To follow-up on last week’s post regarding the best plays of the decade, here are my views on the Ten worst plays of this decade of LSU Football.
10. “Carter Folds In Georgia” – In 2004, LSU went to Athens, Georgia and found themselves in an ambush. After losing to LSU twice the year before, Georgia had this game circled on the calendar. They showed up in a big way and played a near flawless game. LSU could do nothing right. One play really summed up this misreable afternoon. Freshman receiver Xavier Carter received a kickoff and started to come out of the end zone. He then decided he wanted to kneel in the end zone. That would have been fine if Carter was still in the end zone but he wasn’t. Instead, he kneeled down on the 1 yard line. Ugh.
9.“Missed XP? Try It Again” – In 2004, undefeated LSU traveled to Auburn in a battle of Top-10 teams. LSU was looking to defend their national championship while Auburn had national title hopes of their own. LSU quickly took a 9-3 after their first two drives, missing an extra point on a touchdown and kicking a field goal. The the score remained 9-3 for the majority of the game. With one last drive, Auburn started marching down the field. They converted a 4th and 12 and then scored a touchdown a few plays later with only 1:12 remaining on the clock ot tie the game. Auburn’s kicker, John Vaughn unbelievably missed the extra point. Even more unbelievable was that a penalty was called on LSU’s Ronnie Prude for jumping and landing on an Auburn player. Huh? Have you EVER seen that penalty called any other time? Of course not. Even Nick Saban called it a “cheap penalty.” Auburn got to re-try the extra point and of course Vaughn made the second try. Auburn won the game 10-9 and went on to go undefeated in 2004.
8. “Booty Audibles To INT” – Inexplicably locked into a defensive struggle with UAB, LSU managed to tie the game 10-10 in the fourth quarter. UAB was driving late to try and win the game but LSU’s defense held tough and forced a punt. They received the ball on their own 29 yard line with :33 left. On the first play of the drive, Josh Booty threw a pass right to a UAB defender who returned the ball to LSU’s 17 yard line. Two players later, UAB kicks the winning field goal as time expires to stun the Tiger Stadium crowd and kill any momentum that new coach Nick Saban had built. We later learned that Josh Booty audibled at the line of scrimmage to a play that didn’t exist.
7. “Miracle On Markham II” – In 2008, LSU went to Arkansas to try and salvage their reputation as a good football team after suffering losses in two of their previous three losses. Instead, the opposite happened. LSU led Arkansas 30-14 early in the third quarter and then gradually let them back into the game. Assisted with stupid penalties, Arkansas found themselves trailing 30-24 with 2:14 remaining. They steadily drove down the field and were soon into LSU territory. Facing 4th and 1 from LSU’s 24 yard line, Casey Dick threw a fade pass into the end zone that was caught by London Crawford for a touchdown. The Hogs made the extra point and beat LSU 31-30.
6. “4th and 10 in OT” – Ranked #1 in the nation and needing two more wins to clinch a spot in the national championship game, LSU found themselves in a dog fight with a talented Arkansas team. After scrapping their way to overtime, LSU got the ball first and scored a TD to take a 35-27 lead. LSU’s defense then stepped up and forced Arkansas into a 4th and 10 situation. With the nation’s third ranked defense and among the national leaders in sack and quarterback hurries, LSU instead decided to rush only three players while dropping eight into coverage. Predictably, Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick had plenty of time to throw and he eventually found an open receiver to convert the first down. They scored soon after and ultimately won the game in triple overtime. The lack of aggressiveness on that play is still tough to figure out.
5. “Robbed In Tuscaloosa” – In a battle for the 2009 SEC West crown, LSU traveled to Tuscaloosa to face the #2 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Playing one of their better games of the year, LSU led Alabama in the fourth quarter. Later, they found themselves trailing by six with Bama driving into LSU’s territory. LSU needed something to change momentum. A big defensive stop. A turnover. Something. And then, LSU got it. Patrick Peterson seemingly intercepted a pass along the sideline, but the pass was called incomplete on the field. The replay booth took a long look at that play and inexplicably confirmed the incomplete call from the field even though television replays clearly showed that Patrick Peterson was in bounds with control of the ball. LSU was robbed a chance to go win the game. Alabama went on to win 24-15.
4. “Meltdown In Mississippi” – LSU went to Oxford in 2009 hoping to win out and end the season on a long winning streak. Ole Miss outplayed LSU for much of the day but LSU drove for a late touchdown to bring them within two points. After a failed two point conversion, LSU recovered an onsides kick and found themselves in field goal range. They then played their way out of field goal range. Forced into a 4th and 26 situation with only :09 left, LSU heaved a pass towards the end zone and it was caught with :01 left near the 10 yard line. And then, all hell broke loose. A sideline full of confusion had no plan for what to do. Kick a field goal? Run a play? LSU did neither and instead tried to spike the ball, which obviously does nothing but lose the game. It was one of the bigger “WTF” moments in LSU history.
3. “Pass Interference Waved Off” – In 2006, we saw an incredible game between LSU and Auburn dominated by defense. Auburn led LSU 7-3 late in the fourth quarter when LSU was driving. Facing a 4th and 8 with just under three minutes to play, LSU quarterback Jamarcus Russell threw a pass to Early Doucet. Doucet was clearly interfered with by an Auburn defender as the ball was tipped away by another defender. A flag was thrown and pass interference was called on the play. The flag would have given LSU a 1st down at Auburn’s 16 yard line. The referee then waved off the penalty claiming that because the ball was tipped, the ball was uncatchable and therefore, pass interference did not take place. It was clear as day that the interference took place prior to the ball being tipped. Auburn won the game 7-3.
2. “Capital One Catastrophe” – Facing Iowa in the 2005 Capital One Bowl, LSU engineered a comeback to take a late 26-24 lead. With under a minute to go, Iowa wasn’t going very far in efforts to get into field goal range. With the clock ticking down to :09, Iowa was forced to heave a prayer of a pass down the field. An Iowa receiver was left uncovered, and he caught the ball for the winning touchdown as time expired.
1. “Miracle On Markham” – In 2002, LSU faced Arkansas in Little Rock in a game that would decide the SEC West Championship. LSU controlled this game from start to finish and kicked a late field goal to go up by six points with :40 left. Arkansas found a wide open receiver on a 50 yard gain, down to LSU’s 30 yard line. Two players, Arkansas threw up another prayer which was caught in the end zone for a touchdown. Arkansas won the game and the SEC West championship in a completely improbable come from behind victory.