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.
1946 Rice: Blocked PAT Seals Win
LSU began the 1946 season with a trip to Houston to play the Jess Neely's Rice Owls. The game marked the 15th straight season the Tigers played Rice.
Both teams benefitted from the return of additional veterans from World War II. LSU coach Bernie Moore had nine of eleven starters back from his 1945 team, which had 28 service re­turnees, plus 22 1945 lettermen as well as incoming freshmen.
His 1945 backfield of Y. A. Tittle at quarterback, Ray Coates and Dan Sandifer at half­back, and Gene "Red" Knight at fullback returned intact. Only two starting linemen came back – senior E Clyde Lindsey, a three-year letterman, and junior T Fred Land. But five ser­vicemen augmented the forward wall – T Ed Champagne, G Fred Hall, G Wren Worley, C Sheldon Ballard, and E Abney Wimberly. Junior Walter "Piggy" Barnes also returned at tackle.
Rain in Houston for the past five days left the Rice field soggy and slippery. As a result, the tricky T offenses of the two clubs were expected to suffer. Neely reportedly had cooked up some nifty offensive plays to spring on the Tigers, but the wet field spoiled his plans. To make matters worse, a downpour came just before kickoff.
26,000 fans braved the elements to watch a game in which points were hard to come by. The quagmire hampered both teams, and each was able to score just one touchdown.

L-R: Y. A. Tittle, Ray Coates, Gene Knight, Dan Sandifer
Tittle and Coates (LSU-Tulane Football Program 1946);
Knight and Sandifer (LSU Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1947)
During the first half, both teams rocked back and forth, kicking – often on third or even second down – and waiting for a break. LSU kept Rice in a hole most of the half but could never cross the goal line. Neither team wanted to chance a pass with the wet ball.
After an exchange of punts, the Tigers drove for a first down on the Rice 36. But a high pass from center lost 15y and forced a punt.
The quarter ended with LSU in possession on the Rice 37.
LSU substituted nine new players to start the second period. Harrell "Rip"Collins punted on fourth down, and the Tigers smothered the Rice receiver on the five. The Owls punted on first down, Jim Cason returning it 7y to the 37.
QB Y. A. Tittle passed to E Dillion "Mo" Richmond for a first down on the 27. Two runs and an incompletion made it fourth-and-three on the 20. Freshman FB Zollie Toth took a handoff but was stopped for no gain to turn the ball over to Rice.
Continuing the game of "I don't want it, you can have it," Rice punted to Cason, who re­turned it 11y to the Owl 47. A clipping penalty doomed the LSU possession, and Rice soon had the ball back on their 39.
Sparked by Don Anderson's 18y run, the Owls made their first foray into LSU territory. reaching the 41. But several penalties ended their momentum, and Rice punted out of bounds on the LSU 11.
Collins punted right back on first down, and Rice had the ball on LSU's 43. Penalties again thwarted the Owl advance, and the half ended scoreless.

Tobin Rote runs the ball for Rice. (Rice University Campanile Yearbook Class of 1947)
Tigers Stopped Inside the 10
The Tigers moved deep into Rice territory on their second possession of the second half. Knight ripped off gains of 12 and 14y. Sandifer gained nine off tackle before Knight added eight more around right end for a first down on the Rice 38. After a loss of one, Tittle tried a long pass to Coates that was broken up. Then Knight struck again for 15y to the 24 before carrying two more times for a first down on the 13. But the Owls dug in and threw Sandifer for a 3y loss on fourth and three from the six to take over.
But the disappointment was short lived. Carl Russ immediately dropped back to punt but recovered a bad snap for a 6y loss. Then he got off a good boot to the 48. One play later the quarter ended.
LSU's advantage in field position finally paid off early in the final period.
Collins punted dead on the Rice 19. On first down, the Owls were penalized 15y for holding. After a 4y run, Russ got off a short punt that Wimberly partially blocked. Tittle fielded the bounding ball on the 26 and returned it to the 14.
LSU Finally Scores
This time, the Tigers were not to be denied. Knight rammed through a host of Owls at right tackle for 3y. After Sandifer gained two, Tittle passed behind the line to Knight on the right flank, and the redhead raced to a first-and-goal on the two. Tittle tried a sneak but gained just a yard. Then Coates went through right guard into the end zone, but LSU was penalized 5y for offside. After Landry lost a yard at left guard and then was stopped for no gain, the Tigers faced fourth down at the eight. Tittle faked a handoff to Coates, then stood still with the ball hidden on his hip while Landry faded into the right flat. Tittle broke to his right and tossed a little looper to Landry who dove into the end zone. Holly Heard calmly kicked the extra point. LSU 7 Rice 0 with eight minutes to play.

L-R: Abner Wimberly, Chuck Schroll, Jim Cason
(Louisiana State University Gumbo Yearbook Class of 1947)
The way the Tiger defense had been playing, that seemed like an insurmountable lead. But not so fast, my friend.
Heard's kickoff reached only the 23, Dick Hoerster returning it to the 35. After George Walmsley gained a yard, Rice finally hit a big play when Virgil Eikenberg heaved a long pass down the left side. A mud-spattered Bengal back barely tipped the ball as it landed in the hands of speedy E Wendell Williams who made a diving catch on the LSU 36. Another pass fell incomplete, but LSU was penalized 15y for unnecessary roughness. Walmsley bulled through left tackle for 8y to the 12. After a timeout, Walmsley took a lateral around right end for three more and a first down on the nine. Barnes stopped Hoerster for no gain at left guard. But Eikenburg faked a handoff and passed to Walmsley in the left flat with no Tiger within 10y of him. The fleet Owl sped into the end zone, diving the last 2y. Fortunately, Bill Bagnell's PAT attempt was low and was blocked by Chuck Schroll and Jim Cason to leave LSU with a slim 7-6 lead with four minutes left.
Trying to at least run off some time, the Tigers instead went three-and-out. Knight needed a good punt, and he got one to the Rice 22 where Walmsley took it and returned 11y.
With time running out, Rice took to the air. Following a 7y completion, Sandifer knocked down Eikenberg's long pass. Another incompletion made it fourth down. Richmond broke through and tackled Eikenberg for a 5y loss to turn the ball over on downs.
Tittle took a knee as the clock ran out. FINAL SCORE: LSU 7 RICE 6