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.
1940 @Auburn: Bird Returns to Lead Upset
The Tigers' 1940 season had been mediocre as they traveled to Birmingham to play the Auburn Tigers. Bernie Moore's sixth LSU squad won just four of their first eight games and had lost their last two outings to Tennessee (28-0) and Mississippi State (22-7).
Jack Meagher's Tigers from Auburn endured an up-and-down season themselves, win­ning four, losing two, and tying one. Nevertheless, they were heavy favorites to defeat the Bengal Tigers.
Moore reported the good news that his "passing star" and best punter, HB Leo Bird, was ready to see action after a long absence. The junior from Shreveport suffered a head injury in the Vanderbilt game three weeks earlier.

L-R: Leo Bird, Walter Gorinski, Marvin Jenkins (LSU Gumbo Yearbook, Class of 1941)
Auburn started strong, reaching the LSU 18 before stalling. But they still got the game's first touchdown when E James Samford blocked Walter Gorinski's punt at the LSU 24. The ball rolled into the end zone where Theo Cremer fell on it. Auburn 7 LSU 0
LSU fumbled the kickoff but recovered at their 17. But a few plays later, Bird boomed a quick kick that carried 73y to the Auburn 16. That indirectly led to the tying touchdown.
Auburn tried two running plays before Dick McGowen punted to Bird, who returned 11y to the Auburn 40. On third-and-7, Bird connected with QB Marvin Jenkins in the right flat for 13y. Then on fourth-and-7, Bird threw to E Dudley Pillow, who caught the ball over his head on the one and stepped into the end zone. Walter Barnes booted the tying point. Auburn 7 LSU 7
With the LSU defense stifling the Plainsmen, the Bayou Bengals took the lead in the third period. They drove 52y by land and air. From the 26, Bird hit E Jack Fulkerson on the 10, and he continued to the one, where he was thrown out of bounds. Gorinski drove over on the next play. LSU 14 Auburn 7

L-R: Dudley Pillow, Walter Barnes, Jack Fulkerson (LSU Gumbo Yearbook, Class of 1941)
Auburn answered in the fourth quarter with a 65y drive. From the 15, Buddy McMahan rolled left and threw past a horde of rushers to McGowen, who ran into the end zone. How­ever, McGowen missed the PAT. LSU 14 Auburn 13
LSU drove 52y before bogging down and turning the ball over on downs. But they got the ball right back when McGowan fumbled a bad pass from center, and Fulkerson fell on the pigskin inside the Auburn one. Bird took it over from there on second down. Barnes boot­ed the all-important extra point. LSU 21 Auburn 13
Neither team came close to scoring the rest of the way.
LSU won the ground war by a large margin, gaining 126y and holding Auburn to a mea­sly 10. The Plainsmen completed 5 of 14 passes for 69y while LSU gained 97y through the air on just six completions.