LSU’s hammering at the hands of Mississippi State wasn’t just an embarrassment. For Tigers fans, losing in that fashion feels like a return to the bad old days. Saturday’s 37-7 loss tied for the eighth-heaviest conference loss for the Tigers since the SEC began divisional play in 1992.
Worse still, most of those defeats came during LSU’s years of struggle in the 1990s, when first Curley Hallman and then Gerry DiNardo coached the team.
The Tigers were just one more score away from their worst loss of the last 20 seasons. Not exactly the way Ed Orgeron wanted to begin his first full season as LSU’s head coach.
This list isn’t for the squeamish, but here it is: a compilation of the only LSU losses in the SEC’s divisional era that were more one-sided than the Stomping at Starkville.
Nov. 16, 2002: Alabama 31, LSU 0
What happened: Wait… Nick Saban actually lost a game 31-0? Yes, and he did it against a Dennis Franchione-coached Tide team in a contest of top-15 programs. The Tigers were outgained 477 to 196, lost a couple of fumbles, and never even penetrated the Alabama red zone. Meanwhile, they allowed Alabama’s Shaud Williams and Santonio Beard to both run for more than 100 yards.
It’s a safe bet that Saban wasn’t in a jolly mood after this one.
Oct. 31, 1992: Ole Miss 32, LSU 0
What happened: In a two-win year of misery that included a home loss to Colorado State, this debacle (played at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, not the Rebels’ usual home in Oxford) was one of the lowest of the low points.
LSU turned the ball over three times, allowed a safety when a long snap sailed through the end zone, and managed just 195 yards of offense. Quarterbacks Jamie Howard and Ryan Huffman, two of four used by the Tigers in 1992, were spectacularly ineffective – 11 of 38 for 110 yards and two interceptions.
Oct. 7, 2000: Florida 41, LSU 9
What happened: Interceptions, four of them. Too many of the deliveries from quarterbacks Josh Booty and Rohan Davey didn’t find their destinations, and Florida made them pay. The chief agents of punishment were Florida quarterback Rex Grossman and receiver Jabar Gaffney, who combined on three touchdown passes.
Six games into the Saban era in Baton Rouge and with a record of 3-3 (including a homecoming loss to UAB), fans had reason to doubt the program’s direction under their new coach. Spoiler alert: It got better.
Sept. 18, 1999: Auburn 41, LSU 7
What happened: Turnovers, six of them. LSU had three turnovers apiece from quarterbacks Josh Booty and Rohan Davey, and Auburn made them pay. (Yes, this is just about the same blueprint as the previous paragraph.)
It started going bad in the first quarter when Auburn executed a fake field goal that kicker Damon Duval ran into the end zone from the 1-yard line. LSU also failed to defend the deep pass, allowing Auburn’s Ben Leard to launch 36-yard and 84-yard touchdowns in the first half to Ronney Daniels, and gained only 26 yards on the ground. That did absolutely nothing to boost the job security of DiNardo, who was gone by season’s end.
Oct. 4, 2014: Auburn 41, LSU 7
What happened: We’ve seen this score before. Turnovers weren’t a problem for the Tigers in this game (they didn’t lose the ball at all), but run defense was. Auburn’s Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 126 yards and quarterback Nick Marshall added 119. LSU quarterbacks Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings couldn’t move the ball, combining to go 8 for 24 for 142 yards.
The biggest problem for LSU was situational football: They went 0 for 13 on third down conversions. The result was the team’s most one-sided loss under Les Miles.
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