In the long, storied history of the LSU Tigers football program, there have been many ups and downs, including big bowl wins. With a total record of 22-19-1 in 42 total bowl games played, the Tigers have won just three national championships, most recently under the head coaching of current boss Les Miles in a 38-24 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2008.
In fact some of the Tigers biggest bowl victories may not have come in the National Championship game, but are of equal or greater importance in that given time in the program.
January 1, 1944 marked the fourth bowl game the LSU Tigers had ever participated in, but it was their first bowl victory of many to come throughout the rest of the schools history.
The Tigers met Texas A&M and walked away with a 19-14 victory. Texas A&M entered the game as big favorites, but it was Steve Van Buren who led the Tigers to victory scoring two touchdowns in the affair. This was the first game that really cemented LSU as a program to be proud of and to be a contender.
The 1997 Independence Bowl came in a season where the Tigers having already been defeated by Notre Dame entered the game as underdogs yet again. They came out to play in this one though.
After suffering a 24-6 shellacking at the hands of the Irish November 15, 1997, the Tigers emerged in the second half of this game led by Rondell Mealey who ran for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the affair cementing a victory for the Tigers over the Fighting Irish.
The 1996 Peach Bowl was hyped up to be an offensive showdown battle between the Tigers of Clemson and LSU. Much to the disappointment of the 62,000+ fans in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, it was not as big an offensive affair as they had hoped, but nonetheless it was a fantastic game.
LSU quickly fell behind 7-0 in the first quarter when Nealon Greene took the ball on a quarterback run from five yards out. Not to be outdone, LSU quarterback Herb Tyler led the team downfield in the second quarter, and Kevin Faulk topped off an 80-yard drive with a touchdown run of his own. Before the half was out, Wade Richey kicked a field goal to give LSU the 10-7 lead.
Special teams and defense dominated the second half. LSU and Clemson each spent most of the third and fourth quarters punting the ball to one another until late in the game when Clemson had a 52 yard field goal attempt blocked by LSU insuring the victory for the Tigers in Purple and Gold.
The inaugural Peach Bowl was the opposite of their future victory in 1996 over Clemson in the Peach Bowl, this game was a shootout. Both Florida State QB Bill Cappelman and LSU's Mike Hillman came out slinging.
In the end however, Hillman got the better of his opposite, and threw for 2 touchdowns on 229 yards through the air.
Although FSU took a quick 13-0 lead, LSU got a punt return for a touchdown and a field goal before the first half was out cutting the Seminoles lead to just three points. 14 unanswered points to start the second half for the Tigers all and a late fourth quarter touchdown by the Tigers secured the win for the Tigers.
After jumping out to an early 10-2 lead, the Syracuse Orange were held scoreless for the remainder of the 1965 Sugar Bowl by the 7th ranked LSU Tigers and their defense. Luckily for the Tigers they had Doug Moreau. Moreau who played both on the offensive side of the ball and had a big boot as the LSU kicker scored all of the Tigers points with the exception of a safety that saw the Tigers score their only two points of the first half.
Moreau caught a pass from QB Billy Ezzel for a touchdown in the third quarter, and with a two-point conversion the Tigers had tied the game at 10 by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
It all came down to the foot of Doug Moreau. His 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter ultimately won the tremendous game for the Tigers.
When the LSU Tigers met the undefeated Texas Longhorns in what was ultimately a home game for the team from Arlington, but the score did not reflect that.
The Tigers dominated on both sides of the ball. A touchdown run by Jimmy Field in the second quarter along with two field goals by Lynn Amedee were all the Tigers needed to defeat the Longhorns.
The Tigers defense was what really secured the victory in this game. They forced five turnovers and never allowed the Longhorns anywhere close to scoring any points.
The 2000 Peach Bowl was one of the better bowl games LSU has ever played. Trailing 14-3 at the half, backup quarterback Rohan Davey led the Tigers on a 25 point run which included 3 touchdown passes including a pass to Josh Reed which marked the first lead for the Tigers at 17-14.
In all Davey went 17 of 25 for 174 yards and won the MVP for the game. This game secured LSU's perfect record in Peach Bowls with three wins in just as many attempts. Played before a crowd of 73,000+ the fans got to see one of the better performances in LSU bowl history.
The 2008 BCS National Championship Game was yet another game with what has seemed to be a common theme for the Tigers in their bowl history. The Tigers came back from an early 10-0 deficit against the number one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
After falling behind early, the Tigers went on a tear scoring 31 unanswered points from halfway through the first quarter all the way to the late third quarter. Led by quarterback Matt Flynn, who tied a school record with four touchdown passes, and a defensive masterpiece, including a forced fumble and two interceptions, which all but sealed the Tigers second national title in four seasons.
The 2002 Sugar Bowl against Illinois saw one of the most dominant single game performances by a single player in LSU history. Again Rohan Davey -- now the starting quarterback for the Tigers -- had a huge game.
Davey threw for 444 yards, 239 of which went to All-American receiver and Davey's favorite target Josh Reed, and two receptions. Davey led the Tigers to a Sugar Bowl record 34 first half points and LSU never looked back. Among the eight records set by LSU was their 595 total yards of offense.
It was one of the best bowl performances by LSU in their history.
The 2004 National Championship Game was one of the most memorable title games we have ever seen. Led into the game by then head coach Nick Saban, the stingy Tigers defense limited the nations number one offense in Oklahoma to just 154 total yards.
Running back Justin Vincent led the Tigers offensively with 117 yards on the ground and a touchdown. A poor performance by quarterback Matt Mauck which included two interceptions, allowed the Sooners to stay in the game. Until a 20-yard interception for a touchdown in the third quarter by Marcus Spears, the game was anyone’s to win. It was one of the most exciting and electrifying games in history.
The victory was especially sweet because like this years Championship Game, it too was played at home in New Orleans. Although the Tigers did not blow the Sooners out by any means, they eventually walked away with the 21-14 victory and their first national title since 1958 and second in school history.