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.
1932: LSU Recruits Abe Mickal
Ibrahim Khalil Mickal was born in an area that is today part of Lebanon. His family immigrated to the United States in 1920 when he was seven and settled in McComb MS.
"Abe" attended McComb High School where he played football, basketball, baseball, and ran track. His father opposed his playing sports since Lebanese custom called for the oldest son to take over the family business, which was a general store. Townspeople per­suaded Mr. Mickal to let his son play.
None other than Knute Rockne of Notre Dame was recruiting Mickal, a triple-threat back who also played defense. LSU Coach Biff Jones called Abe "a greater passer than Red Cagle–he's the greatest I ever saw." Rockne's death in a plane crash March 31, 1931 tipped the recruiting scale to LSU.

L-R: Abe Mickal, Huey Long and Biff Jones, Bernie Moore
As an example of the football prowess of "the outstanding back in the state," here's the description of Mickal's "scintillating 85-yard run" for the only score in McComb's 6-0 vic­tory over Hattiesburg in his senior year. "McComb lined up in punt formation with Mickal back to receive the ball. As the pigskin passed to Mickal the line charged, opening a hole through the left side of Hattiesburg's line. ... Mickal passed the line of scrimmage scarce­ly touched by an opposing player–then into an open field with only the Hub city's safety man between him and the goal line. At first it seemed to the frenzied spectators that Mass­engale, the Hattiesburg safety, had made the tackle, but it takes a hard hitting man to stop Captain Abie in the open and McComb's star went by. After getting by Massengale, Mickal had to outrun several would-be tacklers, but this he did easily enough."
As a senior, Mickal broke the Mississippi state shot put record with a throw of 47.2', 8.5" more than the previous mark.
Jones left recruiting to his assistants so that, as LSU AD Skipper Heard put it, "he could deal with all incoming players on an impersonal basis." That put the burden primarily on freshman coach Bernie Moore.
Jones abruptly resigned at halftime of the final game of the 1934 season because he was tired of the interference of Huey Long in the football program. Moore became the head coach and secured the services of Mickal for LSU along with five other Mississippi "All-State" players.
Mickal played on the 1935 freshman team. Here are the newspaper accounts of his ex­ploits. "(Mickal) thrilled the crowd time and again with his brilliant line plunging and kick­ing." "A 70-yard dash for a touchdown by Abe Mickal ... touched off the offensive spark of the Baby Tigers and they ran over the Mississippi State Yearlings ..."
Mickal and the other members of the 1935 recruiting class led the Tigers to a 27-5-1 record and two SEC championships the next three seasons.
Busy in Washington as a U.S. Senator from 1932-35, Huey Long didn't have much of a role in recruiting Mickal. But Huey was so proud of Mickal that he proclaimed Abe an honorary Louisiana State Senator in 1934. However, Abe declined to participate in the "burlesque."
Mickal is a member of both the Louisiana and Mississippi Sports Halls of Fame.