LSU football: Top 10 moments of the decade
It was a good decade for LSU.
Real good at the beginning. Perfect at the end. Up and down in between.
There were a couple of great teams, no bad teams. Big bowl and Playoff games. Significant coaching hires. And departures.
A lot of really good Tigers went on to NFL careers.
All in all, it was good and finished at its highest point.
Here are LSU’s top 10 moments of the last decade:
10. The 2010 Cotton Bowl
After winning the BCS championship after the 2007 season, LSU slipped to records of 8-5 and 9-4 the next 2 seasons and entered the new decade in a bit of a slump.
But in 2010 the Tigers bounced back and completed an 11-2 season with an impressive 41-24 victory over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, showing off the young talent that would carry the resurgence into the next season.
9. The arrival and impact of Leonard Fournette
Fournette was the No. 1 recruit in the country and was from New Orleans. LSU couldn’t afford to let him get away – especially not to Alabama, which went hard after him.
The Tigers landed the running back in one of the most significant signings in LSU history. Fournette battled injury for much of his 3 seasons, but he still was one of the most productive runners in school history.
When he was healthy as a sophomore he broke numerous school records, rushing for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 6.5 yards per carry, having 10 100-yard games and 4 200-yard games.
His career showed that LSU was still a showcase spot for Louisiana running backs. It still is.
8. Devin White wins the Butkus Award
LSU has had a lot of great defensive players. It has had a lot of great linebackers.
Devin White played linebacker and was one of the best football players in Tigers history.
He led the SEC in tackles by a wide margin. He became the 1st LSU player to win the Butkus Award.
7. The 2018 Fiesta Bowl
It wasn’t for a national championship, but it was a big deal nonetheless.
LSU hadn’t contended for a national championship for several years. It had made a coaching change and was rebuilding.
In 2018, it played in a New Year’s 6 bowl for the 1st time, facing a UCF program that had won 25 games in a row.
UCF and those outside the Power 5 conferences were championing the Golden Knights as a worthy CFP participant. LSU wasn’t in the Playoff, but it was carrying the mantle of the Power 5 – its most significant role on a national stage in years.
The Tigers fell behind 14-3 and quarterback Joe Burrow took a cheap shot on a pick-6 runback. Burrow shook it off and played the best game of his 1st season as LSU prevailed 40-32.
UCF’s streak was over, the Power 5’s reputation was in tact and LSU was clearly on the rise.
6. The 2011 regular season
It was one for the ages.
LSU rolled through the regular season 12-0. It rose to No. 1. Its biggest challenge came in a road game against No. 2 Alabama in a “Game of the Century.” The Tigers won a heavyweight battle, 9-6, in overtime.
They won the SEC Championship and had 7 wins over ranked teams before falling short in a rematch with Alabama for the BCS Championship.
5. Joe Burrow transfers
A relatively unknown backup quarterback at Ohio State named Joe Burrow went looking for a place to play as a graduate transfer after receiving his degree after the spring semester in 2018.
He looked at the opportunity to stay close to home and play at Cincinnati. But he was intrigued by LSU and playing in the SEC.
LSU was intrigued by him as its multi-player battle to be the starting quarterback hadn’t yielded a clear-cut leader.
Burrow liked LSU. LSU liked Burrow. The rest is history.
4. Joe Brady is hired
Just as Burrow was a relatively anonymous quarterback when he left Ohio State, so too was Joe Brady a relatively anonymous NFL assistant when Ed Orgeron hired him from the New Orleans Saints to be his passing game coordinator for the 2019 season.
Brady implemented many of the concepts that have made Saints head coach Sean Payton one of the most successful NFL coaches since 2006 and transformed the LSU offense into a historically successful one.
3. Burrow wins Heisman
Brady and Burrow were a perfect match.
Burrow grasped Brady’s offense, which astutely maximized the myriad pass-catching options the Tigers had.
After having the most prolific passing season in college football history, Burrow won the Heisman Trophy by a record margin, joining Billy Cannon (1959) as the only LSU players to win the coveted trophy. He finished with an FBS record 60 TD passes and 5,671 yards, which is tied for 3rd.
2. Ed Orgeron is hired
LSU promoted Ed Orgeron from assistant coach to interim head coach because it felt it had to fire Les Miles after a 2-2 start in the 2016 season.
It named him full-time head coach after the season partly because no other leading target wanted the job.
The Tigers didn’t realize what they were getting, but getting him was a historically good move.
1. The 2019 season
Countless national, SEC and school records were broken. Another Heisman was won. It was a championship season. The climax happened in the Tigers’ backyard in New Orleans.
Not only was the 2019 season the top moment of the decade – it was seen in most quarters as the top moment in LSU football history.