VIRTUAL TIGERS: LSU - 2003 vs. 2007

Jacob Hester or Justin Vincent? Matt Mauck or Matt Flynn? Marcus Spears or Kirston Pittman? Glenn Dorsey or Chad Lavalais? Jack Hunt or Craig Steltz?

Have you gotten where this is going yet?

They are the questions that are ultimately unanswerable. Who is better? Which team would be victorious? In short, if LSU's 2003 National Championship team was pitted against the 2007 edition of the Tigers, who would reign supreme?

Obviously, answering the question is as impossible as trying to come up with a definitive response as to what would have happened if the 2003 Tigers would have been allowed to play the USC Trojans (if you're not asking someone wearing purple and gold, that is).

Anyway, we put the numbers into the computer, and here is what it spit out.

LSU (2007) 17, LSU (2003) 7

VIRTUAL NEW ORLEANS (pre-Katrina Superdome) – As many probably expected, defense ruled the day as the 2007 Virtual Tigers eventually pulled away from their 2003 Tigers counterparts, 17-7.

With a combined total of five turnovers in the first half, the respective LSU teams' offenses struggled to open a lead. In fact, neither team would gain an advantage until a scant two seconds were left in the first half. Colt David capped an eight-play, 50-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal to put the 2007 Virtual Tigers ahead, 3-0.

The drive began when Ali Highsmith forced the ball out of Justin Vincent's hands and Kirston Pittman recovered with 1:24 to go in the second quarter. It was just one of the battles for field position the eventual winners took in the first half.

"What happens to everybody else has nothing to do with us, aight?" a disheveled Virtual 2003 LSU head coach Nick Saban said. "I'm not blaming anybody, because that's not my nature, but we certainly didn't have the energy and enthusiasm we've had up to this point. We just didn't look like the same team out there, and I can't give you any reason exactly why, relative to how we have played before."

In a first half of mostly utter futility from an offensive standpoint, 2007 LSU got a break early when Jonathan Zenon intercepted a Matt Mauck pass to put them at the 2003 LSU 19-yard line. Two plays later, however, Matt Flynn was intercepted by Adrian Mayes. Zenon struck again two plays later with his second pick of the day, but a penalty for excessive celebration moved the ball back to the '07 Tigers 37-yard line.

Unable to move the ball from there after picking up one first down, the younger Tigers called upon Patrick Fisher to punt. Fisher's boot was covered up at the 1-yard line of the '03 Tigers, and a three-and-out followed.

Despite starting on the right side of the 50 again, the '07 Tigers were bitten by the turnover bug when Flynn was intercepted by Corey Webster.

For the night, Flynn was 14-of-24 passing for 189 yards with one touchdown but marred his performance with three interceptions. Jacob Hester's nine carries for 37 yards and a touchdown led the ground attack, while Early Doucet's six catches for 92 yards paced the receiving corps. Tight end Richard Dickson added two catches for 55 yards and a score.

"Proud of the resolve of my damn-strong football team today," Virtual 2007 LSU head coach Les Miles said. "Group of men that played well. Hung in there when they needed to and showed an awful lot of guts."

For Virtual 2003 LSU, Mauck ended the day hitting on 12 of 26 passes for 149 yards with three interceptions. Vincent was held to a mere 7 yards on 10 carries and caught two passes for 9 yards. The '03 Tigers leading receiver was Devery Henderson with three catches for 66 yards.

Carrying over the small offensive success it had at the end of the first half into the second half, the '07 Tigers began the third quarter with the ball and a six-play, 59-yard drive that ended in a 2-yard dive for a touchdown by Hester. Following another Mauck interception, this time he was picked off by Darry Beckwith, the '07 Tigers wasted an opportunity when Lionel Tuner separated Hester from the ball. Cameron Vaughn recovered, giving '03 LSU another chance, but a turnover on downs was the result.

LSU 2003 finally got on the board when Skyler Green returned a punt 81 yards for a score with 4:31 to go in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to three. The older Tigers were even afforded the opportunity to tie the game or take the lead when Turner intercepted a Flynn pass to give his team the ball at their own 37-yard line. Another turnover on downs was the result, though, when a pass on fourth-and-10 hit Vincent in the back of the legs.

Not leaving anything to chance, the '07 Tigers took just four plays to cover 63 yards for a touchdown when Flynn hit Dickson on a crossing route across the middle for 3 yards that he turned into a 36-yard touchdown pass. The '03 Tigers countered with another turnover on downs, and two knees followed.

"I will not be the next head coach at Alabama or LSU," was all Saban cared to add.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories