Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Here is one man's opinion of LSU's five most memorable games of the past athletic year. The games are listed in reverse order.

5. SOFTBALL: LSU 3, Tennessee 2
April 29, 2007 at Tiger Park

It was a showdown series for LSU and Tennessee on the second-to-last weekend of the regular season. The Tigers and Lady Vols had split a doubleheader on Saturday.

So, LSU had a chance to win the series and move into a tie for the Southeastern Conference lead with a victory on Sunday.

The Tigers took care of business by defeating Tennessee ace pitcher Monica Abbott 3-2 in the rubber game of the series before a crowd of 1,531 – the largest attendance for a single game in LSU softball history at Tiger Park.

Taking advantage of wildness by Abbott, the Tigers scored all of their runs in the second inning. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases.

A walk to Tayl'r Hollis forced home the first run. The other two runs scored on a sacrifice fly by Kristen Hobbs and a single by Jazz Jackson.

Emily Turner allowed one run in six innings. The Vols pulled within a run in the seventh on a one-out double. Turner was replaced Dani Hofer, who retired the next two batters on a ground out and a pop out to preserve the one-run lead.

4. MEN'S BASKETBALL: LSU 66, Florida 56
February 24, 2007 at Pete Maravich Assembly Center

The Tigers were near the end of a most disappointing basketball season. Only three games were remaining in the SEC schedule. The only race involving LSU was a competition with South Carolina to avoid the cellar.

Moreover, here comes Florida, fresh off clinching the SEC title and on its way to another national championship. Glen Davis was sitting out the game with the Gators due to a leg injury.

So, all the Tigers do is turn in their best outing of the SEC regular season and stun Florida 66-56. Garrett Temple led LSU with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Terry Martin contributed 18 points.

The Tigers made 51 percent of their field goal attempts and had a 35-22 rebounding advantage. The LSU defense limited the Gators to two 3-pointers in 17 attempts.

Sparked by two Temple 3-pointers, the Tigers made 10 of their first 12 shots from the floor in jumping out to a 24-12 lead. LSU, which held a 34-21 halftime advantage, saw its lead trimmed to eight points after a four-minute scoring drought right after halftime.

A basket by Martin got the Tigers back on track. LSU eventually built an 18-point cushion at 53-35.

3. FOOTBALL: LSU 28, Tennessee 24
November 4, 2006 at Neyland Stadium (Knoxville)

The Tigers found themselves in a must-win situation if they were going to have a special season. Facing a difficult schedule, LSU had dropped road games at Auburn and Florida. Now awaiting the Tigers was another challenging tilt away from Tiger Stadium.

Early in the third quarter, it did not look good for LSU when Demetrice Morley picked off a JaMarcus Russell pass and returned the ball 31 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers found themselves behind by ten points.

However, Russell would gather himself and guide LSU to three second-half touchdown drives. The third scoring march ended on a 4-yard Russell to Early Doucet pass with nine seconds left in the game which wiped out a 24-21 Volunteers lead.

The Tigers put together back-to-back scoring possessions to go ahead 21-17. A 77-yard series was climaxed by a 5-yard pass from Russell to Dwayne Bowe. Then, a 52-yard march culminated in a 7-yard scoring run by Keiland Williams.

LSU would suffer two fourth quarter turnovers – an interception by Russell and a fumble by Bowe – and fall behind on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Jonathan Crompton to Robert Meachem.

The Tigers answered with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that used more than seven minutes. Russell converted a fourth-down situation with a completion to Doucet to keep the drive alive.

Russell accounted for 318 yards of offense – 247 through the air and 71 on the ground. Doucet caught eight passes for 73 yards, while Bowe snagged six passes for 89 yards.

2. WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: LSU 73, Connecticut 50
March 26, 2007 at SaveMart Center (Fresno)

Playing amidst the distractions of the Pokey Chatman departure, the Lady Tigers had a huge obstacle in their way of advancing to a fourth consecutive Final Four. LSU had to defeat Connecticut, which had stopped its 43-game home-winning streak in February.

All the Lady Tigers produced was their best outing of the season in the regional finals against UConn. LSU crushed the Huskies 73-50 to clinch another spot in the Final Four.

Acting head coach Bob Starkey got the Lady Tigers to turn in a complete game. Connecticut made a season low 33 percent of its field goal attempts. Sylvia Fowles blocked six shots and made three steals.

Offensively, LSU shot 48 percent from the field. But, the Lady Tigers were an uncharacteristic 7-of-10 from 3-point range. Freshman reserve Allison Hightower made three shots from behind the arc en route to 12 points.

Each of the five starters played a huge role in LSU's first victory in four tries against the Huskies. Fowles, who was 10-of-18 from the field, finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Ashley Thomas and Erica White provided 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Quianna Chaney scored just eight points, but she dished out five assists. RaShonta LeBlanc totaled seven rebounds and six assists.

Fowles scored seven points during a 13-2 run which snapped an 8-8 tie. The Lady Tigers, who held a 34-22 halftime lead, were always ahead by at least 11 points during the final 20 minutes.

1. FOOTBALL: LSU 41, Notre Dame 14
January 3, 2007 at Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans)

For the Tigers, the Sugar Bowl matchup against Notre Dame provided their opportunity to stamp themselves as one of the top teams in the country. LSU did lose two games, but no team was playing better in the second half of the regular season.

Give the Tigers a gigantic check mark for their performance against the Fighting Irish. LSU dominated play from the tail end of the second quarter and crushed Notre Dame 41-14. The victory helped the Tigers finish third in the final national rankings.

After letting a 14-0 lead slip away, LSU put together a lightning quick scoring march right before halftime. Justin Vincent had a 19-yard run and Russell hooked up with Doucet on a 58-yard pass. Russell put the Tigers on top with a five-yard scoring run.

In the second half, the contest turned into a total mismatch. LSU gained 333 yards in the last two quarters and scored 20 points – two touchdowns and two field goals. Meanwhile, the Tigers defense held the Irish to no points and a mere 30 yards in the second half.

Holding a 21-14 advantage, LSU increased its cushion on field goals of 25 yards and 37 yards by Colt David. Then, two freshmen scored touchdowns to turn the game into a rout. Brandon LaFell caught a 58-yard pass from Russell and Williams ran 20 yards.

Williams rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns, while Vincent tacked on 71 yards on the ground in the final game of his career. Doucet had eight catches for 115 yards, while Bowe grabbed five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.

But, the story of the game was how much Russell outperformed Notre Dame's Brady Quinn. In the process, Russell stamped himself as the top quarterback in the 2007 NFL draft.

Russell completed 21 of 34 passes for 332 yards and the touchdown passes to LaFell and Bowe. Quinn was 15-of-35 for 148 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

No comments: