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.
1942 Mississippi State: Dark Leads Comeback
For the twelfth straight year, LSU hosted Mississippi State in the state of Louisiana. MSU agreed to travel each year because Tiger Stadium had a much larger seating capacity than the Bulldogs' home fields in Starkville and Jackson. State, the defending SEC champions, had two victories and a tie in their last three visits to Baton Rouge.
The Tigers began the season with victories over Louisiana Normal (40-0) and Texas A&M (16-7) before losing to Rice in Houston, 27-14.
Coach Allyn McKeen's fourth Maroon squad entered the fray 1-1, with an easy win over Union College 35-2 followed by a 21-6 defeat at Alabama.
McKeen expected a close game. "We've got a good team, and we know LSU has a good team. I consider the game about as even as they come." However, the Bulldogs' star tailback, senior J. T. "Blondy" Black, was only partially recovered from hand and arm injuries suffered in the Alabama game and might see limited action at best. To make matters worse, Black had 101° temperature Saturday afternoon but played anyway.

L-R: J. T. Black, Joe Giacone, Alvin Dark, James McLeod
Black (Mississippi State University Reveille Yearbook Class of 1942),
Other three: LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1943
Bulldogs Score First
LSU's first possession ended in disaster when E Bob Patterson blocked Walt Gorinski's punt, and Anthony Kowalski recovered for MSU on the Tiger 35. It took only two plays for the Maroons to score. After Billy Murphy powered off tackle to the 28, Lamar Blount took a reverse handout and "threw a wobbly but accurate aerial" to Patterson, who caught the ball well behind Joe Giacone and sped into the end zone. Charles Yancey missed the extra point. Mississippi State 6 LSU 0 with six minutes gone in the first quarter.
The Tigers utilized Alvin Dark's great punting ability to gain field position advantage. With the ball on the LSU 39, Dark punted to Murphy on the MSU 15, who returned six yards. But the Maroons were penalized for clipping back to the two.
Murphy tried to surprise the Tigers with a pass but overthrew Kowalski. So Murphy punted "out of danger" to Dark, who returned 3y to the 33. Butlike MSU on the previous kick, LSU was set back to the 48 by a penalty.
After the teams swapped punts, LSU had the ball on the State 41 after Dark's 14y return. Behind excellent protection, he immediately threw along pass to James McLeod beyond the MSU secondary to the seven.
But the Tigers could not score from there. FB Jeff Burkett fumbled and recovered for a 3y loss. On third and 11, Dark tried a sweep but was dropped for no gain. The Tigers went for it, but Dark overthrew McLeod on the left side of the end zone.
As was typical in that era, State lined up in punt formation on first down. But Murphy took the snap and tried to run as McLeod chased him across the end zone. Murphy drew a grounding penalty when he threw the ball away. From the two, McLeod kicked to Dark, who returned 12y to the 33.
Once again, the Tigers couldn't convert. A penalty and a 5y loss on a fumble forced a punt to the three on the first play of the second quarter. Mississippi State 6 LSU 0

L-R: Jeff Burkett, Sulcer Harris, Steve Van Buren (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1943)
Tigers Take Lead Late in Half
The back and forth continued until Sulcer Harris returned a State punt 10y with 15y tacked on for unnecessary roughness to put the ball on the LSU 45. Five plays later, the Tigers took the lead.
Harris gained nine on a sweep, then four more over left guard for a first down at the MSU 42. Then Burkett carried twice for a total of 7y to the 35. Dark then threw a long pass to E Jack Fulkerson behind the secondary for a touchdown. Harris booted the point to make it 7-6 LSU with 1:20 left in the half.
State moved to the Tiger 40 but went no further when Steve Van Buren dove in front of a Maroon to intercept Black's pass to end the half.
Three Interceptions End State Threats
The Maroons threatened to retake the lead when they took the second half kickoff and, spearheaded by a 31y gain on a reverse by Blount, drove to the LSU 25. But Giacone saved the day for the Tigers when he intercepted Blount's pass off a reverse on the 10.
Two plays later, Dark quick-kicked 50y to the MSU 40. Avoiding Giacone's diving tackle, Murphy returned to the MSU 47.
The Maroons started moving again, reaching the LSU 26. But another reverse pass, this one from Murphy, landed in the hands of Dark who returned 10y to the 15.
The Tigers went backward from there thanks to a grounding penalty on Dark that put the ball on the one. Pennsylvanian Joe Glamp replaced Dark and boomed a punt to Murphy, who carried it back 10y to the LSU 48.
Three plays later, it was McLeod's turn to pick off a State aerial, this one on the four. He tried to lateral, but the pigskin went out of bounds on the one. Dark punted beautifully to the 45.
The third quarter ended with State on the LSU 19. The Tigers had run only three plays in the period but still clung to a 7-6 lead.

L-R: Jack Fulkerson, Joe Glamp, Woodrow Holland (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1943)
Dark's Punting and Passing Pay Off
Two snaps into the period, the Tigers stuffed a fourth down plunge to take over on the 10. So what did Dark do? Punt to the 50. But the move finally shifted the field when Black fumbled, and Tiger E Woodrow Holland recovered on the LSU 48.
Finally out of the shadow of their own goal posts, the Tigers recorded their initial first down of the second half when Dark drove over right tackle to the State 40. But four plays later, Alvin booted out on the 6.
The Tiger defense extended LSU's lead to three points two snaps later when Holland crashed through as Black tried to punt, causing him to drop the ball, which rolled out of the end zone for a safety. LSU 9 Mississippi State 6
LSU got good field position after the free kick but couldn't capitalize. So Dark punted to the nine as State contended with the same poor field position as LSU did through the previous period.
The Tigers soon had the ball back on the MSU 44 and drove from there to the clinching touchdown.
Burkett gained nine, but it took two Dark runs to narrowly move the chains to the 34 with six minutes left. Alvin's 8y pass to Van Buren and two runs by Burkett made another first down at the 19. The Super Soph from Lake Charles climaxed the march with a TD pass to Holland. LSU 16 Mississippi State 6 with four minutes remaining.
The Tigers were back in State territory when the game ended.