Victories Came Easy To The Winningest Senior Class In LSU History

The LSU senior class owns 56 victories and two BCS titles

Jan. 8, 2008

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Some guys know how to win.

Make that 56 victories and two BCS titles for the LSU senior class, counting back to the 2003 season when players like quarterback Matt Flynn and defensive end Kirston Pittman joined the Tigers.

It's probably no coincidence that a team with veteran leadership from Jacob Hester and Early Doucet, who both scored touchdowns, didn't crack after falling into an early 10-0 hole in Monday's 38-24 victory over Ohio State in the BCS national championship game.

Coach Les Miles certainly wasn't surprised. He's coached these seniors to 34 victories during his three seasons at LSU. He needed only one word to describe what he learned about his team in the latest triumph.

"Nothing!"

LSU had fought its way out of tough spots all season.

There was a comeback victory over Florida involving a winning drive that included two fourth-and-short conversions by Hester, then finished with Hester's punishing TD run on third-and-goal.

There was Flynn's 22-yard pass to Demetrius Byrd that lifted the Tigers over Auburn with only one second remaining.

LSU was down 27-17 at Alabama late in the third quarter before outscoring the Tide 24-7 the rest of the way in yet another comeback victory; and LSU trailed Tennessee 14-13 in the fourth quarter of the Southeastern Conference title game before cornerback Jonathan Zenon (another senior) returned an interception for the winning touchdown.

Compared to those nail-biters, they made this one look easy.

"This team is full of grown men, guys who've been there before, guys who never quit," Flynn said. "We just knew we had to keep going. We had a lot of time. We just had to keep moving along just like we've done all year."

Against the Buckeyes, Flynn won offensive MVP honors by throwing for 174 yards and four touchdowns, the third to Doucet, who made one tackler miss and shook off two others to get in from 4 yards.

 

 

Hester finished with 86 yards and powered his way in for a second-effort touchdown from a yard out in the second quarter.

That score capped a drive that started when senior cornerback Chevis Jackson intercepted Todd Boeckman's pass and returned it 34 yards to the Buckeyes 24. The key play from there was Flynn finding tight end Richard Dickson for a 15-yard gain to the 1.

Then there's Pittman, who played in the Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma that helped LSU finish its 2003 season with a first BCS title.

Now LSU is the only team to win the BCS's Waterford Crystal football twice.

"We knew we had the opportunity to come out here and make history," Pittman said. "We're the first team to win two BCS championships. We're the winningest (senior) class in LSU history.

"We've faced adversity all year. We knew who we are. We know our identity. We are a team of fight. We are a team of destiny, and you can't detour destiny."

Pittman's sack of Boeckman forced Ohio State, then down 31-17, but driving and trying to stay in the game, into a fourth-and-7 at the LSU 34.

Enter senior linebacker Ali Highsmith, who charged into the backfield on the next play as Boeckman rolled out and pounded the Buckeyes quarterback, jarring the ball loose for a fumble that LSU recovered in Ohio State territory.

Remember defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, the sure-shot first-round NFL draft choice last spring who instead opted for a senior season in Baton Rouge?

Double-teammed all night, he still had five tackles, highlighted by fourth-quarter sack that helped thwart another Ohio State drive.

Many told Dorsey that passing up NFL wealth was unwise, then piled on after he sprained his right knee in midseason. When LSU lost its last regular season game to Arkansas, it looked like Dorsey wouldn't get the national title shot he coveted, either.

However, LSU regrouped to win the SEC title game, while teams ahead of the Tigers stumbled.

"Our senior class," Miles began, "is just a number of men who just understand how to commit to a team, fight like hell and not let obstacles stand in the way."

During the buildup to the championship game, Miles made a point to mention how proud he was of his seniors. He said this game was as much about them and the winning tradition they've instilled at LSU as anything else.

They were already the winningest senior class in LSU history before the BCS championship kicked off.

By the time it was over, everyone knew why.

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