LSU Tiger Stadium: Death Valley

LSU Tiger Stadium lights up the field on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, at Louisiana State University.

Much to the surprise of many, the LSU vs Auburn match-up is scheduled for a late kickoff. Their games are usually put into the 2:30 p.m. kickoff slot. 

This is the first time the two teams will face off under the lights in Death Valley in eight years. In a year where LSU has faced uncertainty on the talent levels of the team, this could be a huge boost in momentum. The Auburn Tigers haven’t won in Baton Rouge since 1999, where the then 24th ranked Auburn beat LSU 41-7.  

To keep that from happening again, LSU will surely be calling on the students and fans to pack the stands and bring their A-game. Coach Ed Orgeron has thanked the student section for showing up and being loud in both the McNeese and Central Michigan post-game press conferences, but the rest of the stands have yet to be full this season. 

LSU will enter this game with a record of 78-8 in night games in Death Valley, so the importance of a loud crowd cannot be understated.

I spoke with former LSU Tiger, national champion, Marlon Favorite and he had this to say on playing at night in Tiger Stadium: “Night time in Tiger Stadium was very energetic. We fed off of the fans. There was definitely a connection with the fans in Tiger Stadium. It definitely made us go up a level.”

 Aside from normal games in Death Valley, LSU and Auburn have a history of putting on crazy match-ups.

Of course, arguably the most popular, there is the 1988 match-up in Tiger Stadium. There were around 80,000 in attendance and as LSU scored their first touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game, to go up by one, everyone in the stadium erupted and caused an earthquake.

The last time LSU lost to Auburn at home, in 1999, was followed by a celebration of the Auburn coaching staff and players coming out onto the field and smoking cigars. Pure disrespect.

The next time they came into Tiger Stadium, they stomped on the eye at midfield. During the Golden Band’s halftime performance, Auburn’s special teams went onto the field and started warming up. That ended in the team’s kicker getting into an altercation with some band members. LSU went on to win 27-14 and Auburn hasn’t won in Baton Rouge since.

LSU fans have celebrated the fact that they have Cade York, an also automatic field goal kicker, but we shouldn’t take him for granted. The 2005 match-up ended in overtime as Auburn’s kicker missed a field goal in overtime to give LSU the win. It was his fifth straight miss in the game, including one that would’ve won them the game as time expired.

The first crazy game I remember myself, was the 2007 game that ended in the last seconds. With the clock rolling down to one second, quarterback Matt Flynn found Demetrius Byrd in the corner of the end-zone to put LSU ahead to win the game.

I spoke with then freshman offensive lineman Will Blackwell about that game, and other LSU home games:  “Well to be honest we got spoiled. Class of 2007 our first ever night game in Death Valley was a top 10 [match-up] against Virginia Tech and our second big one was the classic ‘07 UF game. So as you can imagine we had become junkies by the time it came to play Auburn. Personally, I got to be at the ‘05 night game when the auburn kicker 'doinked' one off the upright as time expired. So, I had felt how big Auburn vs LSU could be.”

Lastly I'll bring up, certainly not the last crazy match-up between the two, who could forget Cole Tracy hitting a 42-yard field goal as time expired in 2018 to lead LSU to victory. One of the best endings to a game I’ve seen in recent memory, and has launched Cole Tracy into being a local hero.

Needless to say, you won’t want to miss what could be the next entry in a line of historic match-ups between these two schools. Go put on your purple and gold, and get your tickets for Saturday night’s game now.

Load comments