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.
1945 Georgia Tech: Valiant Knight Boots Winner
22 lettermen from LSU's 1944 squad returned for the '45 season. The two who garnered the most attention were junior HB Gene "Red" Knight from Bossier City and sophomore QB Y. A. Tittle from Marshall TX. In addition to being a fine runner, Knight was also one of the South's best punters and could place kick. Tittle had completed his freshman year by completing 15 of 17 passes for two touchdowns to spark the 25-6 thumping of Tulane the annual finale.
Moore Switches to T Formation
The T formation spread across college football in the early 1940s following the success of teams like TCU with Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien and Stanford's undefeated "Wow Boys" of 1940 with Frankie Albert. Bernie Moore still ran the single wing during Tittle's freshman year (1944) but switched to the T the next season – the first SEC school to do so.
The new formation suited Tittle to a T. During his four years at LSU, he threw for 2,525y and 23 touchdowns, both prolific numbers for that era.
Moore's 1945 Tiger team was 5-2 heading to Atlanta November 17 to play Georgia Tech (4-3), whom LSU had yet to beat in five tries. The Tigers were seven point underdogs. Unfor­tunately, Knight injured his knee in the loss to Mississippi State the week be­fore and would be doubtful against the Yellow Jackets as would fellow back Jim Cason. Coach Moore was worried. "If only Red Knight and Jim Cason were in shape, I wouldn't feel so bad. I figure we would have an even chance. Cason is favoring an injury, and it is a question how long Knight will be able to play. He is our best kicker, and you can't go along with your best kicker hurt and hope to be at your best."
LSU had a history of bad luck with injuries when playing Georgia Tech. In 1943, the last time the teams met in Atlanta, the Tigers played without star RB Steve Van Buren and were clobbered 42-7.
28,000 packed Grant Field for the South's top game of the day, which quickly turned into a defensive struggle.

Dan Sandifer runs against Yellow Jackets.
Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1946
The Tigers put together the first sustained drive starting late in the opening period and continuing into the second quarter. They moved 75y to a first down on the Tech five. But the Jackets withstood four smacks into the line to take over on downs. Senior FB Bill Montgom­ery from Murphysboro IL swore he was over the goal on the fourth down play, but officials ruled that his knee hit the ground with the ball just inches short.

Bill Montgomery pushes through Tech defense.
Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1946
Tigers Take Lead
LSU began another march with five minutes left in the first half. Starting with a 38y run by Montgomery, the Tigers drove 68y to pay dirt. Dan Sandifer scored the touchdown from the three. Tittle's place kick was low, and the Tigers led 6-0 at the half.
Tech nearly scored to begin the third quarter but fell short when consecutive passes on third and fourth down from the LSU seven fell incomplete. Second-guessers would ask why first-year Coach Bobby Dodd didn't kick a field goal.
In the final period, LSU advanced deep into Tech territory until George Mathews inter­cepted Tittle's pass at the 10 and returned it to the 16.
Tech Forges Ahead
The Yellow Jackets took to the air and drove 84y for a touchdown, which came on an 8y pass from Ed Holtsinger to Walter Klizer. Jack Helms kicked the extra point to put the Jackets on top 7-6 with less than six minutes remaining.
The fired-up Techsters stuffed the kickoff return on the 10, but their effort was nullified by an illegal substitution penalty. Given a second chance, Montgomery took the kick and "literally bulldozed his way through the whole Tech team" for 36y to the Tech 39. But the ex-GI, who missed the '44 season while in the army, had to be carried off the field. On the train to Atlanta, assistant coach Joel Hunt had told Bernie, "We might need Knight in that last quarter." So Moore sent in the limping redhead, who had played only four minutes in the game.
Sandifer gained 10 on an end run before Knight "shook the kinks out of his wounded knee" and knifed off tackle for five more. After Ray Coates gained two, Knight came back and got another two to make it 4th-and-one at the 20. Red plunged into the Tech forward wall and moved the chains to the 17 as twilight took over the skies.
The swarming Yellow Jackets contested every yard, throwing Sandifer for a yard loss and holding Coates to a 3y gain. Then LSU was penalized 5y for taking too much time. From the 20, Tittle, who never left the field the entire 60 minutes, tried a flat pass to San­difer, but it gained almost nothing. That made it 4th-and-12.

L-R: Y. A. Tittle, Gene "Red" Knight, Ray Coates
Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1946
Knight Kicks Winning Field Goal
So Knight lined up back on the 29 in the semidarkness with Coates kneeling to take the snap from center. Red had to kick from "a difficult angle." The snap and placement were perfect. Knight swung his leg and launched the ball. "For an interminable time" the referee followed the "slow sailing ball" until it bounced into the crowd that had gathered in back of the end zone. Then his hands went up to signal good, and "a madly happy Tiger team, with a handful of just as mad and even happier rooters, hugged each other and anybody within hugging distance." 9-7 LSU
Lindsey Seals Victory
45 seconds remained, and Tech needed only a field goal to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But after the kickoff, Clyde Lindsey leaped high and intercepted Holtsinger's pass to allow the Tigers to run the ball three times and wrap up their first-ever victory over Georgia Tech.