When there was an abundance of
folks murmuring about erratic and inconsistent quarterback play by Tiger signal
callers, Randall turned in the most impressive performance of the season by any
LSU quarterback – as well as the most brilliant of his career in a Tiger
Randall, who got the nod over
JaMarcus Russell, completed 10-of-14 passes for 173 yards and a pair of
touchdown passes to Joseph Addai. He also rushed 17 times for 79 yards and two
touchdowns, however, he actually rushed for 131 yards, but lost 52 on four
“My hat goes off to Marcus and the
way he performed out here today,” said senior defensive end Marcus Spears. “He
never took a selfish attitude about anything. He just went out and played the
game the way it is supposed to be played.
Saban’s philosophy this season had
been to start Russell and bring Randall off the bench. Saban said with Randall
not starting the game, it cuts down on his anxiety level. But in this one,
Randal showed no signs of tension.
"You prepare better when you know
you're the starter early in the week," Randall said. “We prepared well all week,
so I don’t think there was any anxiety. We were comfortable with the things
coach (Jimbo) Fisher had put in for us to run and I felt comfortable and had
confidence coming into the game. I feel like I played well.”
You could sense Randall was on
target from the onset threading the needle on several passes. But it was the
senior signal caller’s mobility that proved to be the biggest difference in the
game as he executed one successful quarterback draw after another.
“I feel comfortable running the
ball and we have several plays designed for me to run the ball,” Randall said.
“Whenever I felt like I could get positive yardage I would tuck it and get as
many yards as I could.”
Where does this rank in the top
games of Randall’s career?
Most folks would say this is the
best. In 2002, Randall started in place of an injured Matt Mauck leading the
Tigers to a 38-14 win over South Carolina.
Then there was the first Arkansas game in which Randall played, “The Miracle on
Hawg fans call it. Randall had the Tigers poised for a 20-14 victory before the
final Hail Mary from Matt Jones gave the Razorbacks a come-from-behind
Randall’s play in the first half of
the 2003 Cotton Bowl, a 35-20 loss to Texas, was superb. But that game will be
remembered mostly for LSU’s demise in the second half.
This season, the feather in
Randall’s cap before last Friday had to be his stunning performance in relief of
Russell at Florida, a game in which he rallied the Tigers
from a 21-7 deficit to win 24-21 in The Swamp.
While the Florida win was a
tremendous victory in terms of the setting, Randall’s ability to lead the Tigers
in breaking the Razorbacks long winning streak ranks at the top of the list.
“This was a big game for us,”
Randall said. “Coach kept talking to us about the last time we were here and how
they kept us from going to the championship game. Plus the fact they were 17-0
here. We knew coming in here that they weren’t going to give up.”
Saban said he stuck with Randall
because of the success he enjoyed at Arkansas during the loss in 2002.
“We really played him, because he
played well here two years ago," Saban said of Randall, who was the quarterback
in that 21-20 loss to the Razorbacks. "We just thought we'd take a little
pressure off (freshman quarterback) JaMarcus (Russell) by not making him start
on the road. We would've played him if we had struggled, but Marcus Randall did
such a good job in the game and had such control of what was going on in the
game, we didn't feel like it was the right time to change anything."
JACKSON CLOSING OUT SEASON ON HIGH
It is something Robert Stack and
Unsolved Mysteries should do a story on - what is it with LSU and place
While the Tigers produced one of
college football’s most consistent kickers of all time in David Browndyke, the
past decade has been one crazy roller coaster ride for kickers in
Wade Richey, John Corbello, Chris Jackson – all talented high school kickers that had more than their fair share
of travails during their careers a LSU. Richey went on to have a semi-successful
NFL career and Corbello ended his career in purple and gold as the Tigers
all-time leading kick scorer and third on the school’s all-time scoring list.
Danny Boyd, who succeeded Richey in 1998, starred in NFL Europe and in the NFL
once his days at LSU were done, but no one will soon forget his inconsistencies
when he stepped onto the field in Tiger Stadium.
It has been a bumpy road for Tiger
kickers Jackson and Ryan Gaudet. Gaudet kicked a 49-yard field goal in the
LSU-Georgia game that proved to be the insurance the Tigers needed in winning
17-10. But then he missed an EXTRA POINT in the Auburn game earlier this season that cost LSU the victory
in losing 10-9.
Jackson has one of the more powerful legs ever
to be swung in the direction of a football at LSU, but sometimes you do not know
exactly where it is going. Jackson can drill a field goal, but then manage
to somehow to boot the kickoff out of bounds.
The way Nick Saban chooses to
handle LSU’s kicking situation is to stick with which ever kicker tends to be
the hottest at the time or use Gaudet on shorter field goal attempts due to his
accuracy; then replace him with Jackson on kickoffs or long field goal
Speaking of long field goals,
dazzled crowds with his long range hitting 50-plus yard field goals in
consecutive games. In the win over Ole Miss, Jackson drilled a 51-yarder, then came on and kicked a
53-yard field goal at Arkansas, which is the third longest in school
“I had a good pregame and the wind
was in my direction so I felt pretty good about kicking it. I hit it pretty
Jackson’s monumental boot was just one yard
short of the record, which is 54 yards. Richey and Ron Lewis each kicked 54
yarders, Richey’s coming at Kentucky in 1996
and Lewis’ against North Carolina in 1985.
Jackson’s 51-yard boot against Ole Miss ranks
fourth all-time, tied with Andre LaFleur, Pedro Suarez and Juan Carlos Betanzos.
Jackson is the
only kicker to have to field goals in the top five longest in LSU
It was the first time a team won
back-to-back games in the LSU-Arkansas series since LSU took consecutive
victories in 1995 (28-0) and 1996 (17-7)… LSU missed an extra point for the
fifth game this season. Ryan Gaudet missed the extra point after Shyrone Carey’s
fourth quarter score. LSU kickers are 28-of-34 this season on PAT attempts with
Gaudet having missed two extra points and Jackson missing four… For the fifth time in the
Tigers current six-game winning streak, LSU has shutout its opponent in the
second half… The Tigers six-game winning streak ties the second longest winning
streak under Nick Saban. LSU closed out the 2001 season winning six in a row and
after a season opening loss at Virginia Tech, the Tigers won six in a