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.
1944 Tulane: Young Tigers Spring Upset
With a youthful 40-man roster that included only 14 players 20 or older, 1-4-1 LSU was suffering through its worst season since the 3-5-1 campaign of 1923. But they could salvage some pride by upsetting Monk Simons' 4-2 Tulane Green Wave in the annual "Battle for the Rag" finale in Baton Rouge.
A major factor in the disparity of records between the two teams was a crucial difference in the military training programs that each hosted during World War II.
Tulane enjoyed the benefits of the V-12 Navy College Training Program that allowed its students to play varsity sports. By contrast, LSU became a major center for the Army Spe­cialized Training Program, which did not allow its trainees to participate in varsity sports. The Tigers also suffered crippling injuries during the season.
Bernie Moore's defense would be challenged to stymie Tulane's backfield, which was con­sidered the equal of the Rose Bowl foursome of 1931. One of the Greenie backs, 6'2" A. Wil­liam "Dub" Jones, played for LSU in 1942 before transferring to Tulane's Navy program.
LSU's backfield, which was not as big as the Green Wave corps but possibly faster, con­sisted of BB Paul McCarson, LH Gene Knight, TB Jack Bryan, and FB Willard Landry. 17-year-old freshman Y. A. Tittle had seen much playing time also, giving the Tigers a passing threat from the tailback position.
The teams had two common opponents. Tulane defeated Rice 21-0 while the Owls edged LSU 14-13. Both lost to Georgia Tech, LSU by 14-6 and Tulane by 34-7.

Dub Jones runs for Tulane. (Tulane Jambalaya Yearbook Class of 1945)

Charley Webb (83) and Sandifer (15) try to tackle Dub Jones.
(Tulane Jambalaya Yearbook Class of 1945)
Tigers Score First
32,000 fans gathered on a cold and clear December day for LSU's only home day game of the season. The Times-Picayune reporter characterized the attendance as "disappointingly small," citing wartime gasoline restrictions, the lack of public conveyances, and the fact that the teams were not vying for a conference crown or a bowl bid.
Tulane dominated the first period, registering five first downs to just one for the Tigers, but had nothing to show for it.
The Green Wave got the first break when Gene Knight fumbled Joe Renfroe's punt, and T Fred Roseman recovered for Tulane on the LSU 25. But the Greenies couldn't capitalize as two runs lost 2y and two passes were dropped. That series was an omen for a difficult after­noon for the visitors.
After Knight quick-kicked to the Tulane 28, the Wave got rolling. Dub Jones and Marvin McCain alternated short bursts to the LSU 20. Jones then spun to the five, but the Tigers drew the line there. LB Willard Landry chopped down Renfroe for no gain, and two Jones aerials went astray.
Knight heaved a pass to HB Dan Sandifer to the LSU 30 to get the Tigers out of the hole, and they were never in a tight spot the rest of the way except for one Tulane march.

LSU's Red Knight completes a pass to Dan Sandifer.
LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1945

Dan Sandifer (15) awaits a pass as William Eiserloh (21) tries to cover him.
(Tulane Jambalaya Yearbook Class of 1945)
LSU finally threatened when Sandifer intercepted Harry Robinson's pass and returned it 39y to the Tulane 31. Knight took the ball on one of Coach Moore's pet plays, a double reverse. But Gene slipped trying to cut back at the Tulane 13. The Wave took over when Knight couldn't handle the next snap, and G John Frank recovered for Tulane at the 25.
LSU finally broke the scoring in the second quarter with an 81y march. The big gainer came on a flat pass from Tittle to 17-year-old freshman FB Elwyn "Rip" Rowan, who scampered 26y to the Tulane 31. (Rowan received an appointment to West Point the next year and played three years for the Cadets.)
Sandifer took a reverse to the 10, and Tittle ran to the five. Rowan gained four, then darted through a big hole created by the blocking of G Felix Trapani and T Fred Land into the end zone from the one. Knight sliced the PAT to the right. LSU 6 Tulane 0
The Tigers almost added to their lead when Sandifer took a pass from Tittle and dashed 51y to the Tulane 6 where he was tackled from behind as the half ended.

Refroe punts. (Tulane Jambalaya Yearbook Class of 1945)

Dan Sandifer is pushed out of bounds by Harry Robinson. (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1945)
LSU Adds to Its Lead
The Tigers took the kickoff and drove to their second touchdown. Tittle, who completed his first 12 passes, started the onslaught with a 14y pass to E Charlie Webb. The big gainer was a 30y run to the Tulane 31 by Rowan with a lateral from Webb after he caught Tittle's pass.
Tulane staged a stubborn defense for seven downs, and the Tigers had to pass–Tittle to TB Jack Bryan–from the one to score their second touchdown. The PAT again failed. LSU 12 Tulane 0
Led by former Tiger Dub Jones, the Greenies finally sustained a drive to the end zone. Jones for 9 at right tackle. Jones for 10 over left guard. Jones to E Ray Olsen for 17. Then an end run by Renfroe put the ball on the four. Jones smashed through the Tiger defense for the touchdown. G Al Cavigga blocked the extra point try. LSU 12 Tulane 6

Joe Renfroe runs for Tulane. (Tulane Jambalaya Yearbook Class of 1945)
After an exchange of punts, Tittle threw a short pass to Sandifer who roared into Tulane territory until Jones tackled him at the 17. Tittle ran for nine before Rowan made it first-and-goal at the four. Tittle tossed to McCarson for the touchdown. Knight made the PAT this time. LSU 19 Tulane 6
The Tigers put the finishing touches on the victory with another touchdown. Knight inter­cepted Robinson's long pass and raced 60y down the right sideline to pay dirt. Tulane block­ed the extra point. LSU 25 Tulane 6
From there, the LSU defense was kept busy intercepting passes. Tittle and Knight each got one. LSU would have scored another touchdown if E Jack Bell hadn't dropped Tittle's perfect pass at the Tulane five.

Rip Rowan gains yardage for LSU. (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1945)
Coach Moore was jubilant after the game. "I can hardly talk. I'm so happy over the truly great way all our kids played. It was the first game this year in which our offense worked the way we had planned. This boy Tittle did a wonderful job, the way he went out and took charge directing the plays and passing."
Tulane Coach Claude "Little Monk" Simons minced no words. "The Tigers were high, and we weren't. When we missed on that first drive, it seemed to take something out of us while pepping up LSU. The Tigers played a splendid game–much better than we did–and deserved every point."