LSU-Ole Miss: From the First Down to the Last Play

LSU-Ole Miss: From the First Down to the Last Play

Why staying for the whole game can decide this game.
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It is no secret that Death Valley is one of the most feared college venues in the entire country, but why is that exactly? If you’re visiting the campus on game day for the first time, some things might stick out to you. It may be the widespread drunkenness that originates from the parade grounds and goes all the way to Mike’s habitat. It may be the fact that you’ve found yourself at some random tailgate where some guy  who can barely speak English has a bunch of pig intestines filled with dirty rice and a whole gator on the grill. Maybe it’s the two words “Tiger Bait” that will constantly remind you that your school is far inferior. 

While these and many other things come together to create one of the best college football experiences in America, there is one factor that is of far more importance. This key ingredient is the 102,321 fans that assist the Tigers in bearing down the intense hatred towards the opposing team. Tiger fans not only show LSU’s dominance by generating over 120 decibels of sound, but also by showing loyalty to the game and their team. 

It's not breaking news that fans tend to leave the stadium early especially when we are either up or down by two touchdowns. This was obvious during the Mississippi State game three weeks ago, where the Tigers were down 17-3 at halftime. Watching Mississippi state score 17 points while LSU only answered with a field goal in the first half was rough to say the least. I, like the majority of the student section, pondered about leaving and returning to my cooler to finish off of what remained from tailgate. 

The thought was ignored and I got the privilege of watching the Tigers score 26 points in the second half against the now number one team in the country. 19 of these points were scored in the fourth quarter, with Death Valley not even close to being filled. With the stadium being filled could LSU of pulled off another touchdown? I’ll let you decide.             

On October 25th, Tiger Stadium will be the battleground for the 102nd Magnolia Bowl. Ole Miss and LSU’s rivalry dates back to 1894, and the Magnolia Bowl Trophy was safe at home in Baton Rouge from 2009-2012.  The 2013 matchup between the two schools was decided by an Ole Miss field goal with 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. 

Personally I made the long journey to Oxford that weekend only to be devastated by the close loss and. With this game being in BR, I’m feeling revenge. These are some keys reasons why Tiger fans should stay through all four quarters, regardless of the score:   

1. LSU has proven that is can handle the pressure in the second half. The Tigers have scored 21 points in the second half in three games. Against Florida, LSU scored 16 points in the second half and against Mississippi State, the team scored 26 points. LSU outscored Mississippi State 26-17 in the second half, with 19 of those points being from the fourth quarter. Let that sink in for a minute. The final 15 minutes of that game showed that LSU exposed the newly-minted No. 1 team's defense and can make the appropriate game plan changes for future games.

2. Of the last 12 games between Ole Miss and LSU, 6 games were determined by a field goal. All of these games came down to final minutes of the game and if that would be the case for this game, having the support of the entire stadium could be the factor that gives us the win. 

3. LSU has outscored its opponents in the second half by 126-44. Let me say this again: 126-44! Against Wisconsin the tigers were down 17-7 at the half and the very beginning of the third quarter didn’t show much improvement. Yet LSU came back in the fourth quarter to put up an exciting 15 points. Moral of the story: be patient. I know it can be hard with the conservative play calling and late adjustments by Les Miles, but it will pay off. Miles is 60-8 in Death Valley, so it's clear he has some sort of plan going on.

4. Miles has only had 1 season since 2005 in which he lost more than 1 game in Death Valley. The season in which Miles lost 3 home games was 2008 - the first time the Tigers were unranked under him. That year, LSU lost to No. 11 Florida and No. 9 UGA and were 6-2 going into the home game against top-ranked Alabama. The Tide won in overtime 27-21, but this shows that even the unranked Tigers at the time played at the same level as the best in the country. 

5. RB Leonard Fournette has stepped up his game. Against Florida, the true freshman broke his season highs with 27 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The only game he came close to duplicating these statistics was against New Mexico State. With Fournette’s running game looking good, its hard not to understand Mile’s conservative play calling.   

6. You’ll have to drink more before you go into the stadium. Yeah I’m aware that this isn’t really a “key reason” you have to stay for the whole game, but it’s advice that might help with that hang over that sheepishly hits you at halftime. The oh-so important goodie box you call a cooler, unfortunately cannot come into the game with you and it’s that reason alone you might be considering leaving the game. Find an alterative solution to this problem. Even Nick Saban himself said, “I don’t know if you’ve even been LSU, but you can smell the bourbon on the 50-yard line.” 

Cover Image Credit: @FanBuzzCFB

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Arizona: Graveyard For The Legion Of Boom​

What is it about Glendale?

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There was a time when playing in Arizona was a welcome thing. It was a place for the Seahawks to flex their muscles and exert their dominance over the Cardinals, the little brother of the division. A place where an almost home field-like atmosphere could be created due to relative proximity to Seattle. How appealing it is to fly only two-or-so hours from Seattle down south to the nice weather of Arizona. I would know because my family and I did that in 2014 for a 35-6 victory over the Cardinals.

Now playing in Arizona has become a graveyard for Seattle, where slowly but surely the greatest era in Seahawks history has eroded piece by piece in the Valley of the Sun. I am convinced the field is littered with landmines at this point.

The beginning of the end happened when the Seahawks infamously lost Super Bowl XLIX on the goal line when Patriots cornerback intercepted Russell Wilson. Seattle was denied a second championship, and from there the walls started to crumble away.

In 2016 the Seahawks embarrassingly tied the Cardinals in an ugly 6-6 game of field goals. Not only was this the first tie in franchise history, but it also had lasting impacts for the rest of the season. As a result of the tie, Seattle finished 10-5-1, instead of 11-5. Had they managed to secure that 11th victory, they would have edged out the Atlanta Falcons for the second seed and a first-round bye. Instead, they dropped to the 3rd seed and had to travel to Atlanta in the playoffs... where they were shellacked 36-20.

Had the Seahawks earned the first round bye, Atlanta would have traveled to Seattle where they had lost earlier that season. The 2016 Seahawks were a good team, and that season was likely their last legitimate shot at a Super Bowl appearance for the time being.

The following year, the Seahawks lost two critical members of the Legion of Boom. Richard Sherman ruptured his Achilles tendon, and Kam Chancellor injured his neck. It was the last game the two Seattle icons set foot on a field as Seahawks, as Sherman was later released in the offseason and Chancellor was forced into retirement.

And now, the misfortune continues even in 2018. The Seahawks may have defeated the win-less Cardinals 20-17, but it came at a great cost. Earl Thomas became the latest casualty when he broke his leg defending a routine pass. Given the contract disputes, it will likely be the last time Thomas suits up as a Seahawk as well.

Arizona is both a graveyard and a monument to "what could have been" for the Seahawks. When asked about what it is about this venue that produces such unfortunate outcomes for Seattle, wide receiver Doug Baldwin said it best:

"I don't know, man. It's sad as f***"

Couldn't agree more, Doug.

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