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Wednesday Wayback: Rocky Top Revenge

LSU avenges 2005’s heartbreaker with a memorable drive to steal one in Knoxville.

The first half of LSU’s 2006 season was...boring. Really boring. Well, boring is the wrong word. More uneventful. We would have picked up the 2006 season with week three’s dubious loss at Auburn, but YouTube has heralded the decree of Every Day Should Be Saturday to “Erase This Game” and it is not available to view at length on YouTube. And because I’m not doing the Florida game, here is the remaining list of games to choose from:

LSU 45, ULL 3

LSU 45, Arizona 3

LSU 49, Tulane 7

LSU 48, Mississippi State 7

LSU 49, Kentucky 0

LSU 38, Fresno State 6

So we skip ahead to November 4th’s trip to Knoxville. Despite two losses in conference, LSU is still very much in the race for a berth in Atlanta, but standing in their way is the eighth ranked Volunteers, who are trying to keep pace with Florida in the SEC East following their narrow 21-20 defeat against their orange and blue foes. With the thoughts of 2005’s spoiled homecoming still heavy in their minds, LSU looks to reciprocate the favor.

The Game

-I’m gonna miss Uncle Verne.

-An injured Eric Ainge, surrounded by scrubs like Adrian Foster and Robert Meachem, fails to move the chains on the first drive.

-Keiland Williams gets back to back first downs to take LSU into Tennessee territory on the first drive.

-Herman Johnson, former baby.

-LSU can’t convert the long field goal thanks to a costly penalty on 3rd down.

-I can’t find it in my heart to hate Rocky Top. Just can’t.

-Through two drives, Tennessee has already ran up the dropped pass count to three.

-JaMarcus does not return on the field after taking an awkward sack, so Matt Flynn goes in for him. You can also watch Matt Flynn as Jason Bourne, the continuation of the critically acclaimed franchise, in theaters this Friday.

-Wow, Tennessee goes with a weird look on defense where they don’t get down so LSU can’t get a read on the blocking assignments. I wonder how Tennessee’s defensive coordinator would fare at LSU?

-Jimbo’s love affair with screen passes is heating up, as a dunk to Bowe goes for 16

-Russell flicks the wrist and a ~40 yard pass to an Craig Buster Davis is dropped. Russell is dropped on the subsequent play.

-Russell breaks like, four laws of quarterbacking and still fires a 25 yard strike for a first down.

-And then he does it again, this time hitting Buster for six from about 34 yards out. Seriously, it was a brown laser beam darting across a green backdrop that 2006 TV cameras couldn’t pick it up clearly. 7-0 LSU.

-LSU hits Tennessee with a nice fullback dive to Hester with Holliday in the backfield that goes for 15.

-LSU can’t get a call in 2006.

-Crompton drops it right in Robert Meachem’s basket from 37 yards out. 7-7.

-Ahahahahah Alabama got Croom’d!

-Just your casual everyday 34 yard scramble from JaMarcus Russell.

-JaMarcus giveth, JaMarcus taketh. He is easily intercepted by Jonathon Hefney deep in Tennessee territory.

-Arian Foster gets an open hole and cuts back at the second level, a 22 yard run to bring them inside the red zone but a Crompton scramble on third down forces a Tennessee field goal which is good, bringing Tennessee up 10-7 at half.

-Les Miles doesn’t quite know what to do with his hands, is emotional.

-Russell starts the half by grossly overthrowing everybody in white, leading to the easiest touchdown Demetrice Morley has ever scored. 17-7 Tennessee

-LSU bounces back with a screen pass to Bowe that gets busted for 36 yards. Russell then rips off a 23 yard scramble(!). On third and goal, Russell goes back to Bowe on the screen for paydirt. 17-14 Tennessee.

-LSU gets the football equivalent of a shutdown inning on the next drive. On the ensuing punt, Craig Davis gets hit before he can make a catch, giving LSU another 15 yards to start their drive at midfield.

-On the first play on the new drive, Keiland Williams moves the chains and takes it into opposition territory on one power. Hester flashes some downfield speed when he gets a gap, taking the rock 17 yards downfield to the 25. On second down, Russell hits Justin Vincent on, you guessed it, another screen that goes for eight yards. A checkdown seven yard pass to Hester sets up a seven yard weakside toss by Williams to reach the paint. Basically, LSU had Tennessee on skates and used every offensive weapon they had (minus Davis, who was hurt by the hit on the punt) on the drive in a smart and efficient manner. 21-17 LSU.

-LSU gets Tennessee into a 3rd and 2, but Tennessee gets out of it with a pass to the fullback in the flat that rumbles for 25 yards more. Tennessee threatens but Wilhoit sails the field goal attempt to the right.

-LSU gets stuffed on a 3rd and 1, but LO, LSU FAKES A PUNT EXCITED GASP. Chris Jackson keeps the ball and runs to the far side for 18 yards into Tennessee territory.

-Uh Skip Bertman was not the baseball coach in 2006.

-LSU is knocking on the door of the Tennessee red zone when his pass goes off the hands of Bowe and into a sea of orange jerseys for Russell’s third interception of the game, but this one is not his fault at all. This is where things get...messy.

-Crompton’s pass on the following drive is also tipped by LaRon Landry and intercepted by Beckwith.

-Two plays later, Bowe catches a pass but the ball gets stripped out and Tennessee recovers. Tennessee takes a shot following the turnover, and Crompton finds Meachem between two defenders 54 yards downfield, and he falls an extra nine yards into the endzone. 24-21 Tennessee.

-With under seven to play, Russell takes over. He fires a dart to Doucet on a slant that goes for 12 and is an inch away from hitting Doucet on a go route down the sideline on the next play. Russell picks up the mistake by running and fighting 11 yards past the unofficial superimposed yellow line.

-Holliday gets to show the jets on a 14 yard reverse that would have been much worse had it not been for a last ditch shoestring tackle.

-On 3rd and 4, LSU goes deep into the call sheet with a double reverse that only goes for a yard, setting up a 4th and 3 that gets pushed to 4th and 8 by virtue of a false start. On 4th and 8, Russell squeezes the ball into Early Doucet’s hands 8 yards downfield. LSU goes tempo and hits Doucet again on a bubble screen that goes 11 and then Hester drives it nine yards. In less than a minute of game time LSU goes from the 42 yard line to the 17.

-With under a minute to play, Williams gives LSU goal to go with half a minute left. Russell has to throw it away with 20 seconds left. Russell rolls out to the right and dives for the goal line, but he’s ruled out of bounds at the four yard line. On 3rd down with 14 second left, Bowe hits a wide open Early Doucet in the middle of the paint. Maybe he was throwing to Dwayne Bowe in the back of the endzone, but Doucet was there to catch it anyway. 28-24 LSU.

-Tennessee has five seconds to work with, and after an incompletion Crompton has to run the ball and that gets him two yards as time expires. LSU gets their first win in Neyland since 1988 and marks the beginning of a four game win streak against the Vols that is still active.

-Believe it or not, Russell actually lead the team in rushing with 82 yards. This game is simultaneously the peak of Good JaMarcus and Bad Jamarcus: 82 yards rushing on seven attempts (10.1 average); 24-36 with 247 yards and three touchdowns on three interceptions and only a single stat. The scoreline only takes you so far though. After throwing a lame duck and a tipped pass, JaMarcus went on lockdown and took the game over to the best of his abilities. He didn’t win the game by himself, but he did what it took to put his team in a position to win.

-In a double whammy for Tennessee, this loss secured Florida’s berth in Atlanta and pave the road for the Gators’ national title. Next week they would get hammered in Fayetteville before blowing out Vanderbilt and skirting past Kentucky. In the Outback Bowl they would lose to Joe Paterno’s Penn State.