LSU has had a long history and an equally long tradition of bringing their best to the football field. There have been many legendary events that help define the LSU legacy as one of achievement and victory, even in the face of overwhelming odds.
In the 1959 LSU was playing Ole Miss, one of their long-time rivals. Late in the game LSU trailed 0-3 when LSU legend Billy Cannon received a punt. He pushed 89 yards down the field, breaking 7 tackles to score the only touchdown of the game and securing an LSU victory. In 1966 during the Cotton Bowl Classic LSU, unranked, beat #2 Arkansas to break the Razorbacks’ 22 game winning streak. Another Ole Miss incident, further fueling the rivalry, happened in 1972. An unranked Ole Miss had very nearly upset the #6 Tigers on LSU ground when LSU managed to push through two offensive plays to score in the last 4 seconds of play time. Ole Miss has ever since contested that LSU’s clock gave the Tigers an extra play. LSU’s tradition of breaking hearts in grand fashion continued in 1982 when the Tigers defense delivered the most thorough shutdown in Alabama history during Bear Bryant’s last game against LSU. The Tigers held Alabama to just 80 yards of offense and Bear called it “an old-fashioned butt whipping”.
Tigers fans showed their spirit in 1988 when unranked LSU upset #4 Auburn, a new rival at the time, in the last two minutes of the game. A seismograph in the Howe-Russell Geoscience Complex registered the crowd’s reaction as an earthquake. The earth shook again in 1997 when #14 LSU, after losing their 9 previous contests against Florida, upset the #1 Gators in the Tigers stadium. This was the first time LSU had beat a #1 ranked team and it earned them the cover of Sports Illustrated. The upsets continued in 2001 when #21 LSU beat #2 Tennessee to earn the Tigers first visit to the Sugar Bowl in 15 years. A year later the #16 Tigers were very nearly upset by an unranked Kentucky, but a 75-yard Hail Mary with no time left on the clock found the hands of Devery Henderson after slipping away from Michael Clayton and Henderson managed to break a tackle to score the winning touchdown. Kentucky fans had already rushed the field and torn down a goal post, one of most exciting and most confusing comebacks in college sports history.