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Trojan History: Remembering LSU’s Epic Comeback versus Troy in 2008

Where were you the last time Troy came to Tiger Stadium?

If you say “in the stadium” you’re probably lying.

LSU and Troy University may have a relatively short history in terms of a football series, but it more than makes up for it in dramatics. In 2004, the then-defending national champions needed a 30-yard touchdown pass with 2:18 left in the game to come out on top, 24-20. The Trojans took a 20-17 lead deep into the fourth quarter before Marcus Randall connected with David Jones.

Fans were frustrated, but they had no idea what would come four years later.

In 2008, the Tigers were once again the defending national champion, and welcomed the Trojans in mid-November. Fresh off a brutal overtime loss to No. 1 Alabama, the Tigers showed up completely flat and spotted the visitors a 31-3 lead, before roaring back for a 40-31 victory.

Truth to be known, there were probably as many fans left in Death Valley as points in the deficit LSU was able to overcome. Between brutally cold weather and the general frustration of what would become a five-loss regular season (redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee threw his record seventh pick-six of the season to give the Trojans a 24-3 lead in the second quarter), fans bailed on this one in droves.

Yes, worse than anything I have ever seen, before or since.

What did ATVS write at the time? From Poseur in the aftermath:

I said last week I haven’t enjoyed this year that much. And it’s true. And I was going to take this week off, hanging out with some old friends who couldn’t care less about LSU. Then that score popped up on the screen: Troy 31, LSU 3. I scrambled to find a computer, loaded up LSU Sports Net, and listened to the fourth quarter. And it was awesome. That was an enormously exciting game, especially when you don’t suffer through the whole falling behind part. Rude? Yes, but this is LSU’s season on the brink.

Note: this game was on Tigervision, so if you didn’t have pay-per-view or access to the radio, you were SOL.

By the end of the game, it was like we had won the national title again. OK, we never should have been that far down to Troy, but I just enjoyed the hell out of that comeback. It showed heart. The team had their backs against the wall and the season looked like it was about to spiral out of control, and instead the team rallied and launched a huge comeback. You can question the talent or the play-calling, but don’t question this team’s heart. This was gut check time and the team came through.

Games like this are why we are fans. LSU turned what looked to be the most depressing loss since UAB into a pretty magical night. In five years, you’ll be able to meet 100,000 people who were at the game and were one of the few who didn’t leave early. I was proud to be an LSU fan because the team showed grit. They didn’t throw in the towel. They didn’t let themselves be embarrassed.

I was proud of this team.

Anyways, it’s not any sort of anniversary, but given that the Trojans will be back this Saturday, it seems like a good time to remember it all.

The 2008 season isn’t remembered all that fondly by anybody, but for myself, it was my first season in a relationship with my now-wife. And for this game, her mom was able to snag us tickets in one of the Tiger Den Suites on the East Side. I distinctly remember striking up a very good friendship with a bottle of Jack Daniels, and enjoying the climate control — because this was by far the coldest night I’ve ever experienced on campus. The temperature dropped into the 40s and a harsh windchill had to put things into the 30s. It may have felt colder because nobody was properly dressed for it.

Still, from the frustration of the first half through the sheer comedy (I was the only one laughing) of the second half, the suite life was certainly worth it.

I asked our man Zach Rau to provide his thoughts on the matter, but well...that’s going to be its own post.

Current Cincinnati Bengals NFL Nation reporter for ESPN, Kat Terrell, had her own story:

There was already a weird feeling on campus for that game after that OT loss to Alabama. I think everyone was just kind of over the season already. Kickoff temperature said 50 degrees for that game, but it had to be so much colder than that. I was a freshman, and woefully underprepared for that weather in a a dress and boots. I remember the stands cleared out pretty quickly -- people just weren't going to watch that debacle in the cold. The student section was pretty empty by the time my friends told me they wanted to leave, which I reluctantly did. I think that was around halftime. We went to someone's apartment, and because the game wasn't on TV, I just refreshed the live updates on my phone until the game was over. It was so cold that my feet had gone completely numb. When I got back to my dorm that night and took off my boots, my socks were covered in blood. I guess my shoes had rubbed my feet raw. Never felt a thing. That game was true misery.

So how about some other memories?

And on the other side...

So let’s hear your story in the comments.