Wild football weekend ends with surprises

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

For Miss-Lou, football fans, this weekend was pure pleasure. That is, if you don’t count the monstrosity in the Louisiana Superdome, that eventually translated into a come-from-behind New Orleans Saints squeaker over a horrible Carolina Panther opponent.

But ahh, those other Saints …

On Saturday, you not only received this area’s first prep football crown in 12 years, with Trinity Episcopal’s 14-7 state title win over Wayne Academy, but the multitude of LSU Tiger fans reading this were finally rewarded after years of frustration with a pummeling of rival Auburn to make it to the SEC championship for the first time, since the league went to its current format in 1992.

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And on the same day, David King’s Saints were much more exciting than those watched from the Superdome press box Sunday. But, still and all, if you’re scoring at home, that’s two huge Saints wins and a Tiger triumph.

Unbelievable. Fans in this state have grown to love Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville, especially some of those in Oxford. So even though it was LSU dishing out the punishment, Rebel fans had to chuckle a little to see Tub’ getting the screws put to him Saturday night.

And the ironic thing was, the “Riverboat gambler” got a taste of his own medicine as LSU coach Nick Saban called for a successful onside kick to start the game.

“It’s the type of thing they like to do,” Josh Reed said. “They are always doing fakes and trick plays and we beat them at their own game.”

Now, if the Tigers can just beat the Tennessee Volunteers at their own game, as they very nearly did in Knoxville earlier in the season, they’ll be home for the holidays, with a berth in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. At this point, a loss Saturday will send them to Dallas for a New Year’s Day tilt in the Cotton Bowl.

Many prognosticators tab LSU’s sweet opponent as either Nebraska or Illinois, depending on who you talk to.

The Saints, have to just worry about one team right now too, and that’s the Atlanta Falcons next week. That’s the only way this up and down bunch can continue to string together wins for a playoff berth at 6-5.

“We just have to have tunnel vision and keep winning games every week,” said Saints running back Ricky Williams, whose 42-yard catch and run late in the game, set up the winning touchdown pass from quarterback Aaron Brooks to Joe Horn.

Trinity’s victory marked the end of football season on an intensely local scale, so now all I can say, is coaches, get your All-Metro nominations as soon as you can because I plan to run that team this weekend.

Oh yeah, and Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss either wrapped or are about to wrap up lackluster seasons. My guess is that even at 7-4, a bad Ole Miss team that struggled mightily with lowly Vanderbilt Saturday, will be left at home and out of the bowl picture, or at best, make it to Shreveport, in which case it makes one wish they still were at home.

As for the Golden Eagles, well, inconsistency is eating them up as well. They only have one out-clause left this season.

Beat TCU at The Rock this Friday night and you head to that furniture store bowl in the Astrodome.

And the way this team is playing right now, I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

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