Saturday Night in Death Valley

From my seat, high up on the five-yard line in the northeast corner of Tiger Stadium, I witnessed the greatest football game I've ever seen as well as the one of the most rocking nights in the history of Death Valley.

I've witnessed a handful more than 100 games in my lifetime and I, personally, do not remember another game that can match this past Saturday's in atmosphere and intensity. I still get chills watching it. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend LSU's win over Georgia in 2003 which, after watching on TV, I believed to be the craziest day ever at Tiger Stadium. So, I can't give a side-by-side comparison, but I'd be hard pressed to flat out say any game (USC 1979, Auburn 1988, Tennessee 2001, Georgia 2003) surpassed Saturday.

It's rare that a game, hyped as LSU-Florida was, lives up to the unbelievable expectations set upon it. But there it was, unfolding before my very eyes, which often tried not to watch with my beloved Tigers falling behind by 10 points on three separate occasions. It's even more rare for a game of that magnitude, played that well, with a season-defining moment, surrounded by an atmosphere like Tiger Stadium. And not just any Tiger Stadium, a top-five all-time Tiger Stadium.

Let EDSBS writer Orson Swindle, a Florida grad, take over:


Tiger Stadium is proxy Mardi Gras. Something cuts Tiger Stadium loose from the fetters of reality. Perhaps it's the brown liquor buzz peaking with the setting of the sun, or the lurid dark purple the sky turns just as the sun is sliding beneath the horizon, or the combined and complete attention of 92,000 people all focused on one communal point of attention. We've read about the intangibles of playing in a place like Tiger Stadium before-the vague "something" described alternately as "special," "different," or "MY GOD I'M NOT GETTING OUT OF HERE ALIVE"-and scoffed.

We scoff no more. It's real, live, and tangible enough to hang your freshly slaughtered baby alligator carcass on in a pinch. (We met a tailgater who, in festive fashion, had slaughtered a baby alligator that morning in order to prepare it for the tailgate. Tiger meat's a bit harder to come by. Thanks, Chinese Medicine black market! Assholes.)

It's as loud as The Swamp, yet somehow more unhinged.  


I couldn't have said it better myself. Stewart Mandel tried, annointing Saturday's contest as "most intense regular-season game this reporter has ever witnessed." And that's coming from a man who has seen the biggest game in the country every week for nearly a decade.

I don't know that I'll ever see any game top Saturday's, but it really doesn't matter to me. Forever more, I can say I was there on Oct. 6, 2007. It must be how people look back on Halloween 1959 and Billy Cannon's run. It's a day like Saturday that reaffirms everything great about college football and everything we love about cheering on our beloved LSU. GEAUX TIGERS!

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