Today I am starting a new series about LSU’s three national championships in 2007, 2003, and way back in 1958. We lost a national title in 2011 to Alabama after an undefeated season, but that is a sore subject. If I do this series next year, I will certainly have to add our 2017 national title. I want to remind Tiger fans of LSU’s most successful years because those are the ones I think about most even if I wasn’t around for them.
We’ll start with the most recent one in 2007. I was two at that point, living in Virginia, and clueless as to why my dad was cheering. Every time LSU loses he likes to hold the youngest of his children and remind himself what is truly important in life. A nail biter championship game required me sitting on his lap. I have since watched a DVD of the game several times. I have read all of the cover page articles from sports magazines.
2007 was probably the most successful season LSU has ever had. Our offense averaged forty points a game, which has not been the case for the past six years. Our defense allowed on average twenty points per game. Still, they looked better on the field than on paper. We doubled our opponents score every game.
LSU had leaders in all positions. Our defensive line was a wall better than anything Trump could ever build. They were led by Glenn Dorsey, the most decorated LSU player of all time. We had some of the best defensive backs and linebackers in the nation like Ali Highsmith, Chevis Jackson and Craig Steltz. On offense, we had a stout line, and one of the best, if not the best, receiving corps in the country with Early Doucet, Brandon LaFell, and Demetrius Byrd. Matt Flynn was a steady game manager who threw catchable balls on target. He made it easy for our receivers to excel.
Our rushing game was unstoppable. If we needed a small speedster, we put in Trindon Holiday. If we needed a runner with enough heart to do anything for three yards, we sent in Jacob Hester. Every once in a while, if we needed a little bit of both, we put in Charles Scott. It was surely one of the best squads to ever put on a purple and gold jersey.
Our 2007 team may have lost two games but they were triple overtime losses to Kentucky and Arkansas. Otherwise we blew out most of our opponents but had a few close calls with Florida, Auburn, and Alabama. In the game against Florida, Les Miles gambled on five fourth downs and converted all five of them which got him the nickname Mad Hatter that he would continue to prove with fake field goals in punts later in the season (he was also then known to have “onions” but my dad says I’m too young to get that). Jacob Hester scored the game winning, goal line touchdown. Against Auburn, LSU was down with one second to go (sound familiar) and somehow Matt Flynn managed a 22 yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd (within regulation). 2007 was Alabama’s first year with Nick Saban as head coach. We would have lost to Alabama but our stout defensive line forced a fumble on Alabama’s three yard line and Jacob Hester plowed through for yet another game winning, goal line touchdown.
LSU won the SEC title versus Tennessee easily even without Matt Flynn, who was out because of an injury. LSU fans held their breath that night as they watched the results from other title games roll in. The number one and number two teams in the nation (Missouri and West Virginia) both lost. That is when a lot of people realized LSU was meant to go to the national title. All the stars aligned.
In the championship game, we faced off Ohio State University. Under head coach Jim Tressel, the Buckeyes only lost one game that season to the University of Illinois. LSU did not have a strong start. It was 10-0 at the end of the first quarter. LSU was used to that and suddenly went for 31 unanswered points. Our defense tortured the Buckeyes. Their quarterback Boeckmann was sacked five times, intercepted twice, and stripped once. OSU’s usually dominant rushing game was completely bottled up by the second half. LSU ran and threw all over their defense with different running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends making OSU’s defense look like a pop warner team. The final score was 38-24. LSU won!
It was a roller coaster season that saw LSU finish on top becoming the first team to win two titles in the BCS era. As quarterback Matt Flynn said after the game, “It’s been tough but right now it’s so, so sweet”. Before the game, Les Miles had to put rumors to rest that he would leave to coach at Michigan. He even apologized to the players that rumors even came up. Now of course Miles is gone, Bébé is here and hopefully next year we’ll analyze a new title in a new decade.