Only one left

This is a week of firsts and lasts for the LSU Tigers. Four days after completing the school's first 28-point comeback, the Tigers are preparing for the first ever Magnolia Bowl against Ole Miss. But at the same time many LSU players will be preparing for their final game in Tiger Stadium.

Highlighted among the many seniors that will take their final bow Saturday are several Tigers that will leave LSU as one of the winningest classes in history. The accomplishments range from winning at least 10 games for three consecutive years to taking home the ultimate prize in the form of a BCS National Championship.


Senior kicker Colt David will leave Baton Rouge as LSU’s all-time leading scorer and not many would have called that when he made the team as a walk-on back in 2005.


“It’s kind of sad going into it knowing it’s your last game, but there’s been so many memorable moments since I’ve been here with these guys,” David said. “I’m just so thankful to have such a great group of guys to be able to play with everyday.”


Anyone who follows LSU statistics knows that David has spent his senior campaign chasing records. It seems like every week he has inched closer to the top of kicking and scoring records both at LSU and in the entire SEC. A 51-yard field goal on Oct. 25 against Georgia secured his place above Kevin Faulk as the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer.


If that weren’t enough, Tiger fans will forever remember David’s fake field goal touchdown run in the rain against South Carolina as a high point of LSU’s 2007 national title campaign.


“The fake field goal for the touchdown was definitely the high point and also the 51-yarder that made me the career point leader meant a lot to me,” David said.


Senior defensive end Kirston Pittman is the only player in college football history to play for two BCS championship teams.


Pittman has no records to hang his hat on, except perhaps being the longest-tenured Tiger in recent memory. Two injury-plagued seasons along with the traditional four years of eligibility have kept the East Saint John product in purple and gold for six seasons.


Pittman reminded reporters Tuesday that Saturday’s Senior Day festivities will actually be his second. He participated in the ceremony against Arkansas in 2007, before gaining an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA.


“Going into the SEC championship [last year], I was pretty sure that was my last game,” Pittman said. “I’m definitely going to do a second one, but I’m not too emotional about stuff like that. It’s pretty crazy for me because I thought it was over last year. But this is my final game.”


Pittman called it a “blessing” to watch firsthand as the Tigers fought for and earned two national championships in his career.


“That Georgia game in 2003 has to be one of my most memorable moments since I’ve been here,” he said. “When Shyrone Carey dove into the end zone and Skyler Green did his thing … I’ve had a great time.”


And for anyone who would doubt the big guy’s presence from way back then, Pittman pointed to the tape. Even with SEC and national championship rings, Pittman said his sack of Georgia backup DJ Shockley in that 2003 classic will always be a cherished favorite.


From rehabbing season-ending injuries to leading the Tigers in sacks, Pittman said he never questioned his decisions to stick with it. Six years later, the player who teammates refer to as “Old Man” hopes he’s left his mark.


“It’s always great to be spoken of when you aren’t somewhere anymore, especially when you spent a significant amount of time there,” Pittman said.


Pittman has spent three of those years playing opposite of Tyson Jackson on the edge of LSU's line and the two have fond memories of their battles down in the trenches.


“I’ll always remember how when times got tough around here like with the SEC championship game [2007] when we were down and had to claw our way back to the top,” said Jackson. “Our team came together and fought through for the victory.”


The 2008 campaign has not followed the path that all of the 20 seniors anticipated, but Saturday’s comeback victory over Troy where the Tigers scored 37 unanswered points to overcome a 31-3 deficit will stick with Jackson.


“I’ll remember that game for a long time,” said Jackson. “For our team to pull out that type of win and to come back from that big of a gap is something I’ll remember for a long time.”


Several of these seniors have NFL aspirations so playing their final game in Tiger Stadium means they are about to embark on the next step of their career.


Herman Johnson is a prime example.


“It’s going to mean a lot of things,” Johnson said. “It’s my last game there as an LSU Tiger and it’s something I’ve looked forward to in some ways because you move on to the next phase of your life, but then you know something really special has come to an end.”


Johnson said that he has many memories that he will look back on, but one in particular is something he will always cherish.


“That’s easy. It’s the first time I ran out of the chute and saw all of the fans. It was breathtaking. You’re running out as a team and it’s just awesome,” said Johnson.


As the Tigers prepare to say goodbye to another senior class, these are just a few of the stories that will come sprinting out of the chute, like the seniors, one last time.

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