's aerial circus to 17 fewer points than they would score in any other game that season. The other loss also came at home to Virginia Tech 40-22.
  • The key victories were 24-14 at Maryland in the season opener, 48-7 at North Carolina State, and 40-20 over Houston in Jacksonville. The last game was a big upset over a Cougar team that had beaten Tulsa 100-6, accumulating 762y.
  • Junior QB Bill Cappleman (Dunedin FL) had the best statistical season of any FSU QB to that point: 162-for-287 for 2,410y and 25 TD. His main target, All-American receiver Ron Sellers, broke the national record for career pass yardage.

LSU won 7 and lost 3.

  • The Tigers' defeats came at Miami 30-0, to Archie Manning and Ole Miss 27-24, and to Alabama, as usual, 16-7.
  • Charlie McClendon's season included victories over four Southwest Conference foes: Texas A&M (13-12), at Rice (21-7), Baylor (48-16), and TCU (10-7), in addition to traditional foes Kentucky (13-3), Mississippi State (20-16), and at Tulane (34-10).
  • A junior QB also led the Tigers, lefty Mike Hillman from Lockport LA.

35,545 fans turned out on a cold, rainy night (42º with wind gusting to 25 mph) in Fulton County Stadium to watch a game that caused the UPI reporter to ask in his lead: "What is the Peach Bowl going to do for an encore? The first annual Peach Bowl was a dilly ..."

  • LSU fumbled the opening kickoff, and FSU led 7-0 after only 15 seconds on a 37y run by Tom Bailey (Miami) and the PAT by Grant Guthrie.
  • After LSU turned the ball over on each of its first four possessions, the Noles struck again on the first play of Q2. Cappleman hit Bill Gunter for a 75y TD. The failed EP left the score 13-0.
  • The Tigers finally came to life when Craig Burns returned a punt 39y to paydirt. Mark Lumpkin's kick made it 13-7. Afterwards, Peterson said, "We had them in a hole early, but we could have played a better first half. That punt return turned it around." McClendon agreed that Burns' score "gave us momentum."
  • Later in the period, Lumpkin booted a 32y FG to make it 13-10 at the half.
  • The Tigers dominated Q3 with 14 unanswered points. TE Bob Hamlett (Bossier City) caught an 11y score from Hillman to climax the first possession of the second half. Then the southpaw threw another 11y TD, this one to Bill Stober (Rockford OH).
  • FSU answered with 14 of their own in Q4 to regain the lead. After being held to only one catch in the first three periods, Sellers caught two TD passes from Cappleman, one from the 2 to culminate a 72y drive and the other from the 4 after the Bengals fumbled away another kickoff. After failing on a 2-point pass after the first TD, Cappleman hit 6'4" 235 lb Chip Glass to make it 27-24 with six minutes left.
  • LSU began a drive from its 39 but faced 3rd-and-19 at the FSU 37 when Hillman drilled one down the middle that E Tommy Morel (New Orleans) took away from three defenders for 20y – just enough to move the chains. "That Morel, in that last drive, made one of the greatest clutch catches – in a crowd – that I ever said," McClendon said.
  • Maurice LeBlanc, an often-injured second-team RB who led all rushers with 97y in 14 carries, toted the pigskin to the 14. Hillman kept for 11, then LeBlanc carried it across for the go-ahead tally with 2:39 left. Lumpkin's kick made it a 4-point game, 31-27.
  • LSU survived a scare when CB Barton Frye (Baton Rouge) tipped a pass away from Sellers in the last seconds.
1968 Peach Bowl Action
Peach Bowl Action
Hillman, not Cappleman, won the outstanding offensive player award while DE Buddy Millican (Baton Rouge) took defensive honors.
  • "Actually, we beat them at their own game," McClendon opbserved. Hillman finished 16-29 for 229 while Cappleman was 21-41 for 221 with 1 INT. Morel had more yards, 103, on six catches than Sellers' 75 on 8 receptions.
  • McClendon, as always, praised his D. "We mixed our defense in the second half. Our pass rush was effective and that was the difference." Peterson agreed, "Cappleman was thrown for losses more in this game than at any other time."

Video highlights of Game

1968 Peach Bowl Program

Coach Bill PetersonCoach Charles McClendon
Bill Peterson (L) and Charles McClendon on LSU staff 1958

QB Bill Cappleman
Bill Cappleman

Ron Sellers
Ron Sellers


Coach McClendon with Peach Bowl Trophy
McClendon with Peach Bowl trophy

1996 Peach Bowl

LSU Coach Gerry DiNardo
Gerry DiNardo

Clemson Coach Tommy West
Tommy West

Clemson DE Trevor Pryce
Trevor Pryce

Clemson QB Nealon Greene
Nealon Greene

As this is written just before the 2012 Chick-fil-A bowl, LSU and Clemson have met just twice on the gridiron, both times in bowl games.
  • The first, and more famous, clash came in the 1959 Sugar Bowl when LSU defeated Clemson 7-0 to complete their undefeated national championship season.
  • After a scoreless first half, Billy Cannon fired a HB pass to Mickey Mangham for a 9y TD to stave off the upset. The short drive was set up by Duane Leopard's recovery of a bad punt snap on the 11.

The next meeting came 28 years later in Atlanta in what was then called the Peach Bowl.

  • Gerry DiNardo came to LSU in 1995 vowing to "Bring Back the Magic" to Tiger Stadium and end the six-year bowl drought. He did that immediately, leading LSU to 7-4-1 mark and a victory over Nick Saban's Michigan State Spartans in the Independence Bowl.
  • Gerry's '96 team finished 9-2, LSU's best record since 10-1-1 in '87. The #17 Tigers tied Alabama for first in the SEC West but didn't qualify for the champ­ionship game because of the Tide's 26-0 victory in Baton Rouge.
  • Concerning the post-season matchup, DiNardo said: There is a lot of history that makes this an interesting and exciting game. It will be fun to play in the Georgia Dome for our players and it promises to be a tremendous experience for our fans.
  • LSU had played in the first Peach Bowl in 1968 against Florida State but had not been back to Atlanta since for any game.

Clemson won the mythical Lazarus Award for rising from the dead midway through the season.

  • The Tigers shook off a 2-3 start and a spate of embarrassing off-the-field inci­dents to win five straight before losing to archrival South Carolina in the finale when Matt Padgett's 37y FG sailed wide left on the game's last play. Remember that name and the result.
  • With a 6-2 conference record, the Tigers tied North Carolina for second in the ACC.
Some reporters commented on the similarities between the two Tiger teams.
  • Same team nickname and same stadium nickname: "Death Valley"
  • Same coaching philosophy: Play physical football based on a strong running game and tenacious defense.
  • Rely on a workhorse running back: LSU's sophomore sensation Kevin Faulk rushed for 1,282y while junior Raymond Priester gave West 1,194y. Each ranked second in his conference, and each team led its league in rushing.
  • When Clemson coach Tommy West watched LSU film, he saw the kind of team he wanted at Clemson built around the word "tough." He said of DiNardo: I've got a lot of respect for the way he runs his program as far as the toughness part. I enjoy watching that. I think this game will turn into a very physical contest. It will be fun to watch, especially if you like two teams that rely on that kind of football.
The pregame didn't please Clemson fans.
  • For some reason (confusion of South Carolina schools' traditions?), the music chosen for Clemson's entrance was Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra (better known as "2001 A Space Odyssey). The problem? That's the theme of Clemson's hated rival, South Carolina. Folks in orange among the 63,622 booed. Then they saw their heroes racing out of the tunnel amid indoor fireworks. Some switched to cheers. Most kept booing - the music, not the players.
  • The players, who may have been confused by the booing, wore orange pants as well as orange jerseys, a winning outfit the last eight times the Tigers wore that combination.
Each coach got the game he wanted on December 28 in the Georgia Dome. Fans who like lots of scoring changed the channel early.
  • Clemson created the first break late in Q1 when star DE Trevor Pryce sacked QB Herb Tyler, jarring the ball loose in the process. LB Harold Means picked up the pigskin and rumbled to the 9 before being brought down.
  • Two runs moved the ball to the 5. From there, QB Nealon Greene rolled to his left but couldn't find anyone open. So he reversed field into the EZ. Padgett's PAT made it 7-0.
1996 Peach Bowl Action - 1 Kevin Faulk runs in 1996 Peach Bowl.
L: Trevor Price sacks Herb Tyler, causing a fumble. R: Kevin Faulk breaks loose.

LSU K Wade Richey
Wade Richey

DT Anthony McFarland LSU
Anthony "Booger" McFarland

LSU DB Cedric Donaldson
Cedric Donaldson

LSU came right back from the fumble, driving 80y in seven plays.

  • Tyler was huge on the drive, rushing for 14y on the final play of Q1 and hitting passes of 19 and 31y, the second for a first down at the 7.
  • Faulk's 3y run tied the score.

It didn't take LSU long to take the lead.

  • On their next possession, the Bayou Tigers prowled 77y in 10 plays.
  • They seemed to score on Tyler's 1y plunge, but a procedure penalty negated the tally. Herb kept again on the next play but was stopped a foot short of the goal.
  • So DiNardo settled for a 22y FG by Wade Richey with 4:35 on the clock.

The teams spent the rest of the evening pounding away at each other without putting any more points on the board.

  • Clemson's "Sominex offense" (to quote Mike Berardino of the Augusta Chronicle) moved into LSU territory only to self-combust. As expected, Priester did the heavy lifting. He finished with 151y on 25 carries to become the school's leading rusher with 3,010y. He also broke the single-season yardage mark he set in '95 and added to his record for career 100y games with 12.
  • But Raymond needed more help from his mates. Clemson had ten possessions through the first three quarters and half lasted just three plays, counting the short scoring drive. With such a pedestrian offense, the Tigers couldn't afford any mistakes. Instead, a holding penalty stopped one drive and false start and delay of game calls disrupted another series.
  • The ACC Tigers moved from the 10 to midfield on one drive, but DT Booger McFarland sacked Greene and Cedric Donaldson stopped Priester for a loss. We feel like no one can drive the length of the field on us, McFarland said. Every time they got going, we decided it was time for the defense to make a play.
  • Punter Kevin Laird was West's best weapon. He set a Peach Bowl record with seven punts inside the 20 to keep LSU backed up for most of the game.
  • Another Clemson possession ended when Priester fumbled for the first time all season one play after setting the school career rushing record on a 13y gain. There's not a whole lot to say, G Glenn Rountree said. We just kept stopping our­selves, shooting ourselves in the foot.
 1996 Peach Bowl - Priester Runs
Raymond Priester gains some of his 151y.
1996 Peach Bowl - LSU on offense1996 Peach Bowl - Herb Tyler
Herb Tyler calls the signals for LSU.

LSU TE David LaFleur
David LaFleur 

Clemson K Matt Padgett
Matt Padgett
  • LSU moved closed enough in Q3 for Richey to try a 40y FG, but Pryce came up with another big play - the first blocked kick for the Bayou Bengals all season.
  • With the Orange D limiting Faulk to just 64y on 23 carries, the SEC Tigers could not add to the lead and had to rely on their defense to hang on. At one point, usually reliable TE David LeFleur dropped a wide-open TD pass.
 1996 Peach Bowl - Nicky Savoie
A defender snares TE Nicki Savoie.
Late in the game, Faulk muffed a punt to hand Clemson excellent field position.
  • Facing a third-and-1 at the LSU 30, the Tigers were set back 5y by a procedure penalty. Then Greene's pass fell incomplete.
  • That brought Padgett in to attempt the tying 3-pointer from 52y out with 1:10 left. Padgett had never attempted a FG longer than 49y.
  • Still, he felt confident. I hit it good, he said afterward. Whether it was low or not, I can't say. It felt like it had height to me. Coach West said I was one of the luckiest guys he ever knew to have two chances to do that [win a game] in a month. The one against South Carolina, I hit that one bad. Going out there tonight, I thought I would make the kick.
  • Padgett will never know whether the kick would have gone through the uprights because DE Aaron Adams blocked it.
  • Sometimes things don't go the way you want them to, philosophied Padgett in the locker room.
1996 Peach Bowl - Tigers exult
Tigers exult with the Peach Bowl trophy.
48 is LB Joe Wesley. 34 is unknown.

The victory gave LSU just its fifth season of 10 or more wins.

  • Neither team reached the 300y mark for offense: LSU 297, Clemson 258.
  • Tyler earned the MVP award after completing 14-of-21 for 163 while rushing for an additional 38.
  • DiNardo: It was kind of typical of our year. We won ugly a lot this year. I felt on te sidelines the score should have been different. If we had lost this game, it would have bothered me.
  • The loss dampened Priester's record-setting performance. It wasn't enough to give my team a victory. This will stick with me until spring ball. But things happen. We didn't make the plays when we had the opportunity to.

LSU rose to #12 in the final AP poll, their highest ranking since 1987.

The game was the last "Peach Bowl" before Chick-fil-A took over sponsorship. So LSU has the distinction of winning both the first and last Peach Bowls.

2005 Capital One Bowl

Tiger fans were excited when Nick Saban's 9-2, #12-ranked LSU squad was invited to play New Year's Day in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando against the Iowa Hawkeyes, also 9-2 and ranked #11. But a Christmas announcement would dampen the enthusiasm of many.

LSU's Season

  • With fan anticipation at an all-time high after the Tigers won the 2003 BCS Championship, LSU was fortunate to win its opener against Oregon State 22-21 because the Beaver kicker missed two EPs. Also, a theme for the season started immediately as neither Marcus Randall nor JaMarcus Russell could play consistently enough to keep the starting QB spot for the rest of the season.
  • The Tigers lost on the road to an Auburn team that would go unbeaten.
  • Georgia got revenge in spades for the two defeats the Tigers hung on them in '03.
  • The next week, Randall came off the bench to lead a 24-21 comeback win at Florida. That started a six-game winning streak to end the regular season.

    25 Tigers on the '04 team would play in the NFL.

LSU QB Marcus Randall
Marcus Randall

LSU QB JaMarcus Russell
JaMarcus Russell

Oklahoma State Coach Les Miles
Les Miles

LSU O-coordinator Jimbo Fisher
Jimbo Fisher

2005 Capital One Bowl Program


LSU 2004
Oregon State
Arkansas State
Mississippi State
Alabama 26-10
Ole Miss
LSU Coach Nick Saban
Nick Saban
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz
Kurt Ferentz
Iowa 2004
Kent State
Iowa State
@Arizona State
Michigan State 38-16
Ohio State 33-7
@Penn State 6-4
@Illinois 23-13
Purdue 23-21
@Minnesota 29-27
Wisconsin 30-7

The Opponent

  • Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeyes did the Tigers one better by winning their last seven outings after suffering a humiliating early loss to Arizona State.
  • It was amazing that Iowa did so well in the Big Ten (7-1) considering their woeful running game that averaged only 74.9 ypg. This put them last not only in the conference but also in the entire nation.
  • A big mitigating factor in the rushing performance was the loss of four RBs to season-ending injuries. Sam Brownlee led the team with only 216y.
  • Iowa ranked 41st in passing offense with 235.8 ypg behind sophomore QB Drew Tate.
  • His team's performance as co-Big Ten champions earned Ferentz the Big Ten Coach of the Year award.

The opposing coaches had served on the same NFL staff.

  • Saban and Ferentz assisted Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns in 1993 and 1994. Nick coached the defensive backs while Kirk handled the O line. The Browns made the playoffs in '94 behind the best D in the NFL.
  • Saban took the head coaching job at Michigan State in 1995 before coming to Baton Rouge four years later.
  • After a stint with the Baltimore Ravens, Ferentz became Iowa's coach in 1999. His first Hawkeye team lost to Saban's Spartans 49-3. Thank goodness he is a friend of mind, said Kirk. Because it could have been worse.
  • Belichick, now coach of the New England Patriots, praised his proteges. They're very smart. They're both well-organized. ... They don't get distracted by a lot of stuff. They understand the big picture.

The focus on the Capital One Bowl changed Christmas day.

  • Confirming rumors that had been flying, Saban announced that he was leaving LSU to coach the Miami Dolphins. His salary would be $5 million in a state with no income tax.
  • Discussion of Saban's successor crowded out the bowl game. Bobby Petrino (Louisville), Houston Nutt (Arkansas), Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville Jaguars), Butch Davis (Cleveland Browns), and even Ferentz were mentioned as possibilities, but by New Year's Day the consensus came down to Les Miles of Oklahoma State after Petrino took his name out of contention.
  • Nick refused to be sucked into the discussion other than to offer this: I don't want to see somebody come in here and not continue it in a positive way. ... If the politics of this institution come into play in making a decision about who the next coach is going to be, I would not think that would be in the best interest of the future.
  • AD Skip Bertman insisted that he would make the final decision after receiving the recommendation of the selection committee.
  • Saban said there was never any discussion about letting someone else coach the bowl game. Since the NFL season hadn't ended, Nick didn't need to start his tenure with the Dolphins pronto as he would if he were going to another college, where he would need to start recruiting for 2005.
  • Nick: I wanted to do it (coach the bowl game) out of respect for the players. I'm happy that I did do it, and I certainly want to do a great job for these guys on our team that have been the reason that we've had so much success ... This is their reward for having a great season. ... I'm pleased with how the staff has tried to hang in there, but I think uncertainty affects a lot of things ...
  • The LSU players wanted to send their coach off with a victory. Senior DE Marcus Spears: Everybody was still focused and said, "Let's win this one for coach, the last one, and also for the seniors," and I think everyone's committed to that.
  • Saban chose Randall to start in Orlando based on his "fantastic game" at Arkansas (10/14, 173y, 2 TD, 0 INT) to end the regular season.
  • Regardless of the QB starter, Iowa D-coordinator Norm Parker, who served under Saban at Michigan State, thought stopping Jimbo Fisher's offense would be a challenge. They do a lot of the same things from different formations. ... The QBs are different, but they're both good in their own way; so it's like defending two different guys.
The Game

70,229 saw JaMarcus Russell lead a comeback destined to live forever in the annals of LSU football until a miracle finish propelled the contest into Iowa's hall of memories.

First Quarter

  • With both teams having played their last game over a month earlier, it was understandable if they started sloppy, especially on offense.
    But the Hawkeyes showed no signs of rust as they took the kickoff and drove 69y. They scored on their sixth snap by burning a blitz. Clinton Solomon caught a short pass over the middle, shook off a defender, and sprinted to the EZ for a 57y score. The TD was the longest against the Tigers all season.
    LSU did start slowly, gaining a net of only 22y on their first two possessions. Ryan Majerus blocked Chris Jackson's second punt to give the Hawks the ball on the LSU 27. Ryan explained: I was begging coach on the sidelines to let me try to block one. Three guys up front cleared out a hole for me, and I basically went in untouched. I knew before the play started that I'd be able to block it. Untouched. Unbelievable.
    But Melvin Oliver intercepted a screen pass on the first snap and rumbled to the Iowa 31. It was the first INT of Oliver's career and made him the eighth Tiger to snare an INT on the season.
    But three plays netted -10; so Jackson punted into the EZ.
    After Iowa gained 19y, Tate, under duress, threw another pick, this one by a diving Laron Landry on the 31 with 1:46 left in the period. It was the safety's fourth INT of the season. LSU moved to the 12 as the quarter ended.

Second Quarter

  • Jackson kicked a FG nine seconds into Q2.
    The Tigers sacked Tate twice in a row, one by LB Kenny Hollis, the other by DT Claude Wroten, to force a three-and-out.
    The Bayou Bengals gained great field position after Skylar Green returned the punt 16y to the Iowa 29. But seven plays later, the Tigers had to settle for another Jackson FG, this one 47y with 9:26 on the clock.
    The teams then exchanged punts twice, and it looked like Iowa would take a 7-6 lead into halftime despite gaining only three first downs.
    But the Hawkeyes scored with 64 seconds left thanks to a special teams play. Miguel Merrick blocked Jackson's punt, and Sean Considine scooped the ball at the 7 and ran into the EZ.
    But the scoring still wasn't finished. After the kickoff was returned to the 26, redshirt freshman Matt Flynn took over at QB becauseLB Abdul Hodge had banged up Randall's ribs on a crushing sack. Matt was third-string all season but moved up the depth chart during the 14 days of pre-bowl workouts.
    Flynn took his first snap and handed to RB Alley Broussard, who swept right, cut back, zig-zagged until he sprung loose down the right sideline to the EZ to complete LSU's longest play of the season. Jackson's PAT try went awry to make the score 14-12 at the break.

Third Quarter

  • LSU received the kickoff but, after driving 34y with two completions, Randall threw an INT to CB Jovon Johnson, who returned 7y to the Iowa 38. Marcus didn't take another snap. Saban: Marcus convinced me he could play. The other guys out there thought he was really hurting.
    Using more rollouts and screen passes to blunt the LSU rush, Tate completed five of his first six passes to lead the Hawkeyes 60y in 12 plays to set up Kyle Schlicher's 19y FG to make it 17-12 with 9:59 left.
    Green returned the kickoff 58y to the Iowa 26. But after three plays failed to gain a first down, LSU lined up for a FG. Holder Flynn took the snap and ran up the middle only to be stopped a yard short.
    After an exchange of punts, the Hawkeyes took possession on their 28.
    Take away Broussard's run, and LSU's other 47 offensive plays in the first three periods averaged just 2.5y.

Fourth Quarter

  • Iowa took a commanding 24-12 lead at the 9:59 mark on Marques Simmons' 4y run off LT to end the 10-play 72y march. Tate hit three-of-four during the advance, including 20 and 21-yarders to TE Scott Chandler.
    With Flynn struggling (1-of-4 for 11y and a 14y sack), JaMarcus Russell came off the bench to drive the Tigers 74y in 11 plays. He completed 5-of-7 passes, the last a picture-perfect 22y throw to Green on a skinny post pattern. The PAT made it 24-19.
    The Tigers forced a punt after allowing one first down to get the ball back at their 31 at the 5:06 mark.
    Russell found Green again with back-to-back hookups for 9 and 10y to move the ball to midfield. The drive nearly ended when Early Doucet came up a foot short on a 3rd-and-6 pass. But Broussard slashed 8y to gain the first down at the 32. Russell then hit Dwayne Bowe for 18, scrambled for 4y, then dumped a pass over the middle to RB Joseph Addai to convert a 3rd-and-6 by 1y. After spiking the ball on first-and-goal at the 3, Russell fired a laser that Green yanked down on a slant pattern before going out the back of the EZ for a 25-24 lead with just 46 seconds to go. LSU fans rejoiced over one of the greatest Q4 rallies in school history. But not so fast, my friend. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
    Walter Belleus returned the kickoff 26y to the 29 with 0:46. Tate had two timeouts to work with as he tried to march the Hawkeyes into FG range.
    He hit Ed Hinkel for 11, and Warren Holloway for 9. After the second completion, the Hawkeyes hurried to the line of scrimmage, and Tate spiked the ball. However, the referee ruled that they hadn't waited until he marked the ball ready for play. So a 5y penalty was marched off back to the 44.
    Ferentz, thinking the clock would not start until the next snap, failed to call a timeout. Tate and his offense huddled, not realizing the clock was running. Referee Hal Dowden stuck his head in to remind them the clock was moving.
    Tate called "all up," meaning the four receivers run vertical routes down the field.
    Here's the transcript of the Iowa radio broadcast at this point:
    They wind the clock. 9 seconds to play, and Drew Tate doesn't know that. The game is going to end on this play. He fires downfield. It's caught. And into the end zone! Touchdown Iowa! Touchdown Iowa! No time on the clock! I don't believe what I just saw!
    Video of winning TD with Iowa radio broadcast audio
    Tate took the snap. He faded back but, seeing his first two options (Solomon and Chandler) covered and getting no pressure from the six-man rush, threw the ball down the right seam to Holloway, a fifth-year senior who had never scored a college TD. Wide open because DB Ronnie Prude, thinking LSU was in a zone when man-to-man had been called, moved up to cover Chandler from the slot, Holloway snagged the ball in stride at the 10, escaped S Travis Daniels' arm tackle, and dashed into the EZ as time expired.

Clinton Solomon scores first TD for Iowa.
Clint Solomon scores the first TD for Iowa.

LSU K Chris Jackson
Chris Jackson

LSU T Melvin Oliver
Melvin Oliver

LSU QB Matt Flynn
Matt Flynn

LSU RB Alley Broussard
Alley Broussard

Drew Tate runs downfield after completing winning pass.
Drew Tate runs downfield after completing winning pass.

Winning TD Pass - 1Winning TD pass - 2Winning TD pass - 3
Shots of the winning TD pass.
Holloway escapes Daniels' tackle.LSU sideline reacts to winning score.
L: Warren Holloway escapes Travis Daniels' tackle. R: LSU sideline reacts to winning score.

Tate Hugs HollowayHawkeyes celebrate with Capital One Bowl trophy
L: Tate hugs Holloway after winning TD; R: Hawkeyes celebrate with Capital One Bowl trophy.
Nick Saban leaves field after 2005 Capital One Bowl.
Saban leaves field as LSU coach for last time.

  • LSU had won 38 consecutive games when scoring more than 24 points, a streak that started before Saban arrived.
  • The Tigers recorded at least one sack for the 37th straight contest.
  • WR Craig Davis's Q1 catch completed his streak of catching at least one pass in every game of the '04 season.


  • Saban, who finished his LSU tenure with a 48-16 record: You always dislike losing a game, especially losing a game like this. The last 14 or 20 seconds of this game somewhat tarnish the things that this team has accomplished in its four years. I only feel badly that I could not do more to help the players play better. ... I'm very proud of our players for the way they fought back in the game. ... Mental errors are a terrible way to lose, because that means the other guy didn't really physically beat you. You really beat yourself. ... We just didn't do as good a job on defense. I just didn't think we played with the same kind of intensity. Their QB did a good job. They started moving the pocket almost all the time to move away from our pressure ... That was kind of a new little wrinkle coming out of halftime. We had a couple of opportunities to make plays in the second half which we didn't. We had a couple of third-down situations which we didn't get out of, so I think that was really the difference.
    On his LSU experience: This has probably been the best experience I've ever had as a coach - the five years I spent at LSU. Call them golden years or whatever for me. I hope they were good years for everyone else.
  • LSU CB Corey Webster on the coverage mixup: The offense was rushing to the line of scrimmage right as we got the call in from the sideline, and somehow the guy ended up running free down the middle of the field. We had one guy come up to blitz instead of cover, and that left the rest of us scrambling around to get in position.
  • LSU DT Kyle Williams: The offense gave us the opportunity to win the ballgame, and we blew it. When you get a lead that late in the game, the defense has to stand up and protect it.
  • Spears refused to pin the loss on the distraction of the coach departing. You couldn't tell he was going on to the new job. He was the first to arrive for meetings and the last to leave.
  • Ferentz: I don't know if you could write a better script. Nobody would believe it if you did. ... We were playing for a FG, needless to say. But nobody is complaining about the way it turned out. Concerning the clock mismanagement at the end: I blew it not taking the timeout there. I didn't realize that after a penalty, they start the clock. It was my fault. On his team: The resiliency these guys have shown. It's hard to put into words. For this thing to end the way it did is probably pretty fitting.
  • Holloway: It really hasn't hit me yet. Maybe in a month or so. This is a dream. ... Clint [Solomon] was supposed to get the ball. He thought not calling timeout before the last play ended up helping the Hawkeyes. We lined up fast. It looked like they were running out to cover three, but the guy didn't get out there fast enough over me. When we hiked the ball, I took advantage and we scored.
  • Tate, who shrugged off a slow start to end with 287y passing (20-of-32) and earn the MVP award, on the final play: That probably was the most time I had to throw all day. I thought I overthrew him. Once Warren caught it, he wasn't going down. We ended up with an ESPN Classic.
  • Hinkel on the winning play: We ran that play six times today, I think. That was the first time it went Warren's way.
  • Iowa DT Jonathan Babineaux on his view of the final play from the sidelines: I wondered why we weren't calling a timeout when the clock was running out. I was like - uh - does anyone see the clock running? He added: What that lead did was make us all step it up a notch. Maybe some of our great fans in the stands thought the game was over, but we didn't.
  • DB Johnson on Russell: He had a game. I think if they might've gone to him earlier, they might've been in better shape at the end. But we'll never know that now, will we?

Video Highlights of 2005 Capital One Bowl
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