NEW ORLEANS — A second-line saunter to a championship for LSU, just like the Tigers scripted it.
A déjà vu nightmare for Ohio State, just as the Buckeyes feared.
The LSU Tigers played 14 games this season and could never completely escape their mistake-marked habits.
Who cares? The Tigers’ flawed but fabulous image is reflected in the crystal ball of the BCS national championship trophy, their second in five years.
As at no time before in LSU’s football history, the Tigers are the nation’s preeminent program. From hurricane-battered Boothville to Bastrop, LSU fans can thump their chests and say, truly, no one does it better than their beloved Tigers.
Generations will be born into this state and ask of us one day, “Tell me, grandpa. Tell me when the Tigers were the best there was.”
This is that time.
Ohio State, more than anyone, has to live with what is for the Buckeyes an ugly truth. A year after being destroyed by Florida in the inaugural BCS title game 41-14, the Buckeyes came here riding a year-long crusade of redemption. They didn’t find it. The 38-24 beating inflicted by LSU wasn’t quite as lopsided as what Florida wrought, but it brought no joy or relief to the scarlet and gray.
The SEC rules. The Big Ten got schooled. Again.
Of course, this being LSU, the Tigers had to make a couple of blunders just to get the blood flowing. After Ohio State running back Chris “Beanie” Wells bolted for a BCS championship game-record 65-yard touchdown run just 1:26 into the game, LSU’s first possession ended with Matt Flynn falling on a shotgun snap at the Tigers’ 6 after center Brett Helms sent the ball flying when Flynn came up to change the play. Freshman punt returner Chad Jones fumbled away a punt return that teammate Harry Coleman scooped into his chest at the LSU 16. Timeouts were burned needlessly as the Tigers couldn’t get plays off in time.
And LSU fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter, giving Ohio State a huge injection of confidence to start the game.
All part of the uncanny Les Miles plan, folks. All part of the plan.
Slowly, inexorably, momentum made a seismic shift to the LSU side of the Superdome. Having defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois back after a season-long suspension was a huge plus for LSU in its SEC Championship Game victory over Tennessee. Jean-Francois played an even bigger role in this game, helping the Tigers impose their will on the Buckeyes and turn the game in the second quarter.
With the score tied 10-10, defensive MVP Jean-Francois planted offensive guard Ben Person in the turf and reached out to block Ryan Pretorious’ 38-yard field-goal attempt with his meaty right hand. LSU recovered at its 34 and marched relentlessly for a touchdown, offensive MVP Matt Flynn finishing it with one of his best passes of the year, a perfect 10-yard lob to Brandon LaFell in the back of the end zone.
Ohio State was playing catch-up the rest of the night. Maybe it was that fabled SEC speed, but the Buckeyes couldn’t ever get the Tigers back in their grasp.
Don’t be too hard on Ohio State though.
As the song asks, “Hold That Tiger?”
Right now, no one can.
What a dominating performance! I'm so proud of these guys! Enjoy it while you can, Tiger fans... we have 25 seniors on the way out and everyone will be gunning for us next year. Bring 'em on!