LSU proves their worth with big win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Thoughts whizzing about, while sitting in my living room, amazed that the Miss-Lou could be exposed to such an exciting football weekend for the second time in as many weeks.

Who would have imagined heading into the Auburn game just nine days ago, that the LSU Tigers would singlehandedly create such a mess of the BCS, as they now have, by putting away both the Auburn Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers, on back-to-back weekends.

And, I was skeptical throughout this entire, crazy, unrealistic, this-doesn’t-happen-to-LSU run.

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But I’m not anymore.

Saturday night while the Tigers, and their legion of fans were in a surreal realm of excitement inside the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, I was back at the office at my desk working alongside managing editor Sam Hall.

You see, when it came, I’d seen this scenario before, so I thought that’s what was happening again. When Tennessee quickly grabbed a 17-7 lead and then LSU lost LaBrandon Toefield and Rohan Davey to injuries, I made a call that would prove, fortunately for Tiger fans, to be the wrong one.

“It’s over,” I told Hall. “You can put Tennessee winning at the top of your front page and send that sucker on outta here.”

“Well no, let’s wait a little and see,” he replied. “This isn’t done just yet.”

Sure enough, it wasn’t. But, I’ll bet even some of those rabid throng inside that dome were probably thinking the same thing right about then.

Enter the calvary in the form of a backup running back from Breaux Bridge, La., and a never-used guy, whose previous occupations included Chicago Cubs minor league ball-player.

Some of the more casual Tiger fans had to scratch their heads at first and say, “Who in the heck is Matt Mauck?”

And it wasn’t long before Mauck made a mauckery of the bowl infrastructure, which is now something that may never really be sorted out fairly.

You know he had to feel it upon entering the game, with the team’s two biggest guns dismantled on the sideline. And yet, the 22-year-old freshman seldom seen in action, did what every 22-year-old freshman yearns to do. In the biggest game in his school’s history, he comes off the bench with his team’s fate and a Sugar Bowl bid in the balance and leads them to victory.

Sounds like just a little bit too much fiction, doesn’t it? Again, that’s what I thought, too.

You see, stuff like that just seems like old sports lore you hear your dad or grandfather weave tales about. Guys my age never think they are actually going to experience something like that.

So every time Mauck was the engineer of a big play, Hall would look at me from across the rom and give me the obligatory, “You see? I told you so. That guy’s gonna bring them back.”

He got me. I was wrong.

Bring them back is exactly what he, Domanick Davis and All-American receiver Josh Reed did.

And in doing so, pretty much shook up the college football world and sent the multitude of Tiger fans, young and old and those who adopted them this week, (See Nebraska, Colorado and Oregon) through a whirlwind of Saturday night partying.

Richard Dark is a sportswriter for The Natchez Democrat. &160;