Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What a Saturday!

As I laid in my bed that Saturday night I could not stop smiling. Nothing was going wrong in my life. After all I just witnessed one of the most memorable wins in LSU football history. Going into the game I knew along with every other LSU fan this game was our season. Sure we had beaten Florida and Auburn, but the winner of this showdown would be the front runner for the SEC West title. It was not until the game kicked off that I really thought about the matchup that was going on. #3 vs. #5. Wow. The last time LSU played in a game were both teams were in the Top 5, Billy Cannon ran back the one of the greatest punt returns ever. As the game strolled on, it became evident that this was in fact a defensive slugfest. When the Tigers went down 10-0, I will admit I started to panic. Being only 18 years old, I still have witnessed my share of Alabama blowouts. Back when the Bengals had DiNardo I remember getting pumped up for Gene Stallins's Crimson Tide to come into Baton Rouge. The Tide won that game 26-0. And then when Saban was the coach we had yet another Alabama let down. For some odd reason the offense did not feel like scoring. The Tide rolled again winning 31-0. When it was halftime, I was feeling lucky LSU was down only 10-0. At times during the first half it looked like yet another shutout was underway. When the team came out in the second half, everything was different. The Bayou Bengals played the type of defense that reminded me of Saban. Croyle was getting sacked, cornerbacks were blitzing, and chaos was resulting on offense for the Tide. The momentum of the game changed the instant Justin Vincent scored on 4th and goal. You could hear every Alabama fan gulp to themselves. As the 4th quarter clock kept ticking I kept anxiously awaiting that score that would hopefully give LSU the lead for good. With the score tied 10-10, it seemed evident that LSU could pull this one out. Though, LSU was not able to capitalize on several drives due to a cue of mistakes on the kicking team time in and time out. Alabama was left off the hook with the score 10-10. Nothing scared me more than the last two plays of regulation. I can still see Brodie Croyle launching that football as far as he could. Prude was right with the wide reciever, but you kind of got the feeling the refree may throw a flag for pass interference. With Alabama fans booing you would have thought the refree would have given in and in fact given the Tide the ball inside the LSU 10 with under ten seconds left in the game. No flag was dropped and for that move by the refree I give him a lot of credit. All in all, 2 seconds still remained on the clock. The same amount of time left during the Bluegrass Miracle. Bama was already at the 50 yard line. They easily had a chance to make something happen. When Croyle threw that little pass I felt assured the Tigers would accomplish the tackle in no time. Yet, he kept running and before I knew it my heart was about to stop. Before I went into anymore shock a pack of Tigers wrapped up the runner and just like that regulation play was over. LSU had been in overtime twice this year. Those two games had the most opposite outcomes of each other. When the NCAA included the overtime several years back I was in love with it. No ties! That's all that mattered. Over the years I have come to realize how much better it could be. I'll admit it has it's positives. Though starting immediately at your opponents 25 yard line is a bit close for my liking. None the less, LSU vs. Alabama was now in overtime. The coin flipped in the air and when I heard we one the toss I was still nervous knowing it was after all, overtime. When Bama stepped out on the field it was gutwretching thinking of all the possibilities on what could happen. The D held, but all I was thinking about was blocking the kick. Unforunately it was right down the middle. 13-10. LSU's turn. Justin Vincent first run had me excited. We had Bama right where we wanted them. The fans were screaming, but one play and the place would be dead silent. (Except for of course the LSU fans.) I did not like the Xavier Carter reverse. That call is loved during regulation, but in overtime it was too risky. After all a huge loss of yards almost resulted. It was 3rd and 6. In the back of everyone's mind was the thought of Chris Jackson coming out to kick again. The same Chris Jackson would had missed 3 field goals already during the course of the game. When Russell called hike I was on the edge of my seat, but a moment later I was back to thinking about Mr. Jackson. The play was not there, Russell had nothing. He would have thrown it by now. Then just like that, with the flick of his wrist JaMarcus Russell wisped the ball. I didn't move as I saw Dwayne Bowe catch the ball. I didn't move as I saw the refree signal touchdown. I didn't know what to do. Did that just happen? Must be a flag! No way. Then it hit me. JaMarcus Russell did it again. He pulled the Tigers out with yet another win. #4 is a winner. Anyone who doubts him now must plain not like him. After all this is the same guy who lead those thrilling comebacks against Oregon State and Arizona State to name a few. As I jumped up and down in joy I thought to myself one memorable thought: I just watched the greatest LSU football game in my life. Alabama was having a dream season. They were going to be in the National Championship. That was until they met the Tigers. The LSU Tigers.

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