Foe Info: LSU
• LSU has claimed two national titles in its history—in 1958 and 2003.
The 1958 unit, coached by Paul Dietzel, was coming off 3-5-2, 3-7 and 5-5 seasons, and had just three seniors in 1958.
But the Tigers swept through their schedule 11-0 with four shutout victories, including a 7-0 victory over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. The Tigers allowed seven points or less in 10 of the 11 games.
Billy Cannon, who won the Heisman Trophy the following season, paced the Tigers with 686 yards and 11 touchdowns
Nick Saban coached the Tigers to the 2003 national title with a 13-1 record, including a 21-14 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
The Tigers stumbled against Florida in October, 19-7, but won their final eight games by an average margin of three touchdowns, including 24-point victories over Auburn and Alabama, and a 21-point victory over Georgia in the SEC championship game.
The Tigers were led offensively by quarterback Matt Mauck and running back Justin Vincent. Mauck's favorite target was wide receiver Michael Clayton.
• LSU has had just one Heisman Trophy winner in its history—halfback Billy Cannon in 1959. Cannon was rewarded for his excellence over a three-year varsity career and his all-around game in helping lead the Tigers to the 1958 national title as a junior. He passed for a touchdown and kicked the extra point in LSU's 7-0 victory over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl
The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder was said to have 9.5 speed in the 100-yard dash. He returned a punt for a score—an 89-yarder against Mississippi in a 7-3 victory—in which Cannon was said to have broken seven tackles.
Cannon rushed for 598 yards in '59 and 1,867 yards in his career. He had seven career interceptions.
• Tiger Stadium, which holds 92,000 fans, is known in SEC circles as "Death Valley," where LSU has won 43 of its last 49 games. Said college football sage Beano Cook: "Dracula and LSU football are at their best after the sun goes down."
Yet Bob Davie took his Notre Dame team into Tiger Stadium on Nov. 15, 1997 (a day game), and soundly whipped LSU, 24-6. The Tigers would get their revenge in the Independence Bowl six weeks later with a 27-9 victory in Shreveport, La.
Notre Dame and LSU have hooked up nine times, with the Irish winning five. Neither team has won more than two in a row in the series.
The Irish won 3-0 in Notre Dame Stadium in 1970. Quarterback Bert Jones, who would finish fourth in the 1972 Heisman Trophy balloting, led the Tigers to a decisive 28-8 victory over the Irish in Death Valley in 1971.
Ten years later, Gerry Faust made his Irish coaching debut in Notre Dame Stadium with a 27-9 victory over the Tigers. The Irish also went into Death Valley three years later and came away with an improbable 30-22 victory. LSU was 8-3-1 in '84 while the Irish finished 7-5.
Notre Dame lost 21-19 in Faust's final home game at Notre Dame in 1986.
After splitting the regular season and Independence Bowl games in 1997, the Irish defeated LSU, 39-36, in Notre Dame Stadium in 1998. Notre Dame quarterback Jarious Jackson suffered a knee injury while taking a deliberate safety late in the game, which ultimately cost the Irish the following week in a 10-0 loss to USC.
• Charlie McClendon (1962-79) won 137, lost 59 and tied 7 as the head coach of the Tigers. Other head coaches at LSU included Paul Dietzel (1955-61), who was 46-24-3, Bill Arnsparger (1984-86), who was 26-8-2 and former Irish All-American guard Gerry DiNardo (1995-99), who was 32-24-1.
Nick Saban was a sparkling 48-16 in his five years in Baton Rouge from 2000-04.
• Famous alums, in addition to Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, were fullback Jim Taylor, who went on to star with the Green Bay Packers (while teaming up with former Irish great Paul Hornung); All-American safety Tommy Casanova; quarterback Bert Jones; running backs Charles Alexander, Dalton Hilliard, Kevin Faulk and current Indianapolis Colts rookie Joseph Addai; and defensive end Marcus Spears.
• LSU's all-time leading rusher is Kevin Faulk (4,557 yards, 1995-98), followed by Dalton Hilliard (4,050 yards, 1982-85) and Charles Alexander (4,035 yards, 1975-78).
• No LSU quarterback has thrown for 10,000 yards in his career. The closest was Tommy Hodson, who threw for 9,115 yards from 1986-89.
• First-round draft picks from LSU since 1966 include offensive tackle George Rice (1966), quarterback Bert Jones (1973), defensive back Mike Williams (1975), defensive tackle A.J. Duhe (1977), running back Charles Alexander (1979), wide receiver Wendell Davis (1988), linebacker Eric Hill (1989), running back Harvey Williams (1991), wide receiver Eddie Kennison (1996), tight end David LaFleur (1997), offensive lineman Alan Faneca (1998), nose guard Anthony McFarland (1999), wide receiver Michael Clayton (2004), defensive end Marcus Spears (2005) and running back Joseph Addai (2006).
• LSU head coach Les Miles became the winningest first-year coach in Tiger history when they won 11 games in 2005. He also became the only coach in school history to defeat Florida, Auburn and Alabama in the same season.
• LSU will be making its 38th bowl appearance when the Tigers take on Notre Dame on Jan. 3. LSU is 18-18-1 in its previous 37 bowl appearances, including 5-7 in the Sugar Bowl. Notre Dame is 13-14 in bowls, including eight straight losses.
The Tigers have won seven of their last nine bowl games, including a 40-3 victory over Miami in the Dec. 30, 2005 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
In LSU's last appearance in the Sugar Bowl, the Tigers claimed the 2003 BCS national championship with a 21-14 victory over Oklahoma.
• Irish offensive coordinator/running backs coach Mike Haywood spent eight seasons at LSU as running backs coach and special teams coordinator from 1995-2002. Haywood coached under DiNardo and Saban.
• Former Notre Dame assistant coaches who also served at LSU include Kurt Schottenheimer (the brother of San Diego Chargers head coach Marty), Kirk Doll and Joe Wessel.
• Notre Dame's president is Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.; LSU's president is Dr. William L. Jenkins.
• LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri left Notre Dame to join the Tigers after leading the Irish to eight straight NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the 2002 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.