Citrus Bowl looking to provide LSU with 'different bowl experience' in return trip

The LSU Tigers celebrate after beating the Louisville Cardinals 29-9 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in Orlando Fla., on Saturday, December 31, 2016.

As far as LSU football is concerned, 11 a.m. seems like a mighty unnatural hour in which to be playing a game. But Saturday’s 11 a.m. kickoff between the Tigers and Utah State reminds us there have been some other pretty memorable LSU football games to start before the clock hits noon. We lift our Bloody Marys and raise some breakfast toast to five of them:

Nov. 6, 1993, 11:30 a.m. — LSU 17, Alabama 13: A headline in that day’s Mobile Register: “Tide could lose, pigs might fly.” With its 3-5 record, LSU is a 25-point underdog in Tuscaloosa to No. 5-ranked Alabama, which is riding a 31-game unbeaten streak. After a scoreless first half, Jay Johnson and Robert Toomer score on a pair of 2-yard runs to spark LSU’s most stunning upset ever.

Sept. 17, 1994, 11:30 a.m. — Auburn 30, LSU 26: A lot of LSU-Auburn games have earned nicknames over the years. “The Earthquake Game.” “The Night the Barn Burned.” “The :01 Game.” This one, unfortunately for LSU, is "The Interception Game.” Auburn returns three Jamie Howard interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter and recovers a fumble in the end zone for an earlier score. LSU loses despite outgaining Auburn 407-165 and holding the home team to 16 yards and one first down in the second half. Howard and LSU would exact revenge on No. 5 Auburn with a 12-6 win in Tiger Stadium a year later.

Nov. 9, 2002, 11:30 a.m. — LSU 33, Kentucky 30: The play was called Dash Right 93 Berlin. Today, everyone knows it as The Bluegrass Miracle. Taking its place in LSU lore alongside Billy Cannon’s punt return and Warren Morris’ home run, Marcus Randall lets it fly on a play that starts at the Tigers’ 25-yard line and finds Devery Henderson in a tangle of players near the UK 19. The ball bounces off two defenders’ hands and onto Henderson’s right hand as he heads to glory. “All I remember was bobbling the ball and pulling it in,” Henderson said, “then running like hell.”

Aug. 30, 2008, 10 a.m. — LSU 41, Appalachian State 13: The game is moved up six hours because of approaching Hurricane Gustav, likely the earliest kickoff ever in Tiger Stadium. The Tigers celebrate their 2007 BCS national championship by rolling the Mountaineers team that opened the previous season with a shocking upset win at Michigan. Charles Scott runs for a career-best 160 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers romp to a 31-0 halftime lead and coast home from there.

Dec. 31, 2016, 10 a.m. Central time — LSU 29, Louisville 9: LSU rings out a tumultuous year with a resounding win over Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals in the Citrus Bowl. The Tigers harass Jackson all day, sacking him eight times (three by Tashawn Bower) and holding Louisville’s potent offense without an offensive touchdown for the first time in 17 games. Citrus Bowl MVP Derrius Guice rushes for 138 yards and scores twice, while quarterback Danny Etling throws for 217 yards and two scores as the Tigers make a winner out of Ed Orgeron in his first game as LSU’s full-time head coach.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com