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.
1924 @Rice: Donahue Beats Heisman
The LSU Tigers, fresh off an exciting win at Indiana, took their 3-0 record to Houston to play Rice, which had won both its outings in the young season. The game pitted future College Football Hall of Fame Coaches. Mike Donahue was in his second year at LSU while John Heisman had just come to Rice after a year at Washington & Jefferson. The two coaches had clashed multiple times when Heisman was at Georgia Tech and Donahue at Auburn from 1904-22.
Heisman had a challenging task ahead of him because Rice, a private university with a little over 1,000 students, had high academic standards. The famed coach would leave for greener pastures four years later after going 14-18-1, his only losing record at any of the nine colleges he coached.
The LSU traveling squad of 28 players was reported to be "in excellent physical conditions." The Tigers were determined to bring Donahue a victory "over his old rival, John W. Heis­man." Fans back in Baton Rouge would be able to follow the game on the grid-graph on State field on the downtown campus next to the State Capitol.

John Heisman, Dutchy Wilford, G.A. Woods (Rice University Campanile Yearbook Class of 1925)
The Rice Yearbook for 1925 summarized the game this way:
The Owls met the first defeat of the season at the hands of the powerful Louisiana State University Tigers, who the previous week defeated Indiana on the latter's own lot. The team, though conquered, was by no means overpowered. The defeat was the re­sult of some costly fumbles at critical times, and some bad passing when the loss of the ball meant a touchdown for the Tigers.
The Rice team failed to take advantage of the breaks which they received, while the Tig­ers, always on the alert, took them to advantage. ... Though a defeat, it was in a sense a success for Coach Heisman for the Owls easily stopped the Tigers famous split line formation for which Donahue is so well known and which had wrought havoc with Indi­ana the previous week. ...
The heavy backs of L. S. U. would only ram in vain for they were stopped at the line time and again. The generalship displayed by the L. S. U. quarterback was the best seen on Rice field during the year, and to him goes much of the credit for their victory.

Rice ball carrier leaps through LSU line. (Rice University Campanile Yearbook Class of 1925)
The scoreless first half was a series of line plunges, end sweeps, and punts, with neither team gaining a decided advantage. Each time an offense came within striking distance of the opposing goal line, the defense rose to the occasion. Donahue did not use his patented "split line" formation, perhaps not wanting to give Auburn scouts a preview of what he had up his sleeve for LSU's next opponent.
Rice came closest to scoring when they moved relentlessly from their 45 deep into LSU territory. But on fourth down and half a yard to go, the pass from center was low. TB H. W. Smith was forced to slow down to get the ball, which gave the defenders time to halt him in his tracks and take over on downs.

LSU runner tries to breaks free. (Rice University Campanile Yearbook Class of 1925)
Tigers Take Advantage of Turnover
The Tigers took to the air in the second half, completing three passes that netted 50y. But they bogged down in Rice territory and turned over the ball on downs.
But the Owls went nowhere and punted. The LSU quarterback that the Rice yearbook writer praised, Oliver "Ike" Carriere, returned the kick to LSU's 36. Then HB Norman Ste­vens broke loose around right end for 34y to the Rice 35. But after two jabs at Rice's line, Carriere's pass ended up in the hands of I. M. "Dutchy" Wilford, who returned the ball to his 27.
On the next play, Rice's center snapped the ball back, but no one was there to receive it. Arthur "Red" Swanson and A. V. "Tubbo" Weaver surged through the Owl line and swooped down upon the ball. Swanson picked up the oval and ran to the three where pur­suers tackled him.
Stevens pushed into the end zone on the first play. His drop-kick try for the extra point went astray. The Tigers, who had been outplayed, suddenly led. LSU 6 Rice 0

L-R: Ike Carriere, Norman Stevens, Arthur Swanson, A. V. Weaver, Gus Jackson
(LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1925)
Jackson's Interception Seals Victory
Neither team sustained a scoring march the rest of the way. LSU final put the seal on the victory in the fourth quarter when Gus Jackson intercepted G. A. "Grandaddy" Woods' low pass and ran for a touchdown, dragging two Rice tacklers with him over the goal line. William Pitcher's PAT kick went wide. LSU 12 Rice 0
The desperate Owls tried to launch a passing attack but were not successful.
The Fighting Tigers II: LSU Football 1893-1980, Peter Finney (1980)
Heisman: The Man behind the Trophy (Kindle), John M. Heisman with Mark Schlabach (2012)