The LSU football season is so much further away than any of you want it to be.
But we at SEC Country want to make the wait go by a little faster. So every Saturday that you don’t get to watch college football, we’re going to give it to you anyway with a throwback-style countdown of how many weekends you have left before LSU kicks off its 2017 season on Sept. 2 against BYU in Houston.
Counting today, there are 22 Saturdays until that BYU game. So let’s take a look at all the reasons the number 22 is significant in LSU football history to keep your mind occupied and dreaming of returning to Death Valley.
In the record books
Let’s start this week’s countdown off with some not-so-distant history.
Back in 2015, Leonard Fournette broke the LSU football record for rushing touchdowns in a single season with 22. The mark led to Fournette being named a first-team All-American and broke a 14-year record previously held by LaBrandon Toefield (more on him later).
In SEC history, only Derrick Henry, Tre Mason and Tim Tebow have rushed for more touchdowns in a single season than Fournette’s 22. As a comparison, Hall of Fame running backs Marcus Allen and Tony Dorsett both rushed for 22 touchdowns in their Heisman Trophy winning seasons.
Elsewhere in the LSU football record books, quarterbacks Zach Mettenberger and Tommy Hodson are tied for the third-most passing touchdowns in a single LSU season with 22 apiece. Mettenberger achieved his in 2013 and Hodson in 1989. Mettenberger’s 2013 season is tied with Fournette’s 2015 for the sixth-most total touchdowns in a single season in LSU football history.
Who wore it best?
Fournette isn’t the only great LSU running back with a connection to the number 22. Three of the more prominent running backs in LSU history wore 22, notably Harvey Williams and LaBrandon Toefield.
A future first-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, Williams wore 22 for LSU from 1986-90. In that time, he rushed for 2,860 yards – the fifth-most in LSU history – and 27 touchdowns, tied for the ninth most in school history. Williams’ best season came as a sophomore in 1987 when he rushed for 11 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards.
Toefield set the LSU record for most rushing touchdowns in a single season in 2001 when he rushed for 19 TDs. Though Fournette later broke that record, Toefield’s ’01 season still stands in the record book as the only season in LSU history in which a player accounted for more than 15 touchdowns but fewer than 1,000 rushing yards.
Toefield was selected in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Other notable LSU football players who wore No. 22 include:
- Linebacker Ryan Baker (2008-11): 183 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 9.5 sacks
- Running back Alley Broussard (2003-06): 1,537 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns
- Wide receiver Larry Foster (1996-99): 125 receptions, 1,747 yards, 12 touchdowns
The most lopsided rivalry in LSU history
The LSU football team has played Louisiana-Lafayette 22 times.
LSU has never lost to Louisiana-Lafayette. The Tigers and Ragin’ Cajuns played for the first time in 1902 and the last time in 2009 and never in those 107 years could the Ragin’ Cajuns come out on top. That includes a 93-0 LSU win in 1936, the biggest in LSU history.
Excluding SEC schools, the only teams LSU has beaten more times than Louisiana-Lafayette are Tulane and Rice. LSU’s next-best winning percentage against a team it has beaten double-digit times is its 18-1 all-time record versus Louisiana Tech.
When LSU took on Arkansas in the 1966 Cotton Bowl, the Razorbacks entered the game on a 22-game winning streak and had a national championship on their minds. LSU had other plans.
Though Arkansas came in averaging more than 32 points per game, LSU held the Razorbacks to just one touchdown, as LSU came out on top with a 14-7 victory. LSU deprived Arkansas of a second consecutive national championship. Instead, that year’s title was split between Michigan State (coaches’ poll) and Alabama (AP).
LSU was 8-3 that season with its win over Arkansas being its most notable. The Tigers finished No. 8 in the AP poll.
Check back to SECCountry.com every Saturday between now and football season for more trips down memory lane.