Posted at 10:04 am on November 13, 2017

ENGSTER: LSU to keep impressive streak going

Terrill Weil
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By JIM ENGSTER | President, Tiger Rag Magazine

When LSU lost to Troy on the final night of September, this columnist speculated that LSU would be hard pressed to extend its streak of 17 consecutive football seasons with at least eight wins.

Six weeks later, LSU has won four of its last five outings and is one victory from its eighth triumph of 2017. Considering this week’s foe is hapless Tennessee, it is a foregone conclusion that Ed Orgeron will continue a tradition started by Nick Saban in 2000, the year that started the Golden Age of Tiger football.

Eight wins may not be as significant in one season as it once was, but here is a list of current members of the Southeastern Conference and current streaks of eight or more victories per season.

LSU                                                        17

Alabama                                              10

Georgia                                                   7

Texas A@M                                        5

Auburn                                                 2

Arkansas                                              0

Florida                                                  0

Kentucky                                             0

Mississippi State                               0

Missouri                                               0

Ole Miss                                               0

South Carolina                                   0

Tennessee                                          0

Vanderbilt                                           0

Tennessee has been a pest for LSU historically

No SEC foe has dominated LSU through the years as Tennessee. While the Tigers and Volunteers square off irregularly, Tennessee often defeated LSU even when the Bengals were better.

The most infamous Volunteer victory occurred on Nov. 7, 1959 in Knoxville when Billy Cannon may have cracked the goal line on a two-point conversion to keep the No. 1 Tigers undefeated, but Cannon’s burst was called short and LSU lost, 14-13, ending its quest for a second consecutive national title.

Sports Illustrated recapped the game this way:

The avid feet of Louisiana State’s All-America halfback gobbled up the turf and propelled him into the left side of the Tennessee Volunteer line. Down went Billy Cannon, down fell the first team in the land on the wildest, wooliest Saturday of the football season.

Had it succeeded, Cannon’s raw power smash after the LSU Tigers’ second touchdown could have been a game-winning feat of splendor. The Volunteers cut him down. Thus by the spine-chilling score of 14-13, on a wintry afternoon in Knoxville, ended the game’s longest victory streak (19 games).

LSU has not had a streak as long in the 58 years since that fateful day in Tennessee.

LSU has won four games in a row against its distant SEC rival (656 miles), but trails Tennessee 20-9-3 in the history of the series. The last win for the Vols was in the Tiger Stadium debut for Les Miles in 2005, a thrilling 30-27 overtime victory for UT.

LSU’s national championship a decade ago was made possible with a 21-14 win over Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game of Dec. 1, 2007. The Most Valuable Player for LSU was none other than Ryan Perrilloux. He was 20 of 30 passing for 243 with a touchdown and interception.

Coaching merry-go-round in SEC is remarkable

With the firing of Butch Jones at Tennessee, Ed Orgeron is moving up the list of coaches with most tenure at one school as head football mentors in the SEC. It is an amazing list when it is remembered that in the 1970s, the league had long standing sideline stalwarts like Bear Bryant, Vince Dooley, Charles McClendon, Shug Jordan and Johnny Vaught.

Here is the current list of longest tenures among SEC coaches.

  1. Nick Saban                    Alabama                              148 games
  2. Dan Mullen                  Mississippi State               113 games
  3. Kevin Sumlin                Texas A&M                         75 games
  4. Gus Malzahn                 Auburn                                 63 games
  5. Bret Bielema                 Arkansas                              61 games
  6. Mark Stoops                 Kentucky                             59 games
  7. Derek Mason                 Vanderbilt                           47 games
  8. Kirby Smart                 Georgia                                  23 games
  9. Will Muschamp           South Carolina                   23 games
  10. Barry Odom                   Missouri                               22 games
  11. Ed Orgeron                 LSU                                   18 games
  12. Matt Luke                       Ole Miss                               9 games
  13. Randy Shannon              Florida                                2 games
  14. Brady Hoke                    Tennessee                          0 games

These SEC football coaches lasted more than 200 games consecutively at one school.

  1. Vince Dooley Georgia                              288 games
  2. Bear Bryant Alabama                              287 games
  3. Shug Jordan Auburn                                 265 games
  4. Wally Butts Georgia                                  235 games
  5. Phillip Fulmer Tennessee                          204 games
  6. Charles McClendon LSU                    203 games
  7. Bobby Dodd Georgia Tech                        203 games

Eddie Robinson coached 578 games in succession at Grambling from 1941 to 1997, and Joe Paterno coached 548 games in a row for Penn State from 1966 to 2011.

Since Charles McClendon departed LSU in 1979, this is the honor roll of LSU coaches and their tenure in TigerTown.

1980                       Bo Rein                                 No games            (Died in Jan. 10,. 1980 plane crash)

1980-83              Jerry Stovall                        45 games

1984-86              Bill Arnsparger                   36 games

1987-90              Mike Archer                       46 games

1991-94               Curley Hallman                  44 games

1995-99                Gerry DiNardo                   57 games

1999                       Hal Hunter                          1 game

2000-04              Nick Saban                          64 games

2005-16                Les Miles                            148 games

2016-17                Ed Orgeron                         18 games

Nick Saban has now coached the same number of games at Alabama that Les Miles coached at LSU (148).

Miles owns the best winning percentage in LSU history at 77.0 percent with 114 wins and 34 losses.

Saban owns the best winning percentage in Alabama history at 87.2 percent with 129 wins and 19 losses.

Miles won two SEC titles and one national title from 2005-16 at LSU.

Saban has won five SEC titles and four national titles from 2006-17 at Alabama.

In head to head competition, the record was Saban 6, Miles 3.

Miles was responsible for 15.8 percent of Saban’s defeats at Alabama.

Saban was responsible for 17.6 percent of Miles’s defeats at LSU.

How important is the Wonderlic Test?

The NFL now guards the results of the Wonderlic Test, which is used to measure intelligence of prospects at the Scouting Combine. In the social media age, it is easy to malign a player who may have not taken the exam seriously. Most of the questions are not difficult, but some are challenging, and if player eats up the clock on the tough questions, he will blow the exam.

The test is considered important to assess thinking abilities of quarterbacks, and most of the great ones scored over 30 on the 50 questions. The Saints Drew Brees scored a 28 while the Steelers Terry Bradshaw was a low 16 and the Dolphins Dan Marino an even lower, 15. Bradshaw and Marino are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Here are some Wonderlic scores by LSU players through the years.

Matt Flynn                          38

Matt Mauck                       30

Zack Mettenberger         30

JaMarcus Russell              24

Rohan Davey                     17

Eddie Kennison                 12

Jamal Adams                      11

Leonard Fournette          11

Patrick Peterson               9

Morris Claiborne              4

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James Moran has been the associate editor of Tiger Rag Magazine since 2014. He covers LSU football and baseball and is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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