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 Ole Miss: Dark Punts, Runs LSU to Victory
LSU had lost to Harry Mehre's Ole Miss Rebels four years in a row. The 3-1 Tigers want­ed to break that streak at their homecoming game.
In the first season after Pearl Harbor, the Rebels had been hit hard by the draft and enlist­ments.
LSU Coach Bernie Moore had done a wonderful job in blending a mixture of veterans with talented freshmen and sophomores. After clobbering Louisiana Normal (today's Northwest­ern State) in their opener, the Tigers won tight games against Texas A&M and Mississippi State, with a loss at Rice in between.
Just as sophomore HB Alvin Dark had become LSU's star, Ole Miss had a triple-threat sensation in Charlie Conerly, "one of the finest sophomores to play for Ole Miss in years." Conerly was a better passer than Dark but not as good a runner, although Charlie scored on an 88y punt return against Georgia the previous week.

L-R: Harry Mehre (University of Mississippi Ole Miss Yearbook Class of 1943);
Charlie Conerly (University of Mississippi Ole Miss Yearbook Class of 1947);
Sulcer Harris (
LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1943)
Jess Burkett (1942 LSU-Tulane game program)
Conerly Injured
Conerly and Dark showed off their kicking prowess on the first two possessions of the game. Conerly quick-kicked on third down, the pigskin traveling 61y to the LSU 20, where Dark picked it up and returned 14y. When the Tigers went nowhere, Dark punted 57y to the Ole Miss 10 with Conerly returning 9y.
After several more punts, the most important play of the game occurred. With LSU enjoying good field position at the Ole Miss 45 after receiving a punt, Conerly intercepted Dark's first-down pass on the Rebel 30 and ran the ball to the LSU 49 where he "was bumped hard by (Jess) Burkett and was knocked out on the play. Burkett ran full stride into Conerly." It was several minutes for Charlie to get to his feet. He suffered a broken nose and would not return to the game.
Dark Breaks Loose
Ray Woodward replaced Conerly but was unable to lead the Rebs to a first down. So he punted out of bounds on the LSU 28. Two plays later, lightning struck Ole Miss.
Dark cut over right tackle behind the double-team block of the Rebels' outstanding left end Barney Poole by Joe Glamp and Steve Van Buren, faked out another Rebel, cut back inside the last defenders on the 30, and scampered 70y for a touchdown. Harris kicked the extra point. LSU 7 Ole Miss 0
LSU wasted good field position a few minutes later. E Woody Holland partially blocked Woodward's punt, with E James McLeod recovering on the Ole Miss 41. Dark went for broke, throwing long to McLeod, but the pass was broken up on the 10. Two running plays lost a total of 8y. So Dark punted to Woodward, who returned 10y to the 20.
LSU sent in a full team to start the second quarter while Ole Miss subbed just three.

L-R: Alvin Dark, James McLeod, J.T. Loflin (1942 LSU-Tulane game program)
Ole Miss Ties the Score
The punting duel continued until Dark punted to little Leonard "Stumpy" Stagg, who scooted 57y for a touchdown. Oscar Britt kicked the PAT to tie the score at seven with 4:20 left in the half.
Woodward brought the Rebel partisans to their feet when he caught a punt on his 18 and ran all the way to the LSU 23. But the play was called back and Ole Miss penalized to their seven for clipping.
Woodward immediately punted out of danger to Harris, who returned 9y to the Ole Miss 36. But it was LSU's turn to be penalized, this time for holding back to midfield.
Dark tried a long first down pass again, this one to E Dilton Richmond on the Ole Miss 20, but Woodward, proving to be every bit as good as Conerly defensively if not offensively, broke it up. Alvin then caught a pass from Burkett for 8y before throwing another one to McLeod for the initial first down of the game on the Ole Miss 32. Then Dark hit McLeod again for another 9y. But the Tigers could go no further and turned the ball over after a fourth-down pass failed. End of first half: LSU 7 Ole Miss 7
Dark Strikes Again
Woodward put the Rebels in a hole when he ran Joe Glamp's kickoff out of the end zone but got only to the seven. So Woodward immediately kicked out to Harris to give LSU the ball on the Rebel 39.
But the Tigers went backwards when Frank Thorsey threw Harris for a 14y loss back to the Ole Miss 45 on an attempted running pass. Dark then demonstrated his punting artistry, lofting a high one that went out of bounds on the one.
For the second possession in a row, Woodward punted on first down to give LSU excellent position after Dark's 11y return to the 34. But the Tigers again failed to take advantage when Alvin's fourth down pass to BB Steve Van Buren was wide and long.
Finally given breathing room at the 29, Woodward slipped through right guard to the LSU 40. On second and three, Ole Miss tried a reverse, but Burkett dropped the ball carrier for a loss of seven. Woodward kicked a low punt to Dark on the 10 that he brought back to the 34.
On third down, Burkett got LSU its initial first down on a running play by gaining 8y to midfield. After a short pass from Dark to Glamp gained three, Dark put the Tigers ahead with a 47y touchdown run. He started off right end but was hemmed in. So he broke away and, despite little interference, cut back twice on his trip to the end zone. Harris converted. LSU 14 Ole Miss 7 with five minutes left in the third period.

1942 LSU-Ole Miss action; note LSU's white helmets. 76 is T Hubert Shurtz; 53 is C Jim Talley.
(University of Mississippi Ole Miss Yearbook Class of 1943)
Later in the quarter, Dark quick kicked 74y to the 15. Woodward tried to quick kick but E J. T. Loflin blocked the punt, and HB Joe Nagata recovered on the 28.
With a chance to put the game away, the Tigers could not dent the Rebel defense. Harris gained eight to the 20 but could gain only 1y on his next two carries. Going for it on fourth down, Harris missed a wide open Nagata to turn the ball over on downs.
As the final period began, LSU continued to enjoy the field position advantage. Dark led a drive that reached third and one at the Ole Miss 13. But Lake Charles' gift to LSU slipped and fell with no one near him back to the 19.
Despite being dominated throughout the game, the Rebels could still tie the game with a touchdown. But the Tiger defense wouldn't let that happen. A penalty and a fumble for a 5y loss forced a punt that traveled only to the 30.
The LSU possession started promisingly when Harris gained nine. But a big loss on a wild backward pass set the Tigers back, and Dark punted out on the one again.
Tigers Finally Put Game Away
No match for Dark, Woodward punted back only to the 30. Aided by a Rebel penalty and Glamp's 12y run, LSU reached the 23. Then FB Walt Gorinski drove over right guard for a first down on the 11. But McLeod, on an end around, fumbled and Ole Miss recovered on the 15.
Another three-and-out for Rebels and LSU was back in business at the Ole Miss 37. This time, they would not be denied. Gorinski gained nine, then two for a first down. After Glamp gained three, Dark circled right end to the four where he was knocked out of bounds.
Ole Miss subbed six fresh men for a goal-line stand. FB Bill Montgomery gained just a yard on a reverse before Negata took another reverse handoff into the end zone. Harris' PAT made it LSU 21 Ole Miss 7.
FINAL SCORE: LSU 21 Ole Miss 7