In 1993, LSU football turned 100 years old, and frankly, the age and the mileage were showing.
Head coach Curley Hallman was LSU's fifth head coach since the unceremonious departure of Charles McClendon, and there wasn't much of a reason to believe he was going to even match the steadiness of the 1970s, much less take the next step some believed would be so easy when Cholly Mac was pushed out.
Through two seasons, he'd compiled a 7-15 record, and the '93 squad had lost five games already as November dawned with a road trip to fifth-ranked Alabama.
The Crimson Tide were the defending SEC and national champions, riding a 20-plus game winning streak in the SEC under Gene Stallings. They were loaded with stars like David Palmer and Antonio Langham and led by veteran quarterback Jay Barker, who had never lost a game as the starter. On gameday, a major newspaper in the state -- I believe the Birmingham News, but I'm not completely sure on that -- famously joked that 3-5 LSU would win when pigs flew.
- This game was ineligible for LSU's SEC Network Takeover day due to being a former Jefferson Pilot broadcast, but there's no reason we can't bring it back here thanks to the magic of Youtube.
- As for your then-11-year-old correspondent, I don't remember more than a few snippets of the game, as I didn't watch a lot of football in those days. I do remember a few of us on my block running into a friend's house at the word that LSU was beating Alabama.
- Brian Burgdorf got the start in the place of the injured Barker, and he the Tide were able to get some traction -- crossing the 50-yard line three times in the first half, but coming up empty thanks to a 46-yard missed field goal and a fumble.
- LSU would ride big performances from safety Ivory Hilliard and linebackers Mike Calais and Gabe Northern, who combined for 23 tackles and three sacks.
- Tigers are just playing with their hair on fire, and Burgdorf looks flustered and then boom! Big pick by Anthony Marshall. Sets up the Tigers in Alabama territory for the first score of the game.
- How about that old T-formation on the goal line? And people think using the I-formation is outdated.
- Jay Johnson scores behind a nice block from senior center Kevin Mawae. Wonder whatever happened to that guy?
- Oof. Alabama got so desperate here they even trotted out ol' Freddie Kitchens to try and get a spark on offense. For those of us that remember the 90s, Kitchens was like Brodie Croyle and John Parker Wilson's fat older brother.
- Another interception, with TRICKY LATERAL ACTION sets up LSU in Bama territory again, midway through the third quarter and man those collars are getting tight in Legion Field.
- PodKatt and zrau are furiously racing to eBay looking for this guy's jacket right now.
- By the end of three, Alabama had outgained LSU 220 yards to 157. But they trailed two touchdowns. And as good as Alabama was during this time, they were anything but a dynamic offensive squad. And they're playing with a backup quarterback to boot.
- Man, Hilliard really like lateralling interceptions. Maybe that's where Ed Reed got the idea from?
- Eventually, Alabama just resorted to trying stud multi-purpose receiver David Palmer at quarterback. He'd wind up throwing both of the Tide's touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but a late interception allowed LSU to run nearly five minutes of game time off late and kick a field goal to go up 10. Bama would rally for another touchdown in the final four, but the onside kick failed.
- And there it is. The marquee moment of the Curley Hallman Era. He'd scratch together one more year and leave LSU a baseball school looking to bring back the magic.