THE TOP 10: Toughest Losses

In today's installment of Tiger Rag's Top 10, we spotlight the top 10 toughest losses in LSU history. Tomorrow, we feature the worst, most forgettable losses ever.


The most gut-wrenching losses in LSU history


1. 1959 – Tennessee 14, LSU 13

LSU was on top of the college football world … that is until Nov. 7, 1959, when No. 13 Tennessee halted the Tigers' 19-game winning streak with a 14-13 defeat in Knoxville. The loss came just one week after Billy Cannon's historic run versus Ole Miss. LSU thought they had pulled out the win when Cannon apparently scored the game-winning two-point conversion. However, the officials said he was just short.


2. 1969 – Ole Miss 26, LSU 23

Texas won the national championship in 1969 when they beat 8-1-1 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. Had it not been for LSU's 26-23 loss to Ole Miss, the 10-0 Tigers would have been playing for all the marbles. LSU blew a 23-12, fourth quarter lead, losing to Archie Manning and Ole Miss on Nov. 1, 1969. The Tigers got passed over by the Cotton Bowl and did not go bowling.


3. 1970 – Notre Dame 3, LSU 0

While it is regarded as one of the best games in the history of LSU football, the Tigers' 3-0 loss to Notre Dame in South Bend in 1970 was no doubt the most painful for Charles McClendon. It was a defensive struggle throughout, but Tommy Casanova dropped a late interception of Joe Theisman, allowing then-No. 4 Notre Dame to kick the game-winning field goal.


4. 2005 – Tennessee 30, LSU 27 (OT)

No doubt the biggest meltdown in school history, the first game back in Tiger Stadium following Hurricane Katrina turned from celebration to nightmare. A rowdy Death Valley crowd cheered the Tigers to a dominating 21-0 halftime lead over the Volunteers. But second half turnovers and mistakes led to a miraculous rally by Tennessee, and the Vols came to beat LSU 30-27 in overtime.


5. 1997 – Ole Miss 36, LSU 21

LSU had never beaten the No. 1 team in the country. But on Oct. 11, 1997, the Tigers beat top-ranked and defending national champion Florida 28-21. The following week, unheralded Ole Miss came to Tiger Stadium and shocked LSU 36-21 in a loss that marked the beginning of the end for Gerry DiNardo.


6. 1961 – Rice 16, LSU 3

LSU lost only one game in 1961: the season opener versus Rice, 16-3. No one could have known that the Tigers wouldn't lose again. But LSU, in Paul Dietzel's final year as head coach, won 10 straight games, including a 25-7 romp of Colorado in the Orange Bowl. The loss to Rice cost LSU a shot at the national championship.


7. 1937 – Vanderbilt 7, LSU 6

Sure the game happened 70 years ago, but LSU's 7-6 loss to Vanderbilt in 1937 cost Bernie Moore's team a shot at a national championship. The Tigers fell victim to a hidden ball trick that allowed the Commodores to score the winning touchdown. It was LSU's only regular season loss. The Tigers lost to Santa Clara 6-0 in the Sugar Bowl.


8. 2004 – Iowa 30, LSU 25

While it was a painful defeat for the Tigers, it seemed almost fitting that Nick Saban's final game would end with a loss. Saban, who a week earlier announced he was leaving LSU for the Miami Dolphins, watched as Iowa's Drew Tate threw up a prayer on the final play of the 2005 CapitalOne Bowl and found Warren Holloway behind the LSU secondary for a 56-yard touchdown.


9. 1962 – Ole Miss 15, LSU 7

The Tigers lost only one game in 1962, but unlike 1961, it wasn't to Rice. The Tigers tied the Owls 6-6 in the second week of the season. The only loss came on Nov. 3 when Ole Miss edged LSU 15-7 in Baton Rouge. The Tigers finished the season 9-1-1 by defeating Texas 13-0 in the Cotton Bowl.


10. 2006 – Auburn 7, LSU 3

Speaking of games that cost the Bayou Bengals a shot at the national championship, the Tigers' 7-3 loss to Auburn on the Plains hurt LSU dearly. Shrouded in controversy, a late pass-interference flag was picked up by officials, halting the Tigers' drive for the game-winning touchdown. LSU would get another shot at the end zone, but JaMarcus Russell's pass to Craig Davis came up 4 yards short of the end zone.


Honorable Mention:

2002 – Arkansas 21, LSU 20

1996 – Alabama 26, LSU 0

1986 – Ole Miss 21, LSU 19

1982 – Mississippi State 27, LSU 24

1982 – Tulane 31, LSU 28

1982 – Nebraska 21, LSU 20

1988 – Ohio State 36, LSU 33

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