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All things considered, LSU has been a lot better football program than most, especially over the last two decades. Because of that, it has been the favorite more often than not when it takes the field. Despite that, the Tigers have still had their fair share of underdog fights.
Since 2010, LSU has played 37 games as a dog. It’s 14-23 in that span, but that gives LSU the eighth-best underdog win rate in the Power Five in that span.
Twelve of those 37 games have come over the last two years. That’s not a shock considering these last two seasons have been some of the worst LSU has seen in a long time. It went 4-8 in those 12 games, which included the win over Florida in 2020 and the win against Texas A&M just last November.
Here, we’ll look at some of LSU’s most impressive underdog wins since 2010, a time period that spans three coaches, a couple SEC titles and a national title.
Some of these wins have gone down as some of the most memorable in LSU history, changing the trajectory of the program. Others may not have the biggest historical weight, but were still fun to watch at the time.
Let’s dive right in, starting with a classic night clash in Death Valley circa 2014.
2014: LSU 10, Ole Miss 7
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
This was one of those games that reminded you what LSU football is all about. A night game in Tiger Stadium against a top-five ranked division rival.
As you can tell from the score, this was a defensive fight. The LSU defense frustrated Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace all night, allowing just 13 completions on 33 attempts.
LSU’s offense was far from pretty, but running backs [autotag]Leonard Fournette[/autotag] and [autotag]Terrence Magee[/autotag] combined for 273 yards from scrimmage, and quarterback [autotag]Anthony Jennings[/autotag] was efficient enough, averaging 8.9 yards per attempt.
The Tigers took the lead late in the fourth quarter after a Jennings touchdown pass completed a 95-yard drive. An interception sealed the deal as they got a signature win in what was a disappointing 2014 season.
2010: LSU 24, Alabama 21
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Full disclosure, I could not find exact odds for this game, but I know LSU had two underdog wins in 2010, and context clues would indicate this had to be one of them.
It was Nick Saban’s second trip back to Tiger Stadium since leaving for the NFL. Alabama was ranked sixth and LSU 10th, each just with one loss. Cam Newton and Auburn were running away with the SEC, but Alabama and LSU both still had national title hopes.
Both of these teams were flush with NFL talent, from Julio Jones to [autotag]Patrick Peterson[/autotag]. This was as SEC as the SEC could get.
I’m young and can barely remember watching this game, but some older fans say despite being the underdog, it felt like LSU was going to win.
The most memorable moment in this game was DeAngelo Peterson’s end around on fourth and 1 that set up a [autotag]Stevan Ridley[/autotag] touchdown. Josh Jasper tacked on three later in the fourth to give LSU a 10-point lead. Alabama scored one more touchdown, cutting the lead to three, but LSU held on for the win.
LSU finished the season 11-2, with losses to Auburn and Arkansas.
2017: LSU 27, Auburn 23
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This one meant a lot. To fully understand this win, you have to go back to what LSU did in the weeks leading up to this game. The month of September saw it get embarrassed by Mississippi State and lose to Troy. It was Ed Orgeron’s first full year, and it was bleak.
After the loss to Troy, LSU responded with a one-point win at Florida. It was a good sign, but not convincing. The next week, LSU hosted Auburn, who was red-hot at the time.
The Tigers were almost a touchdown underdog at home, which is a rare occurrence. It looked like LSU was going to be embarrassed once again when Auburn took a 20-0 lead.
But its offense woke up in the second quarter, with [autotag]Danny Etling[/autotag] leading two long touchdown drives.
Auburn didn’t score at all in the second half and it was a [autotag]DJ Chark Jr.[/autotag] punt return for a touchdown that put LSU in striking distance. [autotag]Connor Culp[/autotag] hit the go-ahead field goal not long after that, and Orgeron secured his first signature win.
This is the game that put LSU on the path that would eventually lead to a national title. The way that the 2017 team laid the groundwork for the following couple of years should not go unnoticed.
2018: LSU 33, Miami 17
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Miami entered this season-opener ranked eighth in the country. The Hurricanes turned out to be overrated, but at the time, this was a massive win for an LSU that had barely squeaked in the top 25.
This was Joe Burrow’s first game in an LSU uniform, and though he wasn’t a game-changer, he did just enough.
This was the Sunday night game on Labor Day weekend, so the whole college football world was watching. The LSU defense led the way as the Tigers made a statement, holding a 33-3 lead at one point.
This would be the kick-off to what became some of the best two years in program history, and it wasn’t even the biggest upset of 2018.
2018: LSU 36, Georgia 16
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
There aren’t many wins in LSU history as good as this one. The second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs came to Baton Rouge to face an LSU team that was upset by Florida the week prior.
ESPN’s FPI gave Georgia a 72% chance to win at kickoff, but LSU came out strong, taking a 16-0 lead into the half.
LSU played a complete game. The defense made some huge plays, [autotag]Justin Jefferson[/autotag] surpassed the 100-yard mark, and LSU ran for 275 yards against one of the best defenses in football.
This game showed that LSU was capable of competing at the top of college football again. Burrow was a guy who could consistently win big-time football games, and there were bright things ahead for this young team.
2019: LSU 46, Alabama 41
Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.
LSU was the underdog here, but it was never going to lose this game. Plain and simple.
This was its year of destiny, and there seemed to be a certainty among the fanbase that the losing streak at the hands of the Crimson Tide would be coming to an end.
This is one of the greatest wins in LSU history and it’s still recent, so I’m not sure if there’s a need to give the play by play.
This game became the defining moment for Burrow, where he sealed the Heisman and cemented himself as the future top draft pick. For Orgeron, it was the game he delivered on what LSU hired him to do — end the futility against Alabama.
LSU went into to Tuscaloosa that day needing to prove everything. All the fun that led up to that game wouldn’t have meant much if the Tigers lost. They didn’t, and the rest was history.
2020: LSU 37, Florida 34
Syndication: Gainesville Sun
The last two years haven’t been fun, but this was probably LSU’s best moment from the pandemic world.
Everything felt bleak. Empty stands made football feel apocalyptic, things didn’t look to be getting better soon, and this was played on a rainy December night.
Florida was ranked sixth with its playoff hopes still alive. The Gators took an early lead, but LSU had an answer for everything.
A thrown shoe kept LSU’s game-winning drive alive and [autotag]Cade York[/autotag] hit a 57-yard field goal to put LSU in front.
Many of the heroes from this night are gone with [autotag]Max Johnson[/autotag] at Texas A&M and [autotag]Eli Ricks[/autotag] at Alabama, but this game gave LSU some hope at a moment where it looked like everything was collapsing around it.