Scooter Hobbs column: LSU should do this again sometime
Published 8:15 pm Sunday, October 22, 2023
BATON ROUGE — The ending might have needed a little work.
It was a football game that almost seemed scripted as a midseason pressure break, a feel-good moment bordering on macho kumbaya with full military honors. For the grand finale of the LSU-Army game it was agreed upon that afterwards the two teams would first gather in front of the Cadets’ marching band to sing the Army fight song in unison, then regroup at LSU’s end zone to collaborate on the traditional Tigers’ postgame alma mater.
It’s something of a tradition, as you know, for the famed Army-Navy game and the Tigers do it just among themselves after every victory in their games, although they don’t normally invite the opponent in.
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Well, not to spoil the moment, but it looked to me like, when at LSU’s end in front of the Golden Band from Tigerland, the Army players were just humming the words, which was vice versa from when the Tigers had been down at the visitors’ end.
Also, one of the three Army paratroopers delivering various flags to the stadium floor missed his mark by a good 15 yards. But historians will tell you that in the D-Day invasion of World War II, parachutes were scattered haphazardly all over Normandy, and that turned out pretty OK.
So that’s probably nit-picking
Otherwise, LSU could check one off the football bucket list. Tiger Stadium, in its 100th year of football, has now hosted one of the service academies.
It will never be confused with an LSU-Florida game.
The whole night seemed to be about respect for an opponent. Even the LSU student section was on fairly good deportment. They launched a few of their vulgar sing-a-longs, but it was nothing you wouldn’t hear in the barracks.
Anyway, it says here that LSU, which has such a rich military history, ought to try it again. Maybe make it as traditional as possible.
The 62-0 final score was somewhat predictable and, it should be noted, the final 67-yard, tack-on touchdown was somewhat of an accident from way down the depth chart by Trey Holley (who didn’t have any carries before Saturday) while the Tigers were just trying to run out the clock.
No harm done, apparently.
Army coach Jeff Monken didn’t seem ready to sentence any of his troops to KP duty.
“It’s an unbelievable atmosphere (in Tiger Stadium) to be here, to have that experience for them,” he said. “But to get beat 62-0 is hard.
“LSU … I mean they look like an NFL team out there. They are fantastic. Our guys fought as hard as they could, our guys played hard. You don’t want to play a team like that. Golly sakes, they are good. But I’m proud of our guys. They played hard.”
It was fourth time in LSU’s long history the Tigers have scored exactly 62 points and all have been shutouts. The other three 62-0 games were against a rival, Tulane, all in an eight-year span between 1958-1965 when the Green Wave wasn’t really serious about the game.
“The scoreboard is not really a factor,” Army offensive lineman Connor Finucane said afterwards. “It’s more a brand of football we subscribe to and a culture we are brought into.”
That brand is a long way from the handwringing LSU fans get into over recruiting, the transfer portal and keeping the Name, Image and Likeness war chests filled up.
Yet no other 32-point underdog could have filled Tiger Stadium up the way this opponent did Saturday night. No other non-Power Five visitor could have created the buzz in the tailgating lots that having the United States Military Academy visiting the campus would.
The atmosphere sure beat taking a break from the SEC rigors by dipping into the MAC or Conference USA.
So see if any of the other academies would like to give a whirl.
LSU will likely meet tougher competition if they try it again. Air Force is ranked in the Top 25. This Army team was in a rebuilding mode, for this night not only adjusting to a new offense but missing its starting quarterback and forced to promote two freshmen into the spot.
The outcome wasn’t ever going to be in doubt.
What it did to help prepare the Tigers for the annual showdown with Alabama in two weeks, I couldn’t tell you. Probably not much. It did move them four spots to No. 15 in the rankings.
But it’s hard to find fault with anything the Tigers did while scoring on 10 of 11 possessions. The Tigers’ offense got its usual 570 yards of offense, cracking 500 for a school-record seventh straight game even though most of the starters joined quarterback Jayden Daniels on the bench for the entire second half .
For that matter, a few weeks ago it would be impossible to even dream that this LSU defense would shut out anybody.
Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at email@example.com