A Look Back at 2004-05: Whether good or bad, it is all history

Tiger Rag looks back at the Top 10 Games to Forget during the 2004-05 LSU athletic season.


1. Georgia 45, LSU 16 – Oct. 2, 2004


ATHENS, Ga. – While LSU's national championship honeymoon ended two weeks earlier with a 10-9 loss at Auburn, the Tigers came crashing back to Earth after being dealt the worst blow of the Nick Saban era. The Georgia Bulldogs had had this date circled for over a year. LSU nipped the Bulldogs 17-10 in Baton Rouge then embarrassed Mark Richt's club 34-13 in the SEC title game en route to a national title. Georgia wanted revenge and that is just what it got. David Greene set a school record throwing five touchdown passes as Georgia routed the Tigers 45-16. LSU was doomed from the start as the Bulldogs built a 24-0 lead on three, first-half touchdown passes. The Tigers cut the lead to two touchdowns, trailing 24-10 at the half, but never got closer. On the strength of a pair of second half Greene TD strikes, UGA led 45-10 before LSU tacked on a late score. But adding insult to injury, Chris Jackson missed the extra point.



2. UAB 82, LSU 68 – March 17, 2005


BOISE, Idaho – For those who predicted LSU as a darkhorse for the Sweet 16, your bracket busted in the first round. After a magnificent run through the second half of the season, a period in which the Tigers won 14 of their final 18 games, LSU's season came to an unceremonious end as underdog Alabama-Birmingham stifled John Brady's team 82-68 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. After a brief lead in the games opening minutes, LSU succumbed to UAB's suffocating full court pressure. The Blazers held a 12-point, 41-29, lead at halftime. The deficit grew to 26 points in the early stages of the second half as LSU never really challenged again. The Tigers managed to get the game to single digits with less than two minutes to play, but UAB eventually won by 14. Despite an SEC West title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, Brady's early exit from the postseason again left LSU fans stewing in frustration.



3. Baylor 68, LSU 57 – April 3, 2005


INDIANAPOLIS – Favored most of the season to win the national title, Pokey Chatman's Lady Tigers watched their championship hopes slip away as Baylor stormed past LSU in the national semifinals at the NCAA Final Four. The Lady Tigers, who defeated Baylor in the regular season 71-70, jumped out to a 24-9 lead midway through the first half. However, Kim Mulkey-Robertson's Lady Bears outscored LSU 19-4 before halftime and carried the momentum into the locker room with the score tied at 28. In the second half, the Lady Bears controlled the flow of the game. However, LSU didn't go quietly. The Lady Tigers led by as many as six points – 47-41 – with 9:58 to go and looked to be in control. But Baylor's Sophia Young and Abiola Warbara proved too much for Chatman's team. LSU clung to a 51-50 lead with 6:54 to play, but the Lady Bears outscored LSU 18-6 the rest of way advancing to the national title game. Baylor went on to defeat Michigan State for the NCAA crown. Although falling just short of the program's first championship, the Lady Tigers finished with their best-ever record of 33-3.



4. Iowa 30, LSU 25 – Jan. 1, 2005


ORLANDO – LSU qualified for its fourth straight bowl game earning a CapitalOne Bowl bid to face Iowa of the Big 10. In what should have been a joyous occasion for Tigers fans, a rather bittersweet cloud hung over the program. The man responsible for those four major bowl games as well as the program's first national title in 45 years just a year prior – Nick Saban – entered this game a lame duck. Just a week earlier, Saban gave LSU fans the Christmas gift they had dreaded for five years as he announced on Dec. 25 his intentions to leave LSU for the NFL's Miami Dolphins. In what was supposed to be a grand sendoff for Saban turned into one of the more infamous moments in the program's history. The Tigers played well defensively most of the day, but struggled to get things going offensively. In the third quarter, LSU found itself on the wrong end of a 24-12 deficit. Saban had already pulled starting quarterback Marcus Randall and gave seldom-used reserve Matt Flynn a shot. Finally, he called on JaMarcus Russell to save the day. And he did – almost. Russell tossed a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes to Skyler and gave LSU what appeared to be a 25-24 victory with just seconds remaining. But as the Tigers celebrated, Iowa quarterback Drew Tate completed an improbable 56-yard touchdown pass to Warren Holloway on the game's final play to spoil Saban's swansong and send Tiger fans back to Baton Rouge in disgust.



5. Southern 9, LSU 5 – May 3, 2005


While there were many low points of the 2005 LSU baseball season, none may have been lower than the Tigers 9-5 loss to the Southern Jaguars. For only the second time in the history of the series, LSU dropped a decision to its cross-town counterpart. The all-time series slants heavily in the Tigers' favor with LSU leading 2-39, but for not even one of Southern's better teams in recent years to come into Alex Box Stadium and win, it was a major upset. Ranked No. 8 in the nation, LSU fell behind early as the Jaguars scored single runs in the first, second and fourth innings. The Tigers finally logged runs in the fourth and fifth but fell behind 5-2 when Southern plated a pair in the seventh. It looked as if LSU would rally for the win answering with two of their own in the home half of the seventh. But Roger Cador's Jags got three more runs in the eighth and another in the ninth registering the upset. "They (Southern) were at the top of their game, both offensively and defensively," said LSU coach Smoke Laval. "It's one of those things. We have had our share of good fortune and had enough hits (13)."



6. Auburn 10, LSU 9 – Sept. 18, 2004


AUBURN, Ala. – It was a crossroads of sorts for both LSU and Auburn. LSU was ending a lengthy winning streak, in which the Tigers won a national title. Auburn was settling in for a long run through the regular season en route to an SEC title. On the good fortune of a critical fourth down conversion and the benefit of a generous call by the officials on a missed extra point, Auburn upset No. 4 LSU 10-9 on the Plains. The Bayou Bengals struck first, scoring on the initial drive of the contest. Marcus Randall hit Dwayne Bowe in the end zone for a 6-0 lead. But Ryan Gaudet pushed the extra point wide right. Auburn's only points on the first half came on a 29-yard field goal by John Vaughn, which LSU answered with a 42-yard boot by Chris Jackson. Fans enjoyed a defensive struggle throughout and it looked as if LSU had the game in the bag, that is until Jason Campbell converted a 4th and 16 to Courtney Taylor, then tossed the game-tying touchdown to Taylor two plays later. With the score tied 9-9, Vaughn's PAT hooked left setting off a celebration on the visiting Tigers sideline. But a late flag gave Vaughn another shot and he just hooked the kick inside the left upright. LSU's Ronnie Prude had been flagged for leaping over the line of scrimmage and landing on an Auburn player on the first kick. At any rate, the Tigers worked the ball inside Auburn territory in the game's closing moments, but JaMarcus Russell's pass was intercepted ending the game and halting the Tigers winning streak at 10 games.



7. Kentucky 89, LSU 58 – Jan. 22, 2005


LEXINGTON, Kent. – At one point, LSU led the Kentucky Wildcats 5-0. But it was all downhill form there. The Wildcats hit 11 of 20 three-points, including a 5-of-7 showing by Patrick Sparks from beyond the arch, defeating LSU 89-58 at Rupp Arena. The loss was the second-worst of the John Brady era at LSU just ahead of a 102-70 defeat at Florida in 2002. LSU shot 33-percnt from the floor and committed 18 turnovers. Kentucky fed on every Tiger miscue as the Wildcats led by as many as 33 points down the stretch.



8. Centenary 6, LSU 1 – March 2, 2005


SHERVEPORT, La. – Arguably the biggest win in Centenary baseball history, the Gents defeated No. 2 LSU at Fairgrounds Field. Centenary hadn't beaten LSU in baseball since 1956, but junkballer J.C. Biagi tossed a complete game, two-hitter as the Tigers lost 6-1 on a chilly night in Shreveport. LSU had won 22 straight meetings with the Gents covering 48 years. It was the Tigers' lowest offensive output since being two-hit at Arkansas in 1997. Centenary scored a run in the first and took a 4-0 lead with a three-run spot in the second. The Gents scored two runs in the fifth and led 6-0 before LSU got on the board with a solo run in the seventh.



9. LSU 24, Troy 20 – Oct. 23, 2004


The Troy Trojans had been one of college football's Cinderella stories in the early portion of the season. Owning wins over Marshall and No. 17 Missouri, the Trojans had made some noise and were more than a rent-a-win when they came into Tiger Stadium in late October. The LSU defense handled Troy's offensive attack limiting the Trojans to a mere 150 yards of total offense. However, four turnovers (including three Marcus Randall interceptions) gave Troy the leverage they needed. The Trojans had an upset in the bag, that is until Randall hit David Jones on 30-yard touchdown pass with 1:33 left to play for a 24-20 win. It was the second straight game in which the Tigers scored 24 points, having done so at Florida in the previous game. The following week, LSU put up 24 points against Vanderbilt as well.



10. Houston 81, LSU 72 -  Dec. 21, 2004


HOUSTON – Undoubtedly the bleakest point of the LSU basketball season, the Tigers dropped an 81-72 decision to lowly Houston on the road at Hofheinz Pavilion. It was the second-straight loss to the Cougars, who were defeated by 40 points a week later versus eventual No. 1 seed Washington. LSU managed to shoot 46-percnt from the floor and Brandon Bass scored 22 points and Antonio Hudson added 20, but LSU got little else as no other played even flirted with double figures.

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