LSU Pivotal Football Moments
pivotal football moment: A decision by a coach or athletic director that changes the momentum of a program or an action by a coach or player that changes the momentum of a game.
1928 @Georgia: Coach Cohen Gets His First Big Win
Coach Mike Donahue would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 with a 133-59-8 lifetime record. However, his five-year tenure at LSU ended a mediocre 28-19-3. Donahue might have gotten an extension beyond the 1927 season, but he chose to take a hiatus from football that lasted three years.
LSU Hires Cohen
LSU's new coach came with excellent credentials. Russell Cohen played end at Vanderbilt for 1913-16 under Hall of Fame Coach Dan McGugin. From 1923-26, Cohen served as an assistant at Alabama under another immortal, Wallace Wade.
McGugin recommended Cohen for the LSU post. So did Wade, who telegraphed: "Russ Cohen is honest, loyal, energetic and persevering. He is a well informed football coach, a splen­did teacher and disciplinarian. Has absolutely no bad habits. He has had a very large part in coaching successful football teams at Alabama, both in planning campaign and actual in­struction."
Cohen's arrival at LSU coincided with Huey Long's election as governor. Two personalities could not be more opposite. As Dan Hardesty described him in his book The Louisiana Tigers, Cohen "was a scholarly gentleman at the age of 32, with a soft voice and friendly manner." Long was a bombastic know-it-all who loved the spotlight and planned to use his governorship to transform Louisiana State University into a shining jewel and help propel the LSU football team into the top echelon of college programs. Huey planned to not only help Cohen coach but also recruit. Long accepted Cohen as LSU's new coach because of the recommendation of Wade, who had invigorated the entire South when his Alabama team won the 1926 Rose Bowl.
Cohen's first Tiger team did exactly what LSU teams regularly did. They got off to a flashy start against four minor opponents by a combined score of 148-7. Of the four, only Mississippi A&M was a Southern Conference foe.
The fifth foe was Arkansas, which became an annual oppoonent at Shreveport starting in 1913. The Razorbacks won 7-0 with the only score coming on a 55y runback of an intercept­ed pass. LSU bounced back with a home win over Ole Miss 19-6 to run their record to 5-1.

L-R: Russell Cohen (Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1931)
Harry Mehre (University of Georgia Pandora Yearbook Class of 1929)
Jess Tinsley (Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1929)
Broncho Brown (Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1929)
The Tigers traveled to Athens for their first meeting ever with the Georgia Bulldogs, who also had a new coach, Harry Mehre. UGa was 4-2 with losses at Yale and to Florida at a neutral site.
Georgia took the field without some key players, including co-captain Glenn Lautzenhiser, their outstanding tackle who was sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.
The Tigers hoped their more experienced forward wall, led by two senior tackles, Jess Tin­sley from Haynesville LA and Guy Nesum from Tickfaw, would control the line of scrimmage.
The game was played on an unseasonably warm day, which took a toll on the gridders as the hard-fought battle wore on.

LSU-Georgia Action (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1929)
Bulldogs Score First
Georgia took advantage of a turnover to break the scoring ice in the early minutes of the game. Broncho Brown fumbled a Georgia punt, and Joe Martin pounced on the ball at LSU's 27. A series of line plunges carried the ball to the six where a short pass from H. F. Johnson to Benny Rothstein put the Dogs ahead. The PAT attempt failed. Georgia 6 LSU 0
The Tigers evened the count a few minutes later. Sophomore HB Dobie Reeves fired a pass to Brown, who caught it on the LSU 28 and raced down the sideline before he was tackled by Robert Hooks at the Georgia 16. A series of runs culminated in Reeves scoring the touchdown from the one. Guy Nesum's placement misfired. Georgia 6 LSU 6

"Bulldog line holds." (University of Georgia Pandora Yearbook Class of 1929)
The Bulldogs retook the lead early in the second quarter on a 24y pass from Hooks to Rothstein, who fell across the goal line. Johnson's extra point try was again unsuccessful. Georgia 12 LSU 6
That remained the score into the fourth quarter.

L-R: Benny Rothstein (University of Georgia Pandora Yearbook Class of 1929)
Dobie Reeves (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1930)
Guy Nesum (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1929)
Hank Stovall (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1929)
Stovall's Interception Sets Up Winning Score
With LSU's offense misfiring, the Tigers needed a turnover to turn the tide. Tinsley had already done yeoman's work on both defense and offense, smashing interference, making tackles on both sides of the line, and rushing the passer as well as opening nice holes for his backs. He also covered punts better than most ends. So it was no surprise that he helped make the play that sparked LSU's victory.
His heroics wouldn't have happened had not Georgia made a strange offensive decision. With just a few minutes left in the game, the Bulldogs faced fourth and one at midfield. In­stead of punting, QB Johnson called for a forward pass. Under a heavy rush from Tinsley, he threw the ball into the hands of DB Hank Stovall, the pride of the tiny town of Dodson in Winn Parish, who returned the ball to the six.
Nesom Kicks Winning PAT
Two plays later, Brown skirted left end for the tying touchdown. That left it up to Nesom to boot the go-ahead point. QB C.C. Mason took the clean snap and placed it perfectly. Undaunt­ed by his earlier miss and the shouts of "Block that kick!" from the Georgia faithful, Nesom propelled the pigskin through the uprights to put LSU ahead 13-12.
The Bulldogs didn't come close to scoring the rest of the way, and the game ended with LSU in possession of the ball inside Georgia's 20 to seal the Bulldogs' fourth loss at Sanford Stadium since World War I.

"The fake that failed." (University of Georgia Pandora Yearbook Class of 1929)
The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate said that the victorious Tigers "followed in the footsteps of the university's former president, General William Tecumseh Sherman," who led the Union's "march through Georgia" during the Civil War.
LSU fans organized a Sunday afternoon "Victory Special" train trip to New Orleans that in­cluded the LSU cadet regimental band. Upon arrival at the Union Station, over 250 people marched up Canal Street to the L&N station to greet the team's arrival that night.
The Louisiana Tigers: LSU Football, Dan Hardesty (1975)
The Fighting Tigers II: LSU Football 1893-1980, Peter Finney (1980)
Kingfish U: Huey Long and LSU
, Robert Mann (2023)