The 40 best games in LSU football history: Part 2
Last week, we began taking a look at the best games in LSU history.
Part one included LSU’s upset over Florida in 1997, the 2008 comeback against Troy, and some old thrillers against Ole Miss. Now, we’re continuing the list with some more all-time contests.
Before we resume, a few notes.
This isn’t a ranking — it’s a collection of games. The criteria for “best games” is subjective, so trying to pin each game at a specific number is pointless.
I’ve tried to avoid recency bias, but there are better records and resources for the more recent games.
With that out of the way, let’s not waste any more time and jump right in.
2022 vs. Alabama
Scott Clause/USA TODAY Network
Let’s start with the most recent one on our list: LSU’s 2022 win over Alabama.
You know the story. Brian Kelly’s first LSU vs. Alabama game, the Tide needing a win to keep its playoff hopes alive, LSU looking to take control of the division.
A night game at Tiger Stadium called by Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, this one was a big deal.
A Jarrick Bernard-Converse interception grabbed the early momentum for LSU. John Emery Jr. would later open up the game’s scoring, furthering LSU’s belief.
Alabama hit back and forced overtime.
In OT, Kelly elected for the two-point conversion and the win. Jayden Daniels found Mason Taylor and the Tiger Stadium crowd rushed the field. LSU would go on to clinch the SEC West.
2007 vs. Florida
Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports Copyright Matt Stamey
Florida and LSU have had some classics.
In 2007, the ninth-ranked Gators entered Baton Rouge to face top-ranked LSU.
A Tim Tebow pass stretched Florida’s early lead to 10 in the second quarter. LSU counter-punched but was again down 10 to start the fourth.
Les Miles and LSU had some guts on this night. The Tigers converted five fourth-downs, including a fake field goal. LSU was a combined 13/22 on late downs while Florida had just six third-down conversions all night.
Jacob Hester found the end zone late to give LSU the lead and keep the Tigers unbeaten.
1988 vs. Auburn
It was fourth down. LSU was 10 yards out from the end zone and the clock was under two minutes.
QB Tommy Hodson took the snap, got rid of the ball just before an Auburn defender arrived, and found Eddie Fuller in the end zone.
Tiger Stadium got so loud, the game registered on a nearby seismograph.
The ensuing extra point gave LSU the lead.
The win put LSU back in the AP Top 25 where it would remain for the rest of the season. LSU finished 8-4 under Mike Archer with a loss in the bowl game.
2021 vs. Texas A&M
(AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
The only game from 2021 in this series is Ed Orgeron’s final game at LSU.
The embattled head coach was finishing a rough two years after reaching the height of the sport in 2019. Orgeron had known his fate for some time after reaching a separation agreement with LSU in October.
LSU needed a win to reach bowl eligibility, and after Texas A&M took its first lead of the game late, Max Johnson and the LSU offense had a response of their own.
With 20 seconds left to go, Johnson found Jaray Jenkins in the end zone. It was a rare moment of glory for Orgeron in his final two years, but it was a great way for the national champion to go out.
2000 vs. Tennessee
Nick Saban’s first win over a ranked team at LSU was a good one.
LSU was 2-2 and 0-1 in SEC play when the No. 11 Vols entered Tiger Stadium.
Rohan Davey found Josh Reed in the fourth to put LSU up two scores, but Tennessee came back to tie it at 31. LSU lined up for a field goal as time expired, but Tennessee blocked it, sending it to OT.
LSU’s offense struck first in overtime and the defense held up its end of the bargain on UT’s ensuing try. LSU won 38-31.
Reed notched seven catches for 146 yards, and LaBrandon Toefield crossed to century mark on the ground.
It was a pivotal moment for a program getting ready to emerge under Saban.
2000 vs. Mississippi State
A few weeks later, LSU played part in another overtime thriller, again against a ranked SEC opponent.
LSU was coming off a 34-0 win over Kentucky and was starting to hit its stride in SEC play. Mississippi State was 4-1 and coming off back-to-back wins over top 15 teams.
Domanick Davis put LSU up seven in the fourth, but MSU later tied it at 38.
In OT, Toefield gave LSU the lead and the defense came up with a fourth-down stop. Toefield and Davis combined for 205 yards on the ground while Reed and Reggie Robinson both exceeded 100 receiving yards.
1987 vs. Ohio State
We go back to the 80s for one of the more unique games in our series. A game that ended in a 13-13 tie.
It was a top-10 showdown between No. 4 LSU and No. 7 Ohio State.
LSU led 10-3 at the half, but an inconsistent second half allowed the Buckeyes to make a run. Ohio State forced four turnovers in the second half, including interceptions on LSU’s final two drives.
The Buckeyes lined up for a game-winning field goal, but LSU blocked it.
Archer, who was in his first year as LSU’s head coach, said “You play 60 minutes and you don’t have anything to show for it at the end, and you don’t feel very good afterward.”
A win would have gone a long way for LSU, who still managed to finish No. 5 in the year’s final AP Poll.
2005 vs. Alabama
When LSU traveled to Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2005, a top-five matchup required overtime to settle the score.
Alabama took a 10-0 lead into the half, but LSU matched that in the second half, pitching a 10-0 shutout of their own.
The Crimson Tide got the ball first in overtime but the LSU defense held them to a field goal. On LSU’s responding possession, JaMarcus Russell found Dwayne Bowe in the end zone to give LSU the 16-13 win.
It was Alabama’s first loss of the year. LSU would sit comfortably in the top five until a loss to Georgia in the SEC title.
2001 vs. Tennessee
Syndication: The Tennessean
Speaking of SEC Championships, let’s take a look at Saban’s first.
No. 21 LSU faced No. 2 Tennessee. The Vols had lost just once all year and already beat LSU in September. The Tigers were hot, but had three losses on their record. The odds were in Tennessee’s favor.
Tennessee led at the half, but LSU responded.
LSU didn’t turn the ball over once on the day. Matt Mauck had two rushing touchdowns and LSU had enough for a double-digit victory, winning 31-20.
For Saban, it was the first of many SEC championships.
1987 vs. Georgia
A couple of weeks after that tie against Ohio State, LSU was facing its third ranked team in a row when travelling to Athens to face No. 16 Georgia.
LSU was up 16-3 at the half, but some LSU mistakes in the second-half allowed the Bulldogs to take the lead.
Trailing late, Hodson found Todd Kinchen for a five-yard touchdown pass that put LSU back in front.
The game-winning drive was a moment of resilience for Hodson, who had thrown a costly pick-six earlier in the quarter along with receiving a big hit that cost him some plays.
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