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Season in Time 2005: Game 4 - @Vanderbilt

Bobby Johnson

JaMarcus Russell throws.

Dwayne Bowe catches Russell pass.

Joseph Addai runs.

Chris Jackson

Chase Pittman

David Jones

Jonathan Zenon

Craig Davis

Another Bowe reception.

Curtis Taylor tackles Earl Bennett.

Skyler Green runs.

Tyson Jackson pressures Cutler.

Addai scores in Q4.

Doucet snags 2-point conversion.

Ali Highsmith sacks Chris Nickson.

Highsmith runs fumble in for final TD.

The 2-1 Tigers, ranked 11th, embarked on their second straight road game, this one their first trip to Vanderbilt since 1997.
  • The Tigers enjoyed their first normal week of preparation of the season after two hurricanes.
  • The Commodores of fourth-year coach Bobby Johnson won their first four games, including two SEC wins over Arkansas (on the road) and Ole Miss. Then they inexplicably lost at home to Middle Tennessee 17-15.
  • The main reason for the turnaround from the 2-9 record in 2004 was senior QB Jay Cutler from Santa Claus IN, the conference leader in passing and total offense, and several skilled offensive players, including two outstanding WRs in Erik Davis and Earl Bennett as well as TE Dustin Dunning. They propelled the SEC's #2 offense.
  • The Tigers' best bet strategy was to run the ball, control the clock, and keep the potent Vandy offense on the bench.
  • The Dores would be jacked because of a rare national TV appearance at home - 6 PM on ESPN2.

37,309 in the smallest stadium in the conference saw LSU's defense stifle Vandy during the first half while the Tiger offense, after a fast start, sputtered.

  • Q1: When Vanderbilt won the toss and deferred, JaMarcus Russell led the Tigers on a snappy six-play, 80y drive. It started with a 17y connection to WR Dwayne Bowe. Two plays later, it was Russell-to-Bowe again, this time for 30Adday to the Vandy 31. Three plays later, JaMarcus found Dwayne in the back of the EZ for the TD. LSU 7 Vanderbilt 0 (12:27)
    Little did anyone know that the Tiger offense would not score again in the half.
    Bo Pelini's defense took the field and forced the first of three straight three-and-outs.
    The next LSU possession produced two first downs on back-to-back plays - Joseph Addai's 11y run followed by Russell to Bowe for 16 to the 45. But a holding penalty put the brakes on and led to a punt, Chris Jackson booting 36y to the 2.
    After two rushes gained 7, Cutler went back to pass but was sacked by Chase Pittman in the EZ. LSU 9 Vanderbilt 0 (5:33)
    With a chance to open some distance on the scoreboard, the Tigers gained two first downs, but TE David Jones took a pass but fumbled, Reshard Langford recovering at the LSU 20.
    Vandy gained only 1y on three plays but they were already in FG range, and Bryant Hanfeldt booted it through from the 36. LSU 9 Vanderbilt 3 (3:37)
    The Tigers overcame a holding penalty to reach their 49 as the period ended.
  • Q2: Two plays in, Xavier Carter took the ball on an end-around just as he did for a TD at Mississippi State. But this time he fumbled, Vandy recovering at their 43.
    The home team finally achieved a first down thanks to a holding penalty on DB Jonathan Zenon. Then Cutler hit a 10y aerial to the LSU 37 to move the chains again. But a third down sack by Melvin Oliver forced a punt that traveled into the EZ.

    Melvin Oliver sacks Jake Cutler.
    Justin Vincent came in at TB and immediately ripped off runs of 13 and 16. A few plays later, Addai gained a first at the VU 35. But Russell's 3rd down pass was intercepted by Langford and returned 17y to the Vandy 44.

    Justin Vincent breaks loose and (below) stiff arms a would-be tackler.
    Ali Highsmith sacked Cutler on first down, and the Dores couldn't recover and had to punt.
    The teams traded three-and-outs before LSU took over at its 41 with 1:49 on the clock. Russell hit Early Doucet for 24y and Craig Davis for 6 to the 29, each going out of bounds. But after an incompletion, Jackson tried a 47y FG that hit the left upright.

    Early Doucet runs after the catch.
    Vandy tried to get into FG range, but S LaRon Landry picked off Cutler at the LSU 35 and returned to the VU 43.
    Two completions moved the ball to the 25, where Miles used his last timeout with six ticks remaining. But Jackson again missed, this time from the 32.
    Halftime score: LSU 9 Vanderbilt 3
    The Tigers held a commanding edge in yardage, 303-41. But three turnovers, a dropped pass, and six penalties kept th score close. Russell, with a scramble for 15y - the longest of his career, outgained Vanderbilt on the ground by 4.
    Miles said afterwards, At halftime, we understood we were our own worst enemy.

Vanderbilt would draw closer before the Tigers finally pulled away.

  • Q3: Cutler overcame a holding penalty on the first play from scrimmage when he scrambled for 19y, then threw a 7y pass to the 35. But a blitzing Jesse Daniels dropped him for a 12y loss to force a punt.

    Jesse Daniels sacks Jay Cutler.
    The Tigers started disastrously. Russell fumbled while being sacked, and Ralph McKenzie fell on the pigskin at the LSU 36.
    Vandy gained only 5y on three plays but that enough to allow Hahnfeldt boot a 48y FG. LSU 9 Vanderbilt 6 (11:36)
    A 3rd-and-9 pass and run to Skyler Green for 23y moved LSU 12y into Vandy territory. But four plays later, Jackson punted into the EZ.
    With a chance to take the lead with a TD, Cutler hit Davis for 15. But three snaps later, Chevis Jackson intercepted and returned 10y to the 36.

    Chevis Jackson intercepts.
    From there, the Tigers drove to a FG. Addai ran four straight times for a total of 24y to the 12. But Russell was then dropped for a loss of 7. So Jackson split the uprights from the 36. LSU 12 Vanderbilt 6 (2:29)
    The period ended with the Tigers back in possession at the Vandy 27 thanks to a 35y Russell pass to Early Doucet.
  • Q4: The Tigers were penalized again, for an illegal block. But Vandy returned the favor with an interference call that made it 1st-and-10 at the 20. After two Addai runs gained 7, Russell threw to FB Jacob Hester in the flat to the 2. Addai then took it in for LSU's first TD since the opening possession. JaMarcus threw to Doucet for the two-point conversion. LSU 20 Vanderbilt 6 (12:32)

    Jacob Hester heads for the pylon.
    A pass interference call on Ronnie Prude gave VU a first down on the 30. Then Cutler connected with Steven Bright for 31y to the LSU 39. But a 4th down incompletion turned the ball over.
    The Tigers drove 65y to salt away the contest. The key plays were passes to Doucet for 19 and to TE Keith Zinger for 17. Vincent got loose for 15 to the 12. Three plays later, Doucet snagged an 8y slant-in in the EZ.
    LSU 27 Vanderbilt 6 (7:42)
    A roughing the passer penalty moved Vandy to its 37 but sent Cutler to the sidelines. His backup, Chris Nickson, fumbled while being sacked three plays later. The sacker, Highsmith, picked up the pigskin and ran 22y to pay dirt.
    LSU 34 Vanderbilt 6 (4:25)
    Subs populated the field for both sides the rest of the way.

Tigers Celebrate


  • Miles: Our defense played extremely well from start to finish. That's the style of defense that we've got to have. Cutler finished just 11-of-32 for 113y, 162 fewer than his average. We wanted to get the ball out of his hands quickly. We just brought guys. ... We thought we had a good matchup of our guys vs. their receivers. But, concerning the error-prone offense, he said, Certainly there's going to be a lot to coach. He exonerated Russell from the blame. The mistakes that were made were not his, minus a ball that went through a guy's hands. JaMarcus still runs an efficient passing game. Finally, we're looking forward to getting into a routine. We're going home to start a four-game homestand, and we're looking forward to getting back into Tiger Stadium.
  • Russell ended the game with a career-high 285y.


  • Coach Johnson on his running game, which gained a paltry 25y on 26 attempts: We had a lot of trouble running football and, as I've said before, I don't care how good your passer is, you have to be able to run the football, and we were not able to do that. That allowed them to run the pressures. They did a good job covering also. When we did have good protection, they did an outstanding of covering up over receivers.
  • Cutler: We struggled tonight. It's easy to point fingers, but we've got to look at the film and see what happened. Our defense played well the first three quarters, and we didn't help them at all. We went three and out, three and out. We had opportunities. We just missed them.

Continue with Game Five: Florida

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Season in Time: 2005

Tiger Den Archives – I

First LSU Football Game
One-Game Sensation
Tigers Invade Ebbets Field
Dazzling Debut: Tommy Hodson
Streak Buster: LSU vs Alabama 1993
Dazzling Debut: Cecil Collins
Tiger First: Notre Dame Game
Memorable Game: Alabama 1945
Tiger First: UAB Game

Tiger Den Archives – II

Origin of the Chinese Bandits
Leave Coach Dietzel Alone!
Six Straight TD Catches
How Addai Ended Up at LSU
LSU AD on His Coaches
Pro Football Hall of Famers
Streak Buster: UNC 1949
Streak Buster: Alabama 1982

Tiger Den Archives – III

First College Replay
Memorable Game: Tulane 1949
Profile: Robert Dugas
First Big Ten Opponent
Profile: Michael Mahtook
Memorable Game: Tulane 1965
Profile: Alvin Roy
Memorable Game: Ole Miss 1959
Interesting Story: Andre Lafleur

Tiger Den Archives – IV

Firsts: Victory, Home Victory, Winning Season
You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
First NFL Draftee
It's a Miracle!
Dazzling Debut: Alvin Dark
Dazzling Debut: Charlie McClendon
Memorable Game: Tulane 1972
Memorable Game: Tennessee 2000
Dynamic Duo

Tiger Den Archives – V

LSU Lost a Game and a Coach
The Night Big Ben Came to Tiger Stadium
Profile: Tommy Casanova
Profile: Richard Dickson
Memorable Game: Oregon 1932
Buckeyes First LA Invasion
From Braces to All-America
Memorable Game: Georgia 1935
"The Year of the Extra Point"
Brodhead Takes Over

Tiger Den Archives – VI

First Southern Team to Fly to a Game
Memorable Game: Florida State 1991
7-0 in 1973
Profile: John Ed Bradley
Super Bowl Bengals
Recruiting Tales
Memorable Game: Tulane 1937
Scoreless String
Profile: Dub Jones

Tiger Den Archives – VII

Dietzel Returns
Profile: Bert Jones
Largest Crowd in SEC History
Win One for the Bear
Profile: Ken Kavanaugh
Why Didn't He Go to Florida?
No Married Players

Tiger Den Archives – VIII

First Appearance of Mascot Mike
Faust Fever
Profile: Alvin Dark
"LSU is not a class team"
Saban's First Rematch
But Did He Beat Tulane?

Tiger Den Archives – IX

"Give Them My Regards in Baton Rouge"
"Football Is Strictly an Afternoon Game"
When Washington Came to Baton Rouge
Tigers vs Badgers I & II | Profile: Y.A. Tittle

Tiger Den Archives – X

Streak Buster: LSU @ Auburn 1970
Dazzling Debut: Coach Jerry Stovall
Profile: Leonard Fournette
Terry Bradshaw: "I know how it all got started."
Profile: Young Bussey I-VI

Tiger Den Archives – XI

Streak Buster: LSU @ Auburn 1970
Dazzling Debut: Coach Jerry Stovall
Profile: Leonard Fournette
Terry Bradshaw: "I know how it all got started."
Profile: Young Bussey I-VI


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