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Wednesday Walks Down Memory Lane: LSU - Alabama, 1999

We're back for the next installment of our new summer feature, where we talk about some older games. I swer that this isn't going to entirely consist of Bama games, but this was the next one I readily remember. Thanks again to rnolan53 for the vids, and we watch as the Gerry DiNardo era begins to grind to a halt...

On to the memories:

  • The setting:

    • Ah, senior year of high school. My second road trip to Tuscaloosa, this time with most of the whole family in tow. This was the first time I really got a look at the Alabama campus. The weather was beautiful, and we met some family friends that had an RV parked near the stadium. Pretty kick-ass setup, complete with a DJ and a portable dance floor. A cousin that went to Bama for her undergrad showed up with her sorority sisters, and yeah, 17-year-old Billy was pretty happy to be partying with college chicks. I think my dad was shocked at the kids' locust-like approach to free food and alcohol, which was clearly a sign that he was starting to get old.
    • The Tide were in the midst of an SEC title run, the grand mirage of the Mike DuBose era. LSU was ahead of schedule on hitting rock bottom with it's own in-over-his-head coach. Of course, by November we knew DiNardo wasn't long for the program, so it kind of allowed us to just relax and enjoy ourselves. We expected an ass-kicking, so anything short of that was going to be bonus...
  • The game itself:

    • And bonus was received -- a 23-17 loss in what I still refer as "the Josh Booty Game," in which the one-time savior quarterback (who was so monumentally bad that those hopes had long been dashed) was stuffed at the goal line (with at least one open receiver) on the game's last play.
    • This game might have been one of the high-water marks of the Lou Tepper defense, particularly with the near goal-line stand you see in the first minute and a half of the video. Of course, given that Lou Tepper was involved, Bama eventually punched it in on fourth down. Still, Shaun Alexander netted just 18 yards on 14 carries that day. Given the season he had in '99, that's impressive.
    • Josh Booty. Whenever I hear some Humanoid refer to Jordan Jefferson as one of the worst quarterbacks in LSU history I wonder where they were in '99. Booty's stat line on the season: a 48-percent completion rate at 5.4 yards per attempt, with seven touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Think about that folks. Watching him in action again, I see a lot of the same issues Jarrett Lee has had at times -- staring down receivers and terrible mechanics under pressure. Even some of his good throws on the day were off his back foot.
    • This game was significant in one way that many might not remember -- it featured Josh Reed's first real action at wide receiver. Two catches for 33 yards, but both came on the game's final drive.
    • The freshmen on this team featured a lot of future stars: Bradie James, Trev Faulk, Domanick Davis, Ryan Clark, Robert Royal and Reed. Randall Gay was redshirting in '99, and Jarvis Green was starting as a sophomore. What's funny is that some of those guys have had the most staying power in the NFL, over some of the more-heralded draft picks of the last decade.
    • I remember this vividly. The 23-7 lead might as well have seemed like 43-7 to my younger brother and I, when I said under my breath "our only chance is something really fluky happening." On the next play Johnny Mitchell catches a deflected pass and houses it.
    • To the Bama fans reading this: is the image of Ryan Pflugner giving you nightmares? Some you might remember he ended this season missing an extra point in overtime, giving Tom Brady and Michigan a win in the Orange Bowl.
    • The final play. I have always believed that Booty went under center absolutely certain that he was going to roll out and take that ball into the endzone, oblivious to the fact that a quick pass would have given him time for one more play. Of course Joe Domingeaux (one of the best names in LSU history if you remember how it was pronounced) was wide open had he actually decided to throw, but given how that season went I'm sure Booty would have found a way to miss him. And if I recall, the Bama defender that took the brunt of the mid-air collision actually suffered a major neck injury, although any Bama fans reading this might be able to tell us if that's truth or rumor.
    Any memories of your own from this one? Let's hear them. Luckily, there were plenty of good times ahead...