LSU Football: Tiger Stadium's Best Games of the 2000s

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIIMarch 29, 2012

LSU Football: Tiger Stadium's Best Games of the 2000s

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    The LSU Tigers, also known as the "Cardiac Cats", played one classic game after another in Tiger Stadium during the 2000s.

    From games with Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia and Arkansas, the roar in Tiger Stadium sounded like a jet engine on a runway.

    Saturday night in Tiger Stadium is where legends are born and history is made. Furthermore, it's a sanctuary to every die-hard LSU fan.

    These are the 10 games during the 2000s that made that sanctuary all the more holy.

10. LSU vs. Alabama 2000

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    LSU finally ended their 31-year drought without a victory against Alabama at home in 2000, and it came in exciting fashion.

    One of LSU's greatest receivers of all time, Josh Reed, had an incredible game against the Crimson Tide when he recorded 129 yards receiving and two touchdown receptions. But then again, that was commonplace for Reed.

    The game was tied 14-14 going into the fourth quarter before Alabama's Dustin McClintock put the Tide up by seven after a 1-yard scamper. That's where the game went from good to great.

    Riding Josh Booty's arm and Reed and LaBrandon Toefield's legs, the Tigers battled back. Booty tied the game at 21, hitting Robert Royal in the back of the end zone with less than 10 minutes left in the game.

    Then LSU's momentum took over. They controlled the game from that point on and won by a score of 30-28. The crowd rushed the field and tore down a goal post, and a new era of LSU football was born.

9. LSU vs. Tennessee, 2010

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    LSU's classic encounter with the Tennessee Volunteers in 2010 was chaotic.

    From the first snap of the game all the way to the extra snap at the end of the game, this game was unpredictable.

    When Jordan Jefferson took the first snap of the game, he ran 83 yards, nearly untouched, into the end zone.

    Fast forward to the end of the fourth quarter, and the Tigers are trailing by two points. Jarrett Lee leads the offense down the field into the red zone, and Les Miles decides to change the package with the play clock running out.

    Jefferson was unable to get the snap off, and boos drowned the stadium. It looked to be one of the darkest moments in LSU history. That was until the yellow flag in the end zone became visible.

    Through all of the chaos and switching of players, Tennessee was suckered into having 13 players on the field. Given a second opportunity, LSU gave the ball to Stevan Ridley who rushed into the end zone to give the Tigers a 16-14 victory as time expired.

    The last sequence of events was insanity at its best.

8. LSU vs. Arkansas, 2001

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    Despite LSU's 41-17 victory against the Arkansas Razorbacks last season, LSU and Arkansas games rarely disappoint.

    Their encounter in 2001 was a game to remember, if you love offense. When this game finished, LSU had 518 total yards, and Arkansas had 412.

    LaBrandon Toefield carried the Tigers, rushing for 173 rushing yards and three touchdowns, which was the best game of his career.

    As for the game, both clubs scored often and traded blows the entire game. LSU would create some separation in the fourth quarter, but Arkansas came storming back to cut the lead to 41-38 with 2:27 left.

    A Tiger victory surfaced when one of my favorite quarterbacks in LSU history, Rohan Davey, came through in the clutch and delivered a strike to Reed with 1:17 left on the clock to officially ice the game.

7. LSU vs. Alabama, 2008

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    The return of Nick Saban in Death Valley was a memorable one.

    Though it was a classic encounter, it was a game that Jarrett Lee will want to forget forever. Lee threw four interceptions against Alabama in 2008, and his last interception came in overtime.

    But before the game went to overtime, the stadium erupted when Leigh Tiffin's game-winning field goal attempt was blocked with three seconds left in the fourth quarter.

    The Tigers would lose in overtime though, when Lee's pass was intercepted and Wilson ran a quarterback sneak into the end zone for the 27-21 victory.

6. LSU vs. Auburn, 2005

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    Auburn field goal kicker John Vaughn lined up to send the 2005 LSU/Auburn classic into a second overtime.

    Fans were screaming, chanting and beating on metal seats to make as much noise to rattle the already less-than-confident Vaughn.

    The kick went up and nailed the upright. LSU won in dramatic fashion yet again. Vaughn missed five field goals in that ball game, and even as an LSU fan, you had to feel sorry for the guy.

    LSU defeated Auburn that night 20-17, and as if Auburn fans hadn't suffered enough heartache, their hearts would be ripped out of their chests when they came back to Death Valley in 2007.

5. LSU vs. Tennessee, 2000

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    Looking back, has there ever been a better connection in LSU history than Rohan Davey and Josh Reed?

    Davey and Reed tore up SEC defenses in 2000 and 2001, and in the Tigers game against the 11th ranked Tennessee Volunteers, they did much of the same.

    Reed had 146 yards receiving with three touchdowns, while Davey passed for over 300 yards and four touchdowns.

    The Tigers went into overtime after John Corbello's field goal was blocked, and that's where Davey put the stamp on the Vols. With the first possession of overtime, Davey dropped back to pass and found Robert Royal in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.

    The Tigers defense would hold on a 4th-and-3, and LSU would upset the No. 11 team in the nation 38-31.

4. LSU vs. Arkansas, 2007

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    The Battle for the Boot in 2007 was nothing short of a shootout.

    After scoring a total of 13 points in the first half, both teams started to heat up in the second half. Both would get into a back-and-forth scoring fest that would force three overtimes.

    Darren McFadden and Houston Nutt's wildcat offense absolutely brutalized LSU's defense. LSU, the No. 1 team in the nation, started to see their title hopes dim when faced with a fourth-and-goal on Arkansas' two-yard line with a minute left to play and down by seven.

    Matt Flynn took the snap from shotgun and ran the ball into the end zone, but little did the Tigers know that Arkansas called timeout before the snap. This was drama at it's finest.

    Flynn and the Tigers would attempt the fourth down play again and Flynn would hit Byrd. The Tigers would hit the extra point, and into overtime they went.

    Both teams would exchange scores in overtime until the Tigers were a two-point conversion away from tying the game in triple overtime. Flynn dropped back to pass and threw an interception to end the game.

    The story ends happily for Tiger fans though, because a month or so later, Flynn would be holding a crystal ball with Glenn Dorsey.

3. LSU vs. Georgia, 2003

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    In 2003, LSU and the Georgia Bulldogs waged war in a defensive struggle that would prove to be a heart-pounding game for both sides.

    Down 10-3 with under five minutes left in the game, Georgia quarterback David Greene found Tyson Browning for a 93-yard touchdown play that would tie the game.

    Tied 10-10, Devery Henderson took the ensuing kickoff to midfield and set the Tigers up for another dramatic conclusion.

    With less than two minutes to play, Matt Mauck rolled out of the pocket and was drilled as he threw a spot on pass to a wide open Skyler Green in the end zone. The stadium erupted, but the game wasn't over yet.

    Corey Webster took it from there, as he made an acrobatic interception along the sideline and sealed the victory for the Tigers.

2. LSU vs. Auburn, 2007

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    Don't look Auburn fans, this won't be pretty.

    Auburn went from the ultimate high to the ultimate low when they played LSU in 2007. Brandon Cox hit Rod Smith with 3:21 left in the game and after the extra point, Auburn was up by one with a little over three minutes left in the game.

    This is where Les Miles' "Mad Hatter" persona grew to unparalleled heights. Instead of playing for the field goal, Matt Flynn dropped back to pass and hit Demetrius Byrd for a 23-yard strike with one second left on the clock. LSU would win the classic 29-24.

    In other words, if he would have dropped the pass, LSU would have lost. To every LSU fan, it is now known as "The Catch".

1. LSU vs. Florida, 2007

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    I had the privilege of seeing this game live, and I know that I will never see an atmosphere or possibly ever see a better game than LSU vs. Florida in 2007.

    As much as I love mixed martial arts and have been to a couple of electrifying UFC pay-per views, no sporting event compares to this game.

    I mean, the entire stadium chanted "f*** you Tebow", a crowd eruption following the announcement that USC had lost and five fourth down conversions for crying out loud.

    Down 24-14 in the fourth quarter, the Tigers defense held strong and forced an interception by Tim Tebow with 12 minutes left. The comeback was on.

    On a fourth-and-goal play, Flynn hit Demetrius Byrd in the end zone to bring the score to 24-21. The Tigers then rode Jacob Hester the rest of the way, and he pounded his way into the end zone on a three-yard run with one minute left in the game.

    Not only was this the greatest game of the 2000s in Death Valley, but I'm willing to say that this is the greatest game in the history of Tiger Stadium.