Tennessee vs. LSU: 10 biggest blowouts in rivalry history
Tennessee vs. LSU is one of the SEC’s better, now occasional rivalries.
Both programs have won national championships. Twice, these programs met in the SEC Championship Game. While they used to meet as part of a 2-year home-and-home, the new scheduling rotation keeps them apart longer than we’d like.
Saturday, they’ll face each other for the first time since 2017. They’ll both be ranked at kickoff for the first time since the 2007 SEC title game.
Tennessee is favored by 3, so we’re not expecting a blowout. But, just in case, here are the 10 biggest blowouts in the Tennessee vs. LSU rivalry.
10. Tennessee 32, LSU 14 (1953)
The margin wasn’t indicative of the closeness between these teams overall. The lopsided outcome of this game was the difference between 7th and 8th place in the SEC as the Volunteers would finish 3-2-1 in the league and the Tigers would finish 2-3-3. The win was the 3rd in a mid-season 4-game winning streak for Tennessee under first-year coach Harvey Robinson while LSU was in the middle game of a 3-game losing streak under 6th-year coach Gaynell Tinsley.
9. No. 8 Tennessee 22, LSU 3 (1952)
This time the margin was more consistent with the season-long performance of each team. The Volunteers had just a tie as a blemish on its SEC record. They shut down a Tigers team that would finish 2-5 in the league. Coach Robert Neyland’s final Tennessee team ended the season with a loss to Texas in the Cotton Bowl. This was LSU’s 4th loss in late-season 5-game losing streak.
8. No. 1 Tennessee 20, No. 18 LSU 0 (1939)
The Volunteers improved to 6-0 and were rolling toward an undefeated SEC season and a No. 2 national ranking while the Tigers would win just 1 SEC game. This was the middle of 3 consecutive undefeated SEC seasons for Tennessee, which was unscored upon before USC turned the tables in a 14-0 win in the Rose Bowl. LSU was ranked No. 18 going into this game, but this loss started a 4-game losing streak to end the season.
7. No. 7 Tennessee 20, LSU 0 (1992)
The Vols finished No. 12 in the country. They improved to 5-0 by whipping a Tigers team that finished last in the West (1-7). Interim coach Phillip Fulmer led Tennessee to a 3-0 start before Johnny Majors returned from heart surgery to guide the team to a 5-3 mark, including this win, before Fulmer was named Majors’ permanent successor effective after a Hall of Fame Bowl victory against Boston College. Curley Hallman’s second LSU team finished 2-9, establishing the program’s record-low for winning percentage.
6. No. 21 LSU 30, Tennessee 10 (2017)
A Tigers team that finished 3rd in the West (6-2) and ranked No. 18 took advantage of a Volunteers team that finished 0-8 in the SEC. The game was played during a storm that produced strong wind and rain, contributing to 2 fumbled punts by the Vols that helped the Tigers break open the game. Both programs were in transition as LSU was playing its first season with Ed Orgeron as full-time head coach and Tennessee was playing its first game under interim head coach Brady Hoke after the dismissal of Butch Jones.
5. No. 11 Tennessee 42, LSU 20 (1993)
A Volunteers team that finished 2nd in the East (6-1-1) routed a Tigers team that tied for 2nd to last in the West (3-5). In Fulmer’s first full season, Heath Shuler led a David Cutcliffe-coached offense that merely matched its loft scoring average in this victory.
4. No. 9 LSU 34, Tennessee 9 (1988)
A Tigers team that shared the SEC title with Auburn had an easy time with a Volunteers team that finished with a losing record in the SEC (3-4). LSU was just getting started, traveling to Neyland Stadium after opening the season with a 27-0 home victory against a ranked Texas A&M team. Tennessee’s season already was slipping away as this was the 3rd game in a season-opening 6-game losing streak that was by a 5-game winning streak.
3. No. 20 Tennessee 26, No. 19 LSU 0 (1942)
Finally, a blowout involving 2 ranked teams. Tennessee finished the season ranked No. 7 and defeated Tulsa in the Sugar Bowl. An early sign was its shutout against LSU, which finished 7-3 but unranked. The game was played in Shields-Watkins Field, which would later be renamed Neyland Stadium.
2. No. 7 Tennessee 28, LSU 0 (1940)
These Vols won the SEC, lost to Boston College in the Sugar Bowl and finished ranked No. 4. They had no trouble dominating a visiting LSU team that finished the season 6-4.
1. No. 1 LSU 38, Tennessee 7 (2011)
The Tigers were roaring through an undefeated regular season as the No. 1 team in the country and the Volunteers were mired in the middle of 3 straight losing seasons that comprised the Derek Dooley era. LSU, which completed one of the most dominant regular seasons in college football history before losing to Alabama in the BCS Championship at the Sugar Bowl, improved to 7-0 with each win coming by double figures. This was the largest blowout in series history — and the Tigers delivered it at Neyland Stadium.