This article was copied from the Times-Picayune Sports Desk Log.
Notebook: Pregame show recognizes states affected by hurricanes
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
By Ted Lewis

BATON ROUGE - Four LSU athletes representing four states affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita carried their state flags onto the field Monday during pregame ceremonies.

Public address announcer Dan Borne then told the crowd, “For over a century LSU football has brought together every walk of life, from every corner of Louisiana and from across our great Gulf Coast.

“Tonight, in Tiger Stadium, is one of the most significant gatherings of Louisianians in the history of our state. This evening, we reflect on the loss of life and the devastation we have suffered.

“But we also look with pride to our future. For it is through our prayerful determination and our perseverance that we will rebuild and we will prosper again.

“Tonight, this historic stadium is lit in gold and stands as a beacon of promise for our state and for its people.

“Because this evening we vow to move forward under a common flag because this is LSU football. And this is Tiger Stadium. And this is Louisiana!”

The athletes representing the states were Alexis Rather of Mississippi (women’s golf), Matt Guy of Alabama (men’s track), April Burkholder of Texas (gymnastics) and Khalilah Mitchell of Louisiana (women’s basketball).

Missed Opportunity

LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell violated a basic rule of football Monday: When you have the ball in field goal range and are out of time outs at the end of the half, don’t tuck it and run.

The Tigers were at the Tennessee 14 with eight seconds left when Russell, forced to scramble, chose to keep the ball rather than throw it away.

He was tackled at the Tennessee five, short of a first down and far from getting out of bounds, costing LSU an easy field goal attempt.

TV Update

LSU’s Oct. 8 game against Vanderbilt will air on ESPN2 with a 6 p.m. kickoff. CBS exercised its option to televise the Georgia-Tennessee game on that date.

LSU’s game this Saturday against Mississippi State will be shown only on TigerVision with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.

Cox Sports will replay Monday’s game at 7 p.m. Wednesday and noon Thursday.

All Things Considered

Playing on Monday night was the best course of action. At least that was the view on LSU senior associate athletic director Dan Radakovich.

“We could have played on Sunday night, but nobody knew that on Thursday when the decision had to be made,” he said. “So the extra day was the best thing to do.”

The cleanup on campus still going on Monday, but Radakovich said the efforts could have been concentrated around Tiger Stadium on Sunday.

The only alternative to playing Monday was Dec. 3, which would have pushed the SEC Championship game a week later.

But that would have created a conflict with a convention in Atlanta, which actually already had been moved from New Orleans. It also would have forced a week’s delay in determining the BCS bowls.

Did You Notice?

SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who made the call on playing the game on Monday, was in attendance. …Ali Highsmith started ahead of Jason Spadoni at linebacker. …Kicker Colt David had said he was going change numbers after the Arizona State game instead of sharing No. 6 with linebacker Mario Stevenson. However, David was again wearing No. 6 Monday. …Tennessee quarterback Eric Ainge’s first four passes were incomplete. …Russell’s one-yard touchdown sneak in the second quarter was the second TD run of his career. The first came a year and a day earlier against Mississippi State. Chris Jackson’s 42-yard field goal in the third quarter was his sixth straight successful attempt, a personal best. …Skyler Green, the NCAA’s punt return leader, had five returns for a 22.6-yard average. Green averaged only 9.7 yards per return in 2004 after getting 18.5 per in ’03. …For the second straight game, LSU was penalized 11 times. Three of the penalties came during Tennessee’s second touchdown drive, two of which gave the Vols’ first downs.

Extra Points

Monday’s game was marked the latest LSU home opener since Sept. 30, 1961, when the Tigers defeated Texas A&M, 16-7. The latest-ever home opener came in the national championship season of 1958 when LSU defeated Hardin-Simmons, 20-6, on Oct. 4. …This was the first non-Saturday night game at Tigers Stadium since Nov. 22, 1973 when LSU lost to Alabama, 21-7. LSU traditionally plays Arkansas on the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving. …The game was the first between Top Ten teams in Tiger Stadium since No. 10 LSU played No. 7 Georgia in 2003. Prior to that, it was 1987 when No. 4 LSU met No. 7 Ohio State. …After playing next year in Knoxville, LSU and Tennessee will not meet again until 2010.

Ted Lewis can be contacted at or (504) 232-5071.