FEINSWOG: Addai
rises from the ashes
Joseph Addai (LSU)
Joseph Addai (LSU)
Featured Columnist
Posted Oct 11, 2004


Given time, football will come full circle..

Such is the case for Joseph Addai. You might have forgotten Joseph Addai, the guy who was supposed to carry LSU’s rushing attack in 2003. But it didn’t happen.

 

Last year, as LSU marched to a national championship, Addai became the lost member of the Tigers’ backfield. Remember it was Addai who got hurt and opened the door for freshmen Justin Vincent, Alley Broussard and Barrington Edwards to lead the way to the promised land.

 

Now a guy whose last name (honestly, I looked this up on various websites) has Hebrew origins that claims it means “Man of God,” carried LSU on his back to the winning touchdown.

 

Sure, senior quarterback Marcus Randall did his part. For starters, if you watched the game on ESPN and stuck around for coach Nick Saban’s postgame on-field interview you’re probably as confused as Randall. Saban said Randall is great coming off the bench and that’s why they started JaMarcus Russell. Perhaps, but wasn’t Randall the QB when LSU marched to a game-opening score against Auburn?

 

Whatever.

 

Anyway, LSU needed something good to happen on offense when it took over on the 50 with 2:06 left in the game. No one stepped up bigger than Addai, who ran for 16 yards on first down.

 

Randall hit Craig Davis for 7 more on the next play. Then Addai, a junior from Houston, ran for 12 more.

Then Addai ran for 6 more to the Florida 9. After Randall lost a yard, LSU called time with 33 seconds left.

The season was hanging in the balance. Take the lead and hang in the hunt for a really nice bowl trip. Fail to score a TD and, well, make bowl reservations for Shreveport or Nashville.

 

Randall, whose poise and throwing accuracy were remarkable all game, hit Addai for the 10-yard TD. After Ryan Gaudet hit his third extra point in as many tries – no, that’s not a misprint – LSU had a 24-21 lead, the Gator Chomp was silenced and the Tigers stood at 4-2 overall.

 

Addai finished with 93 yards on 10 carries, meaning he gained 34 on the last drive alone.

 

Now LSU has an off week. Talk about a team that deserves one. And let’s face it: After the Oregon State performance, lack of offense at Auburn and the Georgia butt-kicking, the Tigers are in a pretty good place right now.

 

With Auburn at 3-0 in the league and LSU now 2-2, the Southeastern Conference Western Division title is out of reach.

 

But the Tigers are relatively injury free. Addai is back. Randall – his TD pass to Early Doucet in the second quarter the finest LSU throw in a long time – hopefully will keep the starting QB job. The offensive line has appeared to have woken up. The defense, the Georgia game aside, is solid. And Gaudet – gasp! – seems to finally have this extra-point thing down.

 

Six hard weeks down, a much-needed off week ahead. Then games with Troy State and Vanderbilt. Troy’s pretty good, but LSU should win both and be sitting at 6-2 for the stretch run, games with Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas.

 

Saban actually smiled quite a bit in that postgame interview. He ought to be happy. His team rallied from two TDs down. He may have finally found a quarterback. And Joseph Addai is back and any coach will tell you there’s nothing better than finding a long-lost go-to running back and letting him carry the load.

 

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Lee Feinswog is the author of “Tales From The LSU Sidelines,” a Baton Rouge sportswriter and host of the television show Sports Monday. Reach him at (225) 926-3256 or lee@sportsbatonrouge.com.





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