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Video Recap of “SEC Nation” in Baton Rouge

By Lauren Lenox

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GALLERY: Tiger Stadium Adds Rally Towels for Alabama Game

Excessive Celebration

LSU fans rush the field after the Tigers upset Ole Miss on Oct. 25.

LSU fans rush the field after the Tigers upset Ole Miss on Oct. 25.

By Lindsay Rabalais

If Tiger fans take their celebrations onto the field Saturday after the game against No. 4 Alabama, LSU will have to pick up a much heftier tab than they did after the Ole Miss game.

After the Tigers upset No. 3 Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 25, hordes of fans triumphantly swarmed the field.

LSU appeared to accept the inevitable.  Police officers did not line the gates at the base of the student section as a preemptive strike against stampeding fans, not even after LSU safety Ronald Martin intercepted the ball with two seconds left in the game.

The Athletic Department also fully accepted the price tag of the celebration: a $5000 fine for violation of the SEC’s access to competition area policy.

Athletic Director Joe Alleva addressed the fine shortly after the Tigers’ triumphant victory.  “I hope I have to spend it again two weeks from now,” he said.

Alleva quickly changed his tune, however.  He released a statement on Oct. 28 instructing fans to not enter the field after the next football game against Alabama.

“I encourage everyone to celebrate great LSU victories within the seating areas of the stadium, and not on the field … We would never endorse the ‘storming of the field’ by our fans – it is a violation of the protocol established by the Southeastern Conference.”

The monetary cost of storming the field for the second time this season is almost certainly a major concern of Alleva’s.

The SEC fined LSU $5000 for its first infraction.  The fine for a second violation would surge to $25,000.  In the event of a third violation, the University would owe a $50,000 fine, according to a CBS Sports report.

LSU’s athletic budget is currently $109 million, according to a report from USA Today.

The $5000 fine for the post-Ole Miss game celebrations represented the first time LSU has been fined for storming the field.  According to CBS Sports, the SEC’s policy against entering the competition area was enacted in 2004.  The last time LSU fans rushed the field was in 2001, after LSU defeated Auburn in Tiger Stadium.

The potential cost of storming the field goes beyond the SEC fine.

It is certainly foreseeable that a fan could be seriously hurt in the rush to the field.

Furthermore, the University would face a host of liability issues if someone became injured, especially if the athletic director encouraged spectators to rush the field.

Rushing the field after a hard-fought victory is a storied component of LSU lore, from the fans who tore down both goal posts after LSU upset No. 1 Florida in 1997 to those who speckled the field in purple and gold on Oct. 25.

However, a $25,000 fine for rushing the field is unprecedented.  The costs – monetary and emotional – of an injured fan would be even higher.

If the Tigers defeat Alabama on Saturday, the Athletic Department will almost certainly take steeper measures to ensure fans keep the festivities in the stands.

Path to Success

By Lauren Lenox

ESPN’s SEC Network reporter, Kaylee Hartung, shared her journalism career path when she visited an LSU graduate level Mass Communications classroom on Thursday morning.

Even with two phones and work to take care of, she spent a good 20 minutes with the class. Her advice to the students about landing their dream job was simple yet important.

“Create value where value doesn’t exist. Show up early, stay late and take advantage,” Hartung said.

As a Baton Rouge native, Hartung grew up as an LSU fan but moved away to experience college at Washington and Lee in Virginia.

She received degrees in Journalism and Politics and gained hands-on knowledge through internships while she was in school.

But when Hartung graduated, she found herself without a job.

Hartung was constantly making connections and trying to market herself to find some type of job. She interviewed for a job that she really did not want but with the help of a friend and honesty, she got it.

Two weeks later, Hartung received a call from NBC saying there was a spot for her and she jumped at the opportunity.

She worked the NBC Nightly News and took advantage of the opportunities. Her boss at the time referred her to the news chief for CBS News.

She then served as personal assistant to CBS News journalist Bob Schieffer. Hartung experienced long hours with the job but she was determined to get where she is today.

Today, Hartung resides in Austin, Texas, and is a SEC Network reporter. She is one of the hosts to the new program “SEC Nation” which airs on Saturday mornings during football season.

Her favorite part of the job is being able to meet people each place she goes and the stories she gets to share with others. Hartung won an Emmy with a story she shared about a boy with spinal diphia and his love for the University of Texas Longhorns.

On Saturday, Hartung will return to Baton Rouge to join the cast of “SEC Nation” and cover one of the most hyped up Southeastern Conference rivalries between the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 14 LSU Tigers.

ESPN’s College GameDay at LSU: Photo Gallery

Young Defense Shows Power

By Lauren Lenox

After being on the road for the last two weeks with an inconsistent defense, LSU’s defense came out on top during Saturday’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

The LSU defense held Kentucky to one field goal, while giving up 217 total yards. Before Saturday’s game, Kentucky was averaging 36.5 points per game.

Kentucky’s offense was stomped by the Tiger defense and could only convert 5 of 17 third-down attempts.

The LSU defense stepped up to hand Kentucky its fourth lopsided loss in its last four trips to Baton Rouge since 2000.

Despite much criticism this season, Head Coach Les Miles and the Tigers have endured. The defense made sure to prove to the world on Saturday that it was in it for the long haul.

LSU set the tone early when sophomore defensive back Tre’Davious White, returned a punt for a 67-yard touchdown which brought momentum for the Tigers.

“It felt great to get that first punt return for a touchdown and to do it in front of our home crowd,” White said.

Sophomore safety Rickey Jefferson interrupted a few passes which could have been Kentucky touchdowns. He was not as impressed with his performance but thought that the defense played well.

“I think I had a chance to get an interception but I jumped a little late,” Jefferson said.

Sophomore linebacker Kendell Beckwith finished with nine total tackles before leaving the game after a hard hit. He was amazed at how his team played and is looking forward to the next game.

“We try to dominate when we go out on Saturdays. We’re improving,” Beckwith said.

Freshman safety Jamal Adams had the only sack for the Tiger defense. Adams helped his teammates out on Saturday with a sack and has since begun thinking ahead to their next game.

After the game, Miles was excited about how the Tigers played. He believes that the football team is finally coming together and hopes that the Tigers will have success in their final four regular season games.

The Tigers will have to repeat their dominance on defense next game as they are set to play a top-five Ole Miss team.

Life in the fall without football

 

By Chuck Colin

 

NEW ORLEANS – Dillard University is an institution that is best known for its legacy, prestige and tradition.

What it isn’t known for among today’s sports fans is for fielding a football team.

With HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) traditions come the playing of football on the gridiron and the sweet sound of marching bands in the stands under the Saturday night lights.

However, reestablishing a football program may not be as tough of a task as some think. Not only has the number of college football programs increased, but those teams have experienced some success.

According to the National Football Foundation, the 44 programs that added football from 2008-13 have combined for 10 conference championships and 12 playoff appearances.

Grand View University won the 2013 NAIA National Championship in only its sixth season of play.

This should be a potentially encouraging sign as Dillard operates within the NAIA as well.

A football team could also potentially increase student enrollment, which at Dillard was approximately 1,200 students for the 2013-14 school year, according to U.S. News college rankings. It would also increase the male student population, which is only 29 percent of all students.

Although the Bleu Devils are currently missing out on the football aspect of the college experience, that hasn’t always been the case. According to school archives Bleu Devils football dates back to 1935, which was the year Straight College and New Orleans University merged to form Dillard.

Along with college football comes rivalries. When one thinks of a Dillard University rival, Xavier University instantly comes to mind. The cross town foes have played in the Xavier/Dillard Basketball Classic annually since the 1947-48 season, but also squared off in the Turkey Bowl, an annual football game during Thanksgiving weekend.

The peak of Bleu Devils football came during the 1957-58 season under the guidance of coach Armstead A. Perrio in which the 29-player team won eight of its nine games en route to capturing an undefeated conference title. Their highlight was of course the Turkey Bowl, which the Bleu Devils won 13-12.

Despite not having a football team since 1965, the Bleu Devils have maintained their fierce rivalries and athletic competition in other sports. But there’s just something about school spirit and football.

Imagine the black college football season without the Bayou Classic between the Grambling University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars, which is the second-most attended HBCU Classic. According to the Southwestern Athletic Conference, over 47,000 fans attended the latest meeting, but attendance consistently reached over 70,000 in its peak years right before Hurricane Katrina.

Coincidentally, Dillard University’s last football game came during the 1964 season in a 38-3 defeat against Southern University. With the Bayou Classic not beginning until 1974, and the game being held annually in Dillard’s backyard at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, it makes me wonder, “What could’ve been?”

There’s something to be said about football in the autumn weather, homecoming games, tailgating,and that awesome energy that surrounds campus as game-day approaches.

 

 

 

Harris, freshmen offense excel against Aggies

By Annie Ourso

True freshmen, led by quarterback Brandon Harris, showed their strengths and dominated Death Valley Saturday night as LSU defeated New Mexico State 63-7 in Tiger Stadium.

Harris made his appearance in the second quarter after sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings committed three turnovers in the first.

Effectively turning the game around, Harris contributed five touchdowns, 178 total yards, completed 11 of 14 passes and carried for 36 yards.

“The reason why I had so much success, we had so much success, passing the football was because we had a great running game,” Harris said.

Fans basically called Harris onto the field themselves after they audibly expressed their displeasure with Jennings’ performance.

“I think it’s important that we support Anthony when he’s in there,” Harris said. “It shouldn’t be the way it was tonight.”

Still, there’s no denying Harris played the better game Saturday.

“I’m a young guy,” he said. “I’ll continue to develop in certain areas. You know, I don’t think it’s my role to lead the team. I think we have older, veteran guys who take that role, and I continue to learn from them.”

Much of Harris’ support this game, however, came from other freshmen on the field: Leonard Fournette, Malachi Dupre, Darrel Williams and Trey Quinn.

Fournette finished with 18 carries and 122 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Tigers in the best game of his young college career.

“I think I’m doing pretty well,” Fournette said. “I’m a true freshman. Thanks to Kenny (Hilliard); thanks to Terrence (Magee) – they’re my mentors. All the freshmen are still learning pretty much. I ask Kenny and Terrence for help all the time.”

There’s a difference between playing in high school and in college, Fournette said, and it’s something freshmen have to adjust to.

“You have to get used to the speed and aggressiveness of other teams,” he said.

Wide receiver Malachi Dupre has also stepped up as a freshman this season. Against New Mexico State, he totaled 54 yards and scored on a 27-yard pass from Harris.

“When we were recruited, coach told us young guys will play big roles here,” Dupre said. “Guys like myself are stepping in, realizing there’s truth to that statement.”

In all, LSU’s offense completed 200 passing yards and 363 rushing yards, compared to New Mexico State’s 102 passing yards and 172 rushing yards.

Coach Les Miles said he was happy to see freshmen get in the game and show what they’re capable of.

As for the quarterback battle, though, he still hasn’t shown favor toward either Harris or Jennings.

“We’re going to need both quarterbacks as we go forward,” Miles said.