SUGAR BOWL BOUND! LSU vs. Notre Dame

For the third time in six years, LSU is BCS Bowl bound as the fourth-ranked Tigers will face 11th-ranked Notre Dame in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 3.

Sunday's announcement capped a 24-hour stretch that saw the Tigers go from being what appeared to be a sure Rose Bowl opposite Michigan to ending up just 70 miles down the Interstate-10 in New Orleans against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

 

The BCS Bowl picture began to change on Saturday afternoon when Southern Cal dropped a 13-9 decision to UCLA, thus taking the Trojans out the national championship contest and putting them in the Rose Bowl. Florida then stamped its ticket for the BCS title game, jumping past No. 2 Michigan, following its 38-28 victory over Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game.

 

That victory sent Michigan to the Rose Bowl to face Southern Cal and sent LSU to the Sugar Bowl to play Notre Dame.

 

"We are very excited to be heading to the Sugar Bowl and to play in a BCS Bowl," LSU coach Les Miles said. "Our team is looking forward to this game. You want to celebrate a great season with a quality opponent in a bowl game and Notre Dame offers just that. Anyway you cut it Notre Dame is a great team. They only lost two games, which were to two highly ranked teams and they have great tradition. They have great history and it should be a tremendous match up."

 

LSU will be making its 13th trip to the Sugar Bowl, three of those appearances coming this decade. The Tigers beat Illinois, 47-34, in the 2002 Sugar Bowl and then followed that with a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the 2004 Sugar Bowl to claim the 2003 BCS National Championship.

 

LSU is 5-7 all-time in Sugar Bowl contests.

 

Both LSU and Notre Dame bring identical 10-2 records into the contest and both the Tigers and Irish had their only losses of the season come to teams ranked in the top 10. LSU dropped road games to Auburn and Florida, while Notre Dame lost to Michigan at home and to Southern Cal on the road.

 

The Sugar Bowl matchup will be LSU's first against the Irish since a 39-36 loss in South Bend in 1998. LSU is 4-5 all-time against Notre Dame, which includes a 1-0 mark in bowl games. LSU beat Notre Dame, 27-9, in the 1997 Independence Bowl in Shreveport.

 

Miles said he is not disappointed about missing out on coaching in the Rose Bowl. He did say that the commitment LSU fans made to buying Rose Bowl tickets was remarkable.

 

"Not at all," Miles said when asked about being disappointed about not playing in the Rose Bowl. "You have to understand; when you have 42,000 pre-sale tickets from our fans into a venue like the Rose Bowl it increases the prestige of this program. Everybody understands that our fans always travel well and any bowl game that gets us will have a great number of LSU fans and I was so proud in seeing the 42,000 fans willing to go to the Rose Bowl. I just felt like ‘Wow,' that shows how powerful this fan base can be."

 

LSU has already sold out of its allotment of Sugar Bowl tickets, going through the 17,500 it is allotted to the contest before going on sale to the general public.

 

"It's going to be a great event and we are excited about having the opportunity of bringing LSU football to the wonderful city of New Orleans and to the Louisiana Superdome," Miles said. "The idea that we have already sold our allotment of tickets for the Sugar Bowl tells me that our fans are excited about playing there. It is going to be a great venue and certainly there are a number of family members and friends that could have not made that west coast trip. They are going to be able to go down to New Orleans and enjoy this game - I promise."

 

 

LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES QUOTES

 

On how the team reacted to its BCS selection...

"I believe our players are looking forward to this game. You want to celebrate a great season with a quality opponent and Notre Dame is just that. Anyway you cut it Notre Dame is a great team. They only lost two games, which were to two highly ranked teams and they have great tradition. They have great history and it should be a tremendous match up."

 

On the national championship selections...

"I personally feel the BCS made the right decision with the national championship game.  The SEC champion should be playing for the national championship. I hope in years to come we will be in a similar situation. I think this is a step forward from what we had in the past where there was an undefeated Auburn team that didn't get to play in the national championship. I feel this is a step in the right direction."

 

On if there is disappointment with not going to the Rose Bowl...

"Not at all. You have to understand, when you have 42 thousand in pre sale tickets from our fans into a venue like the Rose Bowl it increases the prestige of this program. Everybody understands that our fans always travel well and any bowl game that gets us will have a great number of LSU fans and I was so proud in seeing the 42 thousand fans willing to go to the Rose Bowl. I just felt like ‘Wow,' that shows how powerful this fan base can be."


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