Our WayBack journey has closed the door on the Nick Saban Era of LSU Football. And while chronologically, we should be moving forward into 2005, the first season of the Les Miles Era, we're not going to do that. Why? Because by NEXT summer, we'll be a full 10 years removed from, not only the beginning of that era, but that first season's penultimate and defining event: Hurricane Katrina.
There will be a time to talk about that dark time in Louisiana's history, and everything that went along with that. But this is not that time. For now, we'll finish off the rest of the summer (or at least until our preseason coverage gets too hot & heavy) with some other great days of Tiger Football passed.
Today, we travel back to November 6, 1982. Yours truly was all of nine months old. Epcot Center had just opened in DisneyWorld. Cats opened on Broadway. And the legendary Paul Bryant (I think he had a nickname or something, but it escapes me at the moment) was in the midst of his final season as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
LSU was undefeated (7-0-1 with a tie to Tennessee) and ranked 11th under Jerry Stovall, paced by a dominant defense with All-Americans Albert Richardson and James Britt and an offense that featured the infamous "Dalton James Gang" backfield -- freshmen tailbacks Dalton Hilliard and Gary James -- along with quarterback Alen Risher and receiver Eric Martin.
- The Crimson Tide came in to this one 7-1 and ranked eighth. More importantly, they were riding an 11-game winning streak against the Tigers, dating back to 1971. The Tide featured All Americans on defense like Mike Pitts, Jeremiah Castile and Louisiana native Tommy Wilcox (who apparently was injured at some point).
- How about scenic Legion Field? That is some ASTRO-TURF.
- For starters, behold a classic 80s box score via LSUsports.net pdf. How about those hand-written stats? SO AUTHENTIC.
- Wooo starting with a bang! Rydell Melancon (GREAT. NAME.) pops Alabama's Walter Lewis on an option keep for a fumble. You see LSU's 3-4 front playing the wishbone option almost perfectly, cutting off each option at a time while Melancon flows from the inside to drill the keep man. I love to talk about the beauty that comes from a well-executed option play, but there's definitely something to enjoy about watching a defense cut the offense off one lane at a time, all in one play.
- LSU couldn't do much with the ball though, and the first quarter would end scoreless.
- DAT DEFENSIVE FRONT DOE.
- And there goes Dalton Hilliard on a little checkdown throw from Risher, for 33 yards. Sets up his own 15-yard touchdown run on a toss sweep.
- Two possessions later Alabama fumbled again, and Risher leads another touchdown drive. Don't you miss when tailbacks used to dive over a pile on playfakes? Haven't seen that in years.
- A high squib kick from LSU is mishandled, and the Tigers manage to steal a possession right before halftime and get a field goal. Not only was this a 17-0 game at the half, but Alabama had gained all of 32 yards on offense and not gained a single first down.
- GOLDEN GIRLS 80s HAIR ALERT.
- The streak was broken. LSU won 20-10, holding Alabama to all of 119 yards and forcing a whopping seven fumbles (recovering four). Risher would be the player of the game with 218 yards of total offense, completing 20-26 passes. LSU would go on to finish 8-3-1, with losses to Mississippi State (John Fucking Bond), Tulane and to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Alabama finished 8-4, with Bryant's final game a 21-15 win in the Liberty Bowl over Illinois.
- A more trolling type might suggest that LSU breaking the Tide's wishbone made Bear Bryant's ass quit. Good thing I'm not the trolling type.