But moments earlier, the mood of
the sold-out Jordan-Hare Stadium was much, much different. Only seconds earlier,
The back judge immediately dropped
his penalty flag signaling for defensive pass interference, which gave LSU first
and 10 at the
"I got sick to my stomach," said
But Tuberville's pain quickly subsided when, after a brief conference, the officials reversed the call saying Brock tipped the pass before the interference occurred.
Miles and the LSU sideline erupted in anger.
"The explanation was not forthcoming," Miles said. "I am waiting, and the officials say he tipped the ball. I know the rule: If the ball is tipped at the line of scrimmage, there is no pass interference. The ball was tipped downfield. The proper explanation will be forthcoming."
At any rate, Tuberville and
"That was a judgment call and thank goodness it went our way," Tuberville said. "They still had to get the ball in the end zone."
At the time, Tuberville had to be thinking that would be all but impossible.
Kody Bliss, who had already nailed punts of 62 and 61 yards in the game, drilled a 51-yarder, pinning LSU back at its own 20. Russell and the offense took the field with 1:11 left in the game and immediately went to work.
Russell connected with Craig Davis
on back-to-back passes covering 20 and 21 yards. On first and 10 from the
Russell rolled left and found
"I was surprised they didn't throw it into the end zone a couple of times," Tuberville said. "We had a lot of young guys out there, and what goes through your mind is not making plays out there and just giving it up."
Miles said he would have liked to have had Russell throw the ball to the end zone, but he didn't criticize his quarterback's decision under the circumstances and the pressure that was coming.
"We would have liked to have thrown the ball in the end zone and make a play," Miles said. "We would have liked to have extended the route. But our quarterback played extremely well all day. He just needed to put a little air under the ball at the end of the game."
"I ran the wheel route,"
"I knew he (Brock) was closing on me. I was hoping I could catch the ball and spin out of it."
But that wasn't the case as Brock
"We have a disappointed group of men," Miles said. "The loss will be difficult to handle. The guys played their hearts out."
One thing is for certain: LSU is no doubt one of the top teams in the nation. Being able to go on the road and play the No. 3 team in the nation to a standstill on their home field says a great deal about the quality of Miles' team.
No one likes moral victories or the
use of a cliché to soften the blow of a painful loss, but LSU will be better
because of what happened Saturday at
It was clear a controversial call may have cost them the game. The coaches and players know they were in position to win the game, but the opportunity may have been taken out of their hands at the time.
But time moves on, and there are
other games to be played. LSU returns to action with two more-than-winnable
games versus Tulane and
Judging from the way this team played on the Plains Saturday, there is no doubt this team is not likely to lose again in 2006.
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.