In his first game against Nebraska, he lost 8 yards on 8 carries. The rest of his freshman season followed the same path, until he finally broke out of his slump in the final game of the season against Tulane.
In that game, Alexander rushed for 2 touchdowns, calling his performance a "high point" of his career. From then on, Alexander would help lead the Tigers to 2 bowl games, rushing for 330 yards in those two games.
His impressive showing against the rival Green Wave helped jump start Alexander's collegiate career. In 1977, he and Heisman trophy winner Billy Cannon were featured on cover the first Tiger Rag. Just as impressive, he was induction into the LSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.
During his time at LSU, Alexander set nine SEC records and 27 LSU records. He still holds the record for most rushes in a game at 43, most yards in a season at 1686, and most yards per game in a season at 153.3.
When looking back on his years at LSU, three things stick out most in Alexander's mind: Tiger Stadium, his coach, and his teammates.
For Alexander, the memories of playing in Death Valley have stayed fresh in his mind through the years.
"It's probably one of the greatest places I've ever played in. There is just a great atmosphere that the fans create at LSU," Alexander said.
During his professional career in the NFL, players from across the nation would ask Alexander what was so special about a Saturday night in Death Valley. He could only give one answer.
"It's the loudest place in America," he said. "The noise makes it so intimidating for any opponent to play in."
The fans were not the only people at LSU that had an impact on Alexander. He said the guidance and coaching he received from McClendon led him both on and off the field.
"Any success I have had in life, I owe to Charles McClendon," Alexander said. "He installed discipline in all his players."
McClendon's teaching was not all focused on the sport. His relationship with his players helped Alexander even after his collegiate career was finished.
"He was concerned with life after LSU, life after football," Alexander said. "He wanted all of us to make impact to society. It was more than X's and O's. It was all about the real world."
McClendon's teaching helped Alexander to lead a successful life after LSU. Following his graduation, Alexander was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1979 with the 12th overall pick. He played in the NFL for 7 years, making it to Super Bowl XVI in 1982.
After retiring from football, Alexander went back to LSU where he worked for ten years as a University Administrator.
"I guess I had such a good time at school that I had to come back," he said.
Alexander helped with fundraisers for the Tiger Athletic Foundation for six years before becoming an Academic Advisor for the rest of tenure at LSU.
Even without football, Alexander stays busy. Currently, Alexander works in the electric motor industry at GHX Company in Houston. His company has been supplying motors and generators around Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to help the rebuilding process after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the devastated states.
No matter what he involves himself in, Alexander holds one principle to be a constant.
"You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with," he said.
While at LSU, Alexander had teammates such as Robert Dugas, who was inducted into the LSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, to help push him. The bond Alexander had with his former teammates still exists and he continues to stay in touch with them as much as possible.
He also surrounds himself with intelligent women. One of his daughters is finishing her degree at Grambling University and his other daughter attends Harvard Law School.
Although his LSU career ended nearly twenty five years ago, Alexander still closely follows the Tiger football team. He planned on coming to Baton Rouge to catch some games this season, but still roots for his team when he is unable to attend.
"If LSU football is on TV," he said, "then I'm sitting in front of it watching."
Where are they now?
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