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.
1908 Auburn: Tigers Survive on the Road
Led by their sensational quarterback Doc Fenton, LSU had roared through their first four opponents, defeating them by the incredible combined score of 203-5. But Game #5, the Ti­gers' first road contest, promised to be the first big test. Auburn, coached by future LSU coach Mike Donahue, was undefeated and unscored on in four games against Howard (to­day's Samford), Gordon Col­lege (Barnesville GA), Mercer, and Sewanee.
LSU Coach Edgar Wingard called his next foe "a splendid team. They have two very good coaches, one for the back field, the other for the line. They have practically all of last year's Varsity (back). McLaurin at quarter is a splendid general, but he will have a good opponent in (Doc) Fenton." However, the Tiger coach didn't consider Auburn's first four victims to be strong foes comparable to LSU victims Texas A&M and Southwestern.
Wingard worried about the 178-162 average weight advantage the Alabamians would en­joy. Also, "Auburn is in fine condition while we have several of our stars injured. (Bill) Seip, one of the best if not the very best, end in the South, may not play, and if he does he will be sorely handicapped. The same can be said of (R. L.) Stovall, Sr., who is by far the best man for his weight in the South today."
The 15-man Tiger squad made the trip on Thursday by train along with 800 enthusiastic fans.

L-R: Doc Fenton, Bill Seip, R. L. Stovall, Michael Lally, Marshall Gandy
(LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1909)
A "tremendous crowd" witnessed what multiple reports called "the roughest and most hard-fought game ever seen" at Auburn. Slugging was common. LSU's Marshall "Cap" Gandy and Auburn's Daniel Her­ren were kicked out of the game. Three Auburn players were knocked unconscious. The news­paper report said: "The fame of L.S.U. has pre­ceded the team, and every Auburn supporter realized that the Polytechnic boys had the fight of their lives on their hands if they hoped to keep up their winning lick." Fenton recalled years later: "The game wasn't played on a football field. It was more like a sandhill. Fans were crowded all around the field and you had that hem­med-in feeling. A rope was the only thing that held them back."
LSU Tigers Score First
On their second possession, the Tigers gained 11y by end runs and then surprised the de­fense with back-to-back forward passes. The first, to Michael Lally, netted 40y to the 35. Seip caught the next one and raced to a touchdown after ten minutes of play. Fenton's kick failed, keeping the score 5-0.
A few minutes later, LSU found itself backed up to its 10 because of a roughness penalty. So Fenton dropped back to punt. Doc recalled what happened next: "I was kicking from behind my own goal, and an Auburn tackle [T.C. Locke] broke through to block it. The ball was bouncing around so I picked it up and was getting ready to run it out of the end zone when a fan reached over the rope and cracked me over the head with a cane. It knocked me cold." The safety made the score 5-2 at the half.
When LSU retired at halftime to a room near the field, Wingard's wife welcomed them. Her husband had given many a rousing speech, but her exhortation to win for "dear old LSU" was long remembered. All during her speech, Auburn students pelted the tin roof with rocks. "That only made us madder," said Fenton.
Fenton's Punt Return Sets Up Next TD
Neither team came close to scoring in the second half until Fenton returned a punt 35y to midfield (which was the 55, not the 50). LSU then resorted to "straight football" (no forward passing) to put the game on ice. After a short gain up the middle, then 3y around right end, the fullback gained 10 over center to the 15. Lally then carried the pigskin around left end and across the goal from there. The PAT was again missed to make the score 10-2. Neither team threatened after that.
Those would be the only points scored on Auburn all season as they defeated Georgia Tech and Georgia by a combined 67 points.
When the Tigers returned to Baton Rouge that night, the student body and hundreds of townspeople gave them a wild reception.
For many years, Auburn refused to list the loss to LSU in its 1908 results. The reason? LSU was a "professional team." As a current Auburn fan blog explains in a Web article entitled "Auburn's 1908 team went undefeated despite losing to professional LSU team": "You can call that a loss if you want, but do consider that on average, LSU's players were 20 pounds heavier than Auburn's. And that almost all of them had Yankee accents. And that—wouldn't you know it—almost all of them were being paid."
Clyde Bolton makes the same claim in his book War Eagle: A Story of Auburn Football (1973): "Mike Donahue not only bore the handicap of having to cultivate barren recruiting fields, but his teams sometimes faced opponents who were laden with professional players. Vanderbilt's domination of Southern football panicked some schools into opening their purses and hiring stars. In fact, 1907 became known as the Ringer Season in the South. ...
"LSU ... was a principal suspect in the Ringer situation. ... Doc Fenton was recruited out of Pennsylvania. In later years, he told how LSU and Mississippi State each got hold of recruiting letters the other had written him. They feared they could wreck each other—so they decided to trade the evidence for their mutual protection. When LSU decided to shift Fenton from end to quarterback, it smoothed the transition by buying him $70 worth of clothes, he said."