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.
1938 Rice: Erdman, Bussey Spark Winning Drive
After opening the season with a loss to Ole Miss and a victory over Texas, LSU hosted Rice, whom the Tigers had met on a home-and-home rotation every year since 1932. The Owls began the season as a national championship contender before being upset by Okla­homa 7-6.
Rice wanted revenge for what they claimed was LSU's "fluke victory" in 1937 when E Ken Kavanaugh returned a fumble for the clinching touchdown just when the Owls were about to score the tying touchdown.
The game was a defensive struggle as two big forward walls battled each other for line of scrimmage supremacy.
LSU dominated the first quarter before Rice had the edge in the second and third peri­ods. LSU had to make two goal-line stands to keep the Owls from scoring. They were aided by a botched field goal on the first stand.
LSU got a break in the first quarter when E Jack Gormley recovered a fumble on the Rice 25. But the Owls held the Tigers to 8y on four downs to take the ball back.

Two Owls set their sights on Jake Staples. (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1939)
Rice came even closer to scoring in the second quarter, advancing to a first-and-goal at the LSU three. C Dick Gormley, Jack's twin, tossed Dan Coffee for a 7y loss. When QB Ernie Lain tried to pass, T Eddie Gatto and G Blythe Clark rushed him into an incomple­tion. So Rice tried a field goal that was too low to be good. Young Bussey then punted out of danger.
Soon after the second half began, runs by Don Hagan on an end-around and Dan Cof­fee brought Rice within 3y of the LSU goal with a first down. But two plays failed to shove the ball over and on the third, Lain fumbled and Barrett Booth recovered for LSU.
As the final period began, LSU was in the midst of a march that took them inside the Rice five. Bussey kept the drive alive when he connected with Guy Milner on a fourth down pass for a first down at the Rice 24.
Coach Bernie Moore sent in a new eleven to start the final period. John Crabtree gain­ed 14y up the middle to make it first-and-goal at the 10. But three runs by FB Roy Joe Anderson and Crabtree gained only 6y. Rather than try a field goal on fourth down, the Tigers sent Crabtree into the line, but he hit a stone wall.

L-R: Young Bussey, Jabbo Stell, Gayle Monget (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1939)
The rest of the game was played in Rice territory. The Owls' best field position came when they recovered HB Jabbo Stell's fumble on a punt return at the 34. But four plays later, Tiger C Gayle Monget intercepted Lain's pass and returned to the Rice 42.
Turnovers continued to plague both sides, with LSU losing two fumbles and throwing a interception during the evening while Rice also lost two fumbles and threw three intercep­tions.
Moore changed the momentum when he sent in three new backs. Charlie Erdman, Booth, and Bussey replaced Crabtree, Jimmy Cajoleas, and Stell.
With time ticking away, LSU received a punt on its 23. Faking a shovel pass, TB Bussey raced 23y for a first down on the LSU 40. Then Erdman broke into the clear on a sweep and continued into Rice territory until he stumbled down on the 33. After Jake Staples lost a yard, Bussey passed to Erdman for a first down on the 20. With under a minute left, Erdman carried the next two plays, gaining eight and then one to make it third-and-one on the 11.
Moore hurried Milner into the game to replace Erdman for a field goal try. But the Tigers had to pay a 5y penalty to gain another timeout. When play resumed, a bad pass from center canceled the field goal attempt. Milner picked up the ball and was smothered on the 23. On fourth down, Milner lined up again, and this time got a good snap. His boot from a bad angle on the 30 wasn't pretty, but it sailed between the uprights with 0:09 remaining.

L: Jubilant students carry Milner off the field.
R: Exhausted E Ogden Bauer heads to the locker room. (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1939)