Never say die

When senior fullback Quinn Johnson rumbled in for a touchdown with just short of two minutes remaining in Saturday night's homecoming affair, the bad ride had officially ended.

Johnson had extended the Tigers lead to 40-31, marking a 37-point second half comeback run en route to the Tigers Homecoming win over Troy.

 

"I honestly couldn't tell you what happened and how we got down so bad," Johnson said. "But at halftime we just decided that we were going to come together as a team and do what we can do, and play like we're capable of playing. We went out and gave it our best and got the outcome."

 

Senior defensive end Tyson Jackson echoed Johnson's sentiments.

 

"That shows that our team doesn't quit and that's who we are," Jackson said. "If you look at the three games we lost this season you could see effort from the first quarter to the fourth quarter and guys giving 100 percent all of the time trying to make plays out there."

 

Yet the second half, like much of the game up to that point, did not open the way that the Tigers had hoped.

 

The Trojans took the opening drive down the field and in for a DuJuan Harris touchdown.

 

The Tigers, down 31-3, looked to be all but finished with.

 

"It was a shock, almost like a nightmare where you didn't believe it," Johnson said. "We just had to come to the realization that it was true and do what we could to come back."

 

To come back, history would need to be made.

 

LSU's biggest comeback at home had been 20 points, when the Tigers rallied from a 34-14 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Houston 35-34 in 1996. Its largest overall comeback had been from 21 points down at Ole Miss in 1977.

 

Now, the Tigers faced a Sun Belt team that had them on the ropes late in the third quarter.

 

Junior offensive lineman Ciron Black said that he knew the intensity needed to be matched in order to make the comeback a reality.

 

"This is LSU football," Black said. "So many people have played before you that that's reason enough alone to put the jersey on every single week and to go play your hardest."

 

Starting at left tackle in place of Andrew Whitworth, who held the position during his time with the Tigers, Black points to the continued contact with former players, like Whitworth, as a driving force when the team gets behind in a game like Saturday's.

 

"That's one reason I play and it's for the past players that have played here and especially since this was Homecoming," Black said. "I really wanted us to play our hardest and that was one reason I was so upset that we were down because people don't realize that it's our Homecoming and people who played 20 years ago came to see us play.

 

"That's what really made me upset about the game," added Black. "Even though we won it was a real bittersweet victory. We won so I'm happy about that but we could have played so much better."

 

With the greatest comeback in LSU football history under their belts, the Tigers understand that this week can not afford to be another slow start out of the gates.

 

"They're going to come with their best game," Black said of Ole Miss. "They beat Florida and they have all the momentum on their side. I'm sure they've watched film and saw what happened to us and they think they're going to come in here and put 50 points on us.

 

"We still have stuff to play for this season," Black added. "And we have to go through Ole Miss to do it. That's reason enough to go out and play your hardest. If you can't do that then you shouldn't be on the field."


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