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?
What are your memories of LSU's last game with Troy in 2008 - might be worth compiling here.— Billy Gomila (@ATVS_ChefBilly) September 27, 2017
Top 5 most fun game ever. Angels in the Outfield thing was funny to me. Looked like we turned the NCAA difficulty from Heisman to Fr at half— Hunt Palmer (@HuntPalmer88) September 27, 2017
1. it was COLD AS EFF. I was huddling over a cup of coffee in the press box to stay warm.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 27, 2017
2. I think Quinn Johnson score the go-ahead?
Skipped it. Listened in on Troy radio. Even w/ big lead they knew game wasn't over. Hurry up offense could work against them, and it did— lsufootball.net (@lsufootball_net) September 27, 2017
Friend of mine wore flip flops and fashioned shoes out of the towels they passed out in the student section to fight the cold. pic.twitter.com/uHxWW4RXdj— Matt DeVille (@Matt_DeVille) September 27, 2017
I was 11 years old. Cold, wet, and miserable. I left crying at the beginning of the 4th. Made a vow never to leave early ever again.— Jack Allen (@jmallen14) September 27, 2017
Freezing and pacing like a lunatic. Also, my aunt showing up in essentially an Old Navy fleece and leaving the game after 10 minutes.— Gerard in Denver (@gerard504) September 27, 2017
My best friend and her now husband got engaged night before. I was screaming a lot. And it was so cold I had to buy a new sweatshirt.— Brittany Nicole (@CajunBrittinAtx) September 27, 2017
Cold. They ran out of hot chocolate. No traffic after the game, though. Made it home in just over an hour.— The Name Is Nuwanda (@RouxgarouLSU) September 27, 2017
My fiancé left at halftime because our friend got sick from the cold. My sister (a freshman) stayed and we did the Angels thing.— Michael D. (@MikeDatTiger) September 27, 2017
That sibling bonding when the tide turned and the fact that only the diehard fans stayed made it my favorite LSU game memory.— Michael D. (@MikeDatTiger) September 27, 2017
My friend and I left. I'm not ashamed to admit that. Watched the rest of the game at Pluckers. That was the night Pluckers gained god status— Paul Algu (@PaulAlgu12) September 27, 2017
It was freezing and I thought my father in law might freeze to death. He watched the 4th Q from the concession stands— Ernie Ballard (@eballa1) September 28, 2017
Was asked to leave the stadium club for explosive expletives. Listened to the comeback on the radio . Went to urgent care for 2 IVs next day— Gray Pou (@GrayPou) September 27, 2017
Every time LSU scored, my buddies and I did stadiums up and down the entirely empty upper half of the student section. https://t.co/RubOyL3ZYD— Matthew Albright (@TNJ_malbright) September 27, 2017
Went with my dad. Told him if Lee threw a pick, I was walking out of the stadium. On our way out, a fan yelled “what did you expect?”— Tahlor Balkom (@taybalkom) September 27, 2017
And on the other side...
Troy grad here. It was horrible. Like blowing a 28-3 second half Super Bowl lead, but if the football game on the field actually had a soul.— Michael in DFW (@MDWDFW) September 27, 2017
So let’s hear your story in the comments.