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.
1934 SMU: Jones Sends in Sullivan
"Biff" Jones's third Tiger contingent began their schedule with the two toughest teams in the Southwest Conference. They tied Rice 9-9 in Houston before meeting Southern Methodist University in Baton Rouge the following Saturday night.
As coach Jones prepared his team to host SMU, Senator Huey Long intervened on behalf of his beloved Tigers. LSU Athletic Director T. P. Heard had guaranteed SMU $10,000 to come to Baton Rouge. When Long called Heard on Tuesday to ask how ticket sales were going, Heard replied, "Not too good, Senator. They've got a circus scheduled Saturday night, and the conflict seems to be hurting the advance (sales)."
Later that day, Long asked to see the advance man for the circus and startled his visitor with a question. "Did you ever dip a lion? Or better yet, an elephant." With the visitor in stupefied silence, Huey explained, "We have laws in this state. And the way I interpret them, every one of your animals will have to be dipped before they can cross the state line. We can't take any chances with disease." The circus representative called his boss, John Ringling North, and relayed what Long said. Not wishing to call Huey's bluff, North cancelled the circus appearance in Baton Rouge.

L-R: Coach "Biff" Jones, Coach Ray Morrison, Abe Mickal LSU, J. R. Smith SMU
So the only circus in Baton Rouge that Saturday night was SMU's "aerial circus." Their head coach, Ray Morrison, was known as "the father of the forward pass." His radical idea was to pass on first and second down and not just wait for third-and-long to put the ball in the air. With their "intricate forward laterals and backward passes," the boys from Dallas would provide a stern test for the formidable LSU defense. The Mustangs threw two full elevens of almost equal strength against the Bengals, who alternated two units themselves.
The game was billed as a duel between two great backs–Abe Mickal of LSU and J. R. "Jack Rabbit" Smith of SMU. Each passed, punted, and did most of the ground-gaining for his team.
15,000 fans, more than enough to cover Heard's guarantee, gathered in Tiger Stadium for the 8:15 kickoff. The Ponies struck first. Running more than passing, they drove 54y to the end zone on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead.
After the Mustangs dominated the first period, the Tigers prevailed in the second, tying the score. Mickal passed 32y to E Jeff Barrett, then kicked the tying PAT.
The score stayed 7-7 into the final quarter. SMU had the ball in great field position at the LSU 35 after Mickal punted from the end zone. Mustang passes, not as effective as expected earlier in the game, began to click. But another interception, this one by Jesse Fatherree at the 11, stopped the onslaught. However, it was only a temporary respite.
Mickal punted on first down, putting the Mustangs back in business at the LSU 39. This time they would not be denied. Smith connected with Maco Stewart three times for 16, six, and eight yards, the last one scoring the go-ahead touchdown.
After an exchange of punts, the Tigers took over at their 28 with four minutes to play. With coaches able to make only one substitution unless they called timeout, Jones sent in senior Walter Sullivan at halfback.
The "speedy 155-pounder" was considered "one of the hardest working players on the Tiger team" and "an excellent ball carrier" who was also used as a punt returner. But in this emergency, Jones sent him in to race past the secondary, not take a handoff or field a punt.
The next play lives on as one of the most spectacular in LSU annals. Mickal dropped back and turned loose a long throw that traveled 42y into the hands of Sullivan galloping by the SMU safety. The pride of Hazlehurst MS sprinted across the goal. Mickal kicked his 17th straight PAT over a two-year period to tie the game. "The LSU stands went wild and hurled cushions and programs in the air in a shower."
The Tigers got one last shot at victory when they stopped the Mustangs and took over on the SMU 47. Abe threw a long pass that Jesse Fatherree "barely missed," then tried another that Barrett "barely missed."

L-R: Jeff Barrett, Jesse Fatheree, Walter Sullivan