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LSU set for first back-to-back games in same bowl since Paul Dietzel’s tenure

LSU is back in the Citrus Bowl once again
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The same bowl in back-to-back years for LSU? If it feels like that hasn’t happened for a really long time, there’s a good reason why.

When LSU plays in its second consecutive Citrus Bowl on January 1, it will be the first time the Tigers have played in the same bowl in back-to-back seasons since reaching the Sugar Bowl after both the 1958 and 1959 seasons.

Sort of.

The Tigers also played in New Orleans after the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but only the former game was officially the Sugar Bowl. The latter meeting was actually the BCS Championship Game against Ohio State, when LSU beat the Buckeyes 38-24 to wrap up a memorable national title under Les Miles.

So for the last truly identical back-to-back bowl games for LSU, fans have to dive nearly 60 years into the history books, and another pair of New Orleans visits – including another game that brought a national championship.

Here’s a look back at the most recent back-to-back bowl pair.

January 1, 1959
Sugar Bowl: LSU 7, Clemson 0
What happened: Paul Dietzel’s Tigers had stormed through the regular season unbeaten, and only one team (Duke) had scored more than seven points against LSU’s three-platoon scheme. But they needed to beat Clemson to finish it all off, in front of a Tulane Stadium crowd of 80,331 and a national television audience on NBC. Both sets of Tigers struggled to move the ball, but LSU finally broke through. A botched Clemson punt snap in the third quarter set up LSU in prime field position, and Billy Cannon connected with right end Mickey Mangham from nine yards. LSU didn’t score again and didn’t need to. Clemson drove into LSU territory in the fourth quarter but could go no farther, and the Tigers won their first Sugar Bowl after four prior defeats.

January 1, 1960
Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss 21, LSU 0
What happened: No national title repeat this time. A 14-13 loss to Tennessee, the Tigers’ only blemish of the regular season, had dented LSU’s hopes, but championship chances would have remained alive had they beaten the Rebels. LSU had won the teams’ prior meeting 7-3, setting up a weird bowl matchup that was not only a rematch but also a conference rematch. Billy Cannon, now the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, led the LSU backfield, but made absolutely no headway against an Ole Miss defense that held the Tigers to minus-15 rushing yards and 74 yards of total offense. Ole Miss, meanwhile, struck through the air with one touchdown pass from Jake Gibbs and two from Bobby Franklin. The Rebels went on to claim a split national championship along with Minnesota.

LSU kicks off against Notre Dame at Camping World Stadium on January 1 in Orlando. In last season’s Citrus Bowl, the Tigers defeated Louisville and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson 29-9.

RELATED: Previewing all nine bowl bowl games involving SEC teams.

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