And lo, on the seventh Saturday, the valley shook.
Boy, did it ever.
In a scene that looked more like a bowl game than a typical LSU home game, with probably something on the order of 20,000 Georgia fans peppering Tiger Stadium like a red rash, LSU’s field of old tumult rocked and rolled and cursed (it must be said, naughty student section) with the epic encounter this was between the No. 12 Tigers and No. 2 Bulldogs.
Foster Moreau was talking to some Georgia players Saturday after LSU's 36-16 upset of the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs when he suddenly felt a larger…
It was not an epic thriller to the end. By the time the clocks in Tiger Stadium wound down to zeroes, LSU had hammered Georgia for an emphatic 36-16 victory. The question ended up not being whether the Tigers could hang with the Bulldogs, but how much LSU will end up getting fined for the thousands who stormed the field and danced until the sun went down.
“I was standing there when the crowd started coming onto the field,” said kicker Cole Tracy, who tied the single-game school record with five field goals. “It was like a dream come true.”
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A blissful dream after the Tigers’ self-inflicted nightmare of a 27-19 loss last Saturday at Florida that put LSU in a funk but left the Tigers determined to put things right against Georgia.
“I do believe there was a hunger,” said Ed Orgeron, who has yet to experience a losing streak as LSU’s coach. “We felt we were to blame for losing (at Florida). That even hurt more. You screw the screws a little tighter, and all week I felt guys had a chip on their shoulder.”
The Tigers schemed aggressively to counteract what looked like the superior team, at least on paper. LSU kept going for it on fourth down after fourth down, like this is what teams do every week. And the Tigers kept converting them, 4-for-4 in all. It was like the spirit of Jimmy Taylor, the LSU and NFL great who died Saturday morning, was on Orgeron’s shoulder, whispering: “We can make it. We can make it. Go! Go!”
Early on, it looked like LSU’s defense was going to get shoved around one week after allowing 215 yards rushing to Florida.
On the Bulldogs’ second drive, they pounded and pounded 71 yards — all on the ground — to the LSU 14 before stalling. Georgia coach Kirby Smart then decided to try an over-the-holder’s shoulder fake flip to kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who fumbled at the 16 far short of the 9 yards he needed for a first down.
Fans spilled onto the field. Some ran. Some hoisted others on their shoulders. Others knelt to grab a handful of grass to remember the day whe…
“If it doesn’t work, it’s a bad call,” said Smart, the one-time LSU assistant coach. “We certainly felt good about it.”
Oh, the Les Miles of it all. LSU then marched 84 yards to go up 10-0, a margin Georgia could never completely erase. The Bulldogs piled up 71 yards rushing on that one drive but only 42 the rest of the game, thanks to some secretive defensive adjustments Orgeron was not eager to share completely.
“We were shaded one way and we shaded another way. Shade to shade, baby!” he rumbled.
The Tigers threw shade on a Georgia team that had long been stamped as a potential CFP participant — an observation that now must be seriously called into question.
The reigning Southeastern Conference champion clearly has talent but could not impose its will on LSU, never closing the early 10-point gap. Georgia will still likely win the SEC East, but after this beating no one is going to look at the Bulldogs the same way again.
No. 18 had some strong words in defense of his head coach Saturday night.
How will the Tigers be viewed after their third win over a top-10 team this season — and the best win any college football team has on its résumé? Probably no one thinks of LSU as a true national contender, but with this result and top-10 teams like Washington and Penn State going down Saturday, the Tigers cannot be dismissed, either.
Fifteen years ago, LSU made a statement with a 17-10 win in Tiger Stadium over a highly regarded Georgia team. The Tigers went on to lose to Florida but won out after that, all the way to the BCS national title.
Not saying that's where this LSU team is headed.
But suddenly, it sure does look a lot like 2003 around here.