LSU Pivotal Football Moments
pivotal college football moment: A decision by a coach or athletic director that changes the momentum of a program or an action by a player that changes the momentum of a game.
1947 Ole Miss: Caught with My Pants Down
It isn't often that a football team gains 22 first downs to nine for the opponent but loses. But that's what happened to the #17 LSU Tigers on November 1, 1947, against the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium. And one play in particular exemplified the Tigers' frustra­tion on that damp Saturday night while another one won a place in LSU lore but didn't have as much of an impact on the game as the fabled story would have you believe.
With the Rebels leading 13-6 in the last minutes of the first half, Ole Miss LHB Charlie Conerly fired a long pass that LSU senior QB Y. A. Tittle intercepted on the Tiger 15 - one future NFL great throwing the ball to a future NFL Hall of Famer. Bill Keefe described the play this way in The Times-Picayune. "Tittle made a grand run after intercepting a pass from Conerly - a run that might have gained more ground but for the fact that Yelberton's belt broke and his pants threatened to fall about his knees and down him harder than Bar­ney Poole could have downed him. Fortunately - for himself - he held them up with one hand and still gained."

L-R: Y. A. Tittle, Charlie Conerly, Barney Poole
Tittle recalled the play in his 2009 autobiography:
  I call this game the Belt-Buckle Game. Not only did we lose, but it turned out to be the most embarrassing incident of my entire football career. I lost my pants in front of 40,000 fans - one of whom was my fiancée, Minnette DeLoach.
  While playing defense, I intercepted a pass from Ole Miss's second-string quarterback. I was playing the left corner and timed the ball perfectly. I cut in front of the Mississippi receiver just as he was reaching for the ball. I grabbed the ball away from him but not before he tackled me around the middle and tore loose my belt buckle.
   Back then football pants were not made of Lycra (hell, it wasn't even invented yet) and did not fit tight against the skin. They were somewhat baggy and loose and needed a belt to hold them up.
   I had taken only a few steps en route to scoring the winning touchdown when I realized that I was about to lose my pants. I couldn't stop to pull them up. The team needed the six points more than I needed to pull up my pants - even if 40,000 people, including Minnette, were watching.
   I tucked the ball under my right arm and held on to my pants with my left hand. There was no one between the goal line and me. I remember first crossing the 50-yard line, then the 40. I was on my way. I wasn't running that fast because, first of all, I'm not that fast to begin with, and second because it was hard to run while holding up my pants.
   By the time I reached the 20, I had slowed down considerably. A couple of Mississippi defensive backs had a good angle on me, and I was hemmed in along the sideline.
   As the nearest back made a grab for me, I tried to shift the ball from my right hand to my left so I could stiff-arm him. In the process, I completely forgot that my left hand was all that stood between me and total embarrassment.
   As my pants began to slip off my hips, I managed to jog a few more steps as they slid down around my knees. I fell flat on my face, 10 yards away from the winning touchdown. The opposition never laid a finger on me. They didn't have to; I was taken out by own pants!
   I staggered to my feet, frantically trying to pull up my pants, but I fell again. By this time the entire fan base at Tiger Stadium was in an uproar. Everyone was laughing - even my own teammates.
   Coates, Cason, and Knight stumbled onto the field to shield me so I could pull up my pants. They continued to laugh uncontrollably.
   Losing my pants was not fun to me. I was embarrassed and humiliated. And more than anything else, I was angry because I had failed to get the touchdown. Furthermore, we lost the game.
Tittle's recollection makes for a colorful story, but 62 years after the fact his memory embellished the play considerably and his co-author didn't bother to check the newspa­per accounts. The newspaper articles the next day contain these facts:
--The pass was thrown by Conerly, not the "second-string quarterback."
--In his article on the game, Keefe wrote this: "They (Ole Miss) tried a pass in despe­ration, Tittle intercepting it on the 20 and running it back to the Tiger 38 while pulling up falling pants with one hand and holding the ball with the other."
--He didn't fall down without being touched but instead was tackled from behind by All-American E Barney Poole.
--No account mentions his pants actually sliding down to his knees.

L: Jim McLeod; R: Rebels tackle Rip Collins
The real killer play for the Tigers occurred on the opening snap of the fourth peri­od with Ole Miss still ahead 13-6. A daring quarterback sneak by Tittle on fourth down at midfield near the end of the third quarter kep the LSU possession going. On the first play of the final period, third down at the Rebel 33, Tittle launched along pass downfield. Big Jim McLeod was waiting for it all alone on the 10y line, standing still facing the ball. But the pigskin bounced right out of his hands on what should have been the easiest catch of the night. So the Tigers had to punt.
LSU finally scored on "Rip" Collins' 5y run around right end with 9:13 on the clock. But RT Holly Heard missed his second extra point of the night to keep Ole Miss in front 13-12.
Conerly quickly passed the Rebels to the LSU 26. Then he faded back, stood there looking around, and suddenly decided to run. His ramble through the Tigers ended with a dive over the goal with a tackler hanging on. The extra point made it 20-12, which made it difficult for LSU to come back in that era before the two-point conversion.
The Tigers kept fighting, scoring another touchdown on a dipsy-do play. From the Reb 11, Tittle tossed a lateral to HB Ray Coates, who ran to the left and suddenly whirled and tossed a pass back to his right to E Joe Leach, who was in the clear in the end zone. Heard missed his third straight kick to make the final score Ole Miss 20 LSU 18.
The Rebels won the 1947 SEC Championship as the Tigers finished a disappoint­ing 5-3-1 in Bernie Moore's final year as head coach before becoming SEC Commis­sioner.

L: Holly Heard; R: Jeff Leach