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Rabalais: Saints alive! Overtime victory over Cowboys is one worth savoring

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Saints quarterback Drew Brees looks for a receiver against the Cowboys on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Just before kickoff, the familiar chant went up from the plaza to the terrace, lusty and defiant and just a tad liquored up on Hurricanes: “Who dat? Who dat? Who dat say they gonna beat dem Saints?” Six years ago, it was former LSU and Cowboys linebacker Bradie James who offered a stinging retort after Dallas… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Hope the Tigers learned something from this snoozer of a win over Eastern Michigan

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU safety Jamal Adams (33) celebrates with LSU linebacker Deion Jones (45) after Jones' interception and touchdown against Eastern Michigan, Saturday, October 3, 2015, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Zzzzzzzz. Um, sorry. I dozed off during the early part of my column. Kind of took my cue from the LSU Tigers’ effort Saturday night against Eastern Michigan. Hey, guys, a little knowledge for you: Just because your school paid a $985,000 guarantee to the Eagles to play this game, there’s nothing in the contract that says it guarantees… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Look for Leonard Fournette to end one strange week with a bang against Eastern Michigan

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU wide receiver Travin Dural (83) blocks Syracuse cornerback Julian Whigham (1) as Syracuse cornerback Corey Winfield (11) attempts to stop LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) during the first half Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in the Carrier Dome. LSU won 34-24.

In a stunning rejection of sports-minded smarty pants everywhere, Leonard Fournette apparently will play in Saturday night’s LSU-Eastern Michigan game. And the game after that. And the season after that. This is good if you love LSU football since Fournette may well be, well, the best Tiger football player since a certain Halloween ghost wearing No. 20 was… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Five reasons to watch LSU play Eastern Michigan -- maybe 'the worst team to ever play in Tiger Stadium'

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) breaks free on his 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, pursued by Syracuse safety Rodney Williams (6) (blocked by LSU wide receiver Travin Dural (83) and safety Chauncey Scissum (21) in the second half Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 in the Carrier Dome. LSU beat Syracuse 34-24, and Fournette had two touchdowns.

LSU plays Eastern Michigan in football Saturday in Tiger Stadium. Plays with Eastern Michigan would probably be more accurate, like that big scratched up ball that Mike the Tiger bats around his enclosure when he tires of raw meat. The Eagles don’t exactly soar like their namesake. They don’t fare too well… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU running back Leonard Fournette keeps building his legend one dominant yard at a time

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) breaks free on his 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, pursued by Syracuse safety Rodney Williams (6) and safety Chauncey Scissum (21) in the second half Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 in the Carrier Dome. LSU beat Syracuse 34-24, and Fournette had two touchdowns.

Brandon Harris dropped back to pass, but before he could set his feet to throw, the pocket started to collapse around him like a poorly built tunnel. Leonard Fournette, who stayed close by as a safety-valve option on the second-and-8 play, circled behind his quarterback and frantically called to him. “Brandon!… Continue reading →

Rabalais: To the people of Syracuse, here’s to football, deep-fried fun and a return trip to Baton Rouge in 2017

Syracuse players and fans celebrate after Syracuses Jordan Fredericks, bottom, scored a touchdown in overtime of an NCAA college football game against Central Michigan in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Syracuse won 30  27. (AP Photo/Nick Lisi)

A message, to the good people of Syracuse, New York: Good day, everyone. The LSU Tigers come to your fair city Saturday for a collegiate football tussle with your Syracuse Orange. In the interest of cultural understanding and fair warnings — like our governor may show up as well and start campaigning for president — we send you… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Leonard Fournette is the Heisman frontrunner; here's what he has to do to stay there

LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) leaps into the end zone on a 29 yard touchdown carry in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. LSU won 45-21. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

With every bit of his brute strength, his slashing moves and his 0-to-60 mph acceleration aimed toward the end zone, LSU tailback Leonard Fournette stated his case Saturday to be the Heisman Trophy favorite. In his wake were all the other contenders and Rudy Ford, the big-talking Auburn defensive back who gave “matador defense” a… Continue reading →

Rabalais: It’s just about time to hide your eyes, Saints fans — in your old brown paper baggie if you still have it

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Henry Melton (90) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) celebrate the recovery of fumble by New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) stare in disbelief in the fourth quarter in the Superdome in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015.

If you’re a Saints fan, it may be time to reach into the top of your closet, push aside the unused ThighMaster and your old 8-track tapes and pull out that brown paper baggie you used to wear to the Superdome in the bad old days. After Sunday’s 26-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you may need… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Leonard Fournette turns in a Heisman Trophy-caliber showing that we won’t soon forget

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) celebrates as he leaps across the goal line at the end of his 29-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of the LSU-Auburn football game Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 in Baton Rouge, pursued by Auburn's  Blake Countess (24),  Cassanova McKinzy (8) and  DaVonte Lambert (6). LSU won 45-21, and Fournette had three rushing touchdowns.

First the jet flyover. Then fireworks. Then Leonard Fournette. Just as fast as Tiger Stadium’s fighter cover. Much more spectacular than daytime pyrotechnics. Saturday’s game was played in the broiling September sun because CBS figured this would be quite the Southeastern Conference showdown between LSU and Auburn. It wasn’t. LSU exposed Auburn as a… Continue reading →

Rabalais: For LSU, Saturday showdown with Auburn could be next step toward something special

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU head coach Les Miles talks with an official before the game against Mississippi State,

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. LSU Tigers and their rabid followers prefer to wait for the cover of night, a chilled alcoholic beverage in one hand and the remote in the other. But there are times when circumstances rule men, and their football aspirations, and not the other way round. The… Continue reading →

Rabalais: What LSU coach Les Miles really means in answers to 8 questions at weekly news conference

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU head coach Les Miles holds a press conference after practice Monday. Miles went to the hospital after having a migraine.

I missed Les Miles’ weekly news conference Monday flying back from Phoenix for the Saints-Cardinals game. We are still checking the rumor the Saints’ flight home came up short and landed in Baton Rouge, where they were forced to kick a field goal. I decided to peruse the Miles’ transcript and see… Continue reading →

Rabalais: These Saints weren’t great in Week 1, but not all gray skies over New Orleans

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman (16) dives in for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals strong safety Deone Bucannon defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Déjà vu is such an unpleasant experience. For the second straight season, the New Orleans Saints started their season with a rugged road opener. Last year, the result was a gutting of an overtime loss at hated divisional rival Atlanta. Sunday, it was a close-but-never-quite-good-enough 31-19 loss here to the Arizona Cardinals. Pushing… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU's Leonard Fournette makes all the noise on an ear-splitting night in Starkville

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) and LSU head coach Les Miles along with the rest of the team sing the alma mater after the game Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015 in Starkville. LSU won 21-19.

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The leader of Buga Nation was bent on full blown domination. He ended up praying for a way out of another fine LSU football fix. What did you do Saturday night? Leonard Fournette put the “man” in Heisman Trophy contender. He rumbled for a career-high 159 yards on a career-high 28 carries with a career-high three… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Expect some answers — finally — as LSU football journeys to Mississippi State on Saturday night

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU coach Les Miles and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux

By decree of the two most powerful forces in college football — meteorology and ESPN’s scheduling book — the LSU Tigers will be the last Division I team in America to officially kick off its season. When LSU and Mississippi State finally tee it up at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, everyone else will have started playing. This is… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why LSU's Brandon Harris 'more than ready' to take field against Mississippi State

Photo from Brandon Harris' Instagram -- LSU quarterback Brandon Harris

As the game against McNeese State on Saturday night turned into a game of waiting, some LSU players shed their pads and jerseys and tried to relax or even grab a nap. Brandon Harris never got out of uniform. Or out of character. He wanted to be ready to get back on the field if the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: ‘No contest’ raises stakes for LSU game at Mississippi State

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- From left, LSU quarterback Brandon Harris, running back Leonard Fournette and center William Clapp got precious few snaps Saturday against McNeese State before lightning nixed the season opener at Tiger Stadium.

The LSU-McNeese State game became a vapor Saturday night. A nothing, a no contest, a never was thanks to Saturday night’s lightning show that canceled the football show scheduled in Tiger Stadium. But even though it has been erased, all single game (and season win total) bets off, all stats reset to zero, that doesn’t… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Here's the good news -- and bad news -- after LSU's season opener vs. McNeese State zapped

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Lightning flashes across the night sky over Tiger Stadium which was part of the lightning delay during the first half of the teams' game Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015 in Baton Rouge.

Mike the Tiger, LSU’s temperamental mascot, made his first regal procession around Tiger Stadium since 2013. Unfortunately, he shook down the thunder and lightning with him. Long after Mike returned to his luxury lair, the crazy humans across the street were still staring up at the sky and squinting at radar screens, trying to figure out… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Another LSU football season is here, and it’s time for that magical run through the tunnel

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU players jump up during the pregame field ritual Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in Baton Rouge. LSU won 56-0.

Travin Dural couldn’t sleep Sunday night. “I was anxious thinking about it,” LSU’s sophomore wide receiver said the next day. “It” is the return of football season. The thoughts of running through that narrow concrete tunnel, under the goalposts, between the LSU band and their shiny brass instruments and drums, out onto the gorgeous green carpet of grass… Continue reading →

They said it: Here are Scott Rabalais' best college football quotes

To get you in the mood for the first college football weekend of the season, here’s my top 25 list (in no particular order) of some of the greatest college football quotes ever … 1. “You are looking live … !” - Brent Musberger 2. “You can learn more character on the 2-yard line than anywhere else in life.” - Paul Dietzel 3. “Because they… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: After health scare, Les Miles seems like his old playfull, willful, unconventional self

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- LSU head coach Les Miles holds a press conference after practice Monday. Miles went to the hospital after having a migraine.

Les Miles finally confirmed to the world who his starting quarterback will be Saturday against McNeese State, but he wouldn’t confirm whether he drove himself to the hospital Monday to get checked out after what reportedly was a migraine episode. Or that he even may have had a migraine episode. Or even that it was Monday. In… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Saints not happy with 0-3 start, but more concerned with 16 games down the road

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZA --  New Orleans Saints tight end Orson Charles (81) is hit by Houston Texans defensive back Darryl Morris (21) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, August 30, 2015.

Scurrying down from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s treehouse press box to Sean Payton’s postgame postmortem, I overheard a snippet of a discussion about the Saints in the wake of Sunday’s 27-13 loss to the Houston Texans: “So, you think we’ll win six games this season?” Summer’s still here and the time is right for panic in the… Continue reading →

Rabalais: A week before its season opener, LSU scores its first victory: A clean bill of health for Cam Cameron

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron

Cam Cameron already has the first win of 2015 behind him. At a hastily called news conference after Friday’s practice, LSU’s offensive coordinator talked openly and frankly about his recent diagnosis with prostate cancer and his determination to press ahead full speed with the season that starts only a week from now. Paul Dietzel once said… Continue reading →

Rabalais: What could've been? Four ex-LSU quarterbacks finding success elsewhere

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2014, file photo, Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel looks to pass against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football gamein Cincinnati. Kiel has a year of experience and a deep corps of receivers returning. The Bearcats are picked to win the American Athletic Conference in large measure because of a balanced and experienced offense. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

. Though LSU may have found its quarterback of the present and future with Brandon Harris, the Tigers’ quarterback woes have dragged on for a long time. Makes you wonder if LSU could have ever made something work with one of its former quarterbacks scattered around the country. Two former Tigers quarterbacks and a former… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Miles confirms what we thought: It’s Harris’ team ... for now

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- LSU quarterback Brandon Harris

Brandon Harris, it’s your team now. Late Tuesday night at a post-scrimmage news conference, LSU coach Les Miles, perhaps after gleaning the last bit of confirmation he needed from the Tigers’ final major preseason scrimmage, allowed what has seemed increasingly obvious: Harris has the lead in the quarterback derby with Anthony Jennings. Miles didn’t come out… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Why middle-of-pack outlook might not be so bad for LSU football

LSU quarterbacks Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings (Advocate file photo)

It’s hard to say LSU is flying under the radar heading into this football season. Last year’s 8-5 record wasn’t quite as dire as the downturn we’ve seen in the stock markets the past few days. LSU — as evidenced by the quotes on their recent visit from ESPN’s Rece Davis, Danny Kannell (who… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Ben Simmons as an LSU receiver? Crazy. But then again ...

LSU signee Ben Simmons

Imagine this Jim Hawthorne call on a sultry Saturday night in Tiger Stadium … “First-and-goal at the 3 … Tigers come to the line … Brandon Harris lines up in the shotgun … He has Fournette offset to his right, with two wide outs to each side with Ben Simmons on the far left … Here’s the snap,… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: Here's what you should make of Saints' preseason 'loss' to Patriots

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- New Orleans Saints tight end Josh Hill (89) makes a touchdown in the second quarter while New England Patriots strong safety Duron Harmon (30) defends as they play at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome  in New Orleans, La. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. It was the Saints third touchdown of the game.

Drawing conclusions from the preseason is a perilous exercise. Usually, there are important subtexts at play that outweigh the final score. The shadow game behind the game is the one that’s important. On the face of it, Saturday night’s 26-24 loss to the New England Patriots was for the New Orleans Saints a second straight come-from-ahead defeat. But it… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU's Tommy Casanova glaring omission from anniversary All-American team

The Football Writers Association of America on Thursday unveiled its 75th anniversary All-American team. A panel of sportswriters who cover college football picked 75 players on the first, second and third teams who played over the last three-quarters of a century, dating back to just before the start of World War II. From the start, a list like this has an impossible… Continue reading →

Rabalais: How outcome of trendy debate on cost of college attendance could affect LSU

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Athletic Director Joe Alleva.

And the money kept rolling out in all directions To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray But that’s not the point my friends … — From “Evita” The money… Continue reading →

When it comes to LSU’s national titles, what defines a champion?

Apparently, Alabama State Sen. Tom Whatley isn’t too worried about Louisiana transplants living in his voting district. Whatley is reportedly working on a resolution to get Auburn to recognize seven football national championships other than the two it is generally recognized having won in 1957 and 2010. That includes a national title in 1958, the year another… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Leonard Fournette stays grounded

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Sophomore running back Leonard Fournette, left, hands an autographed football to young fan Brookleigh Buford, 7, of Lake Charles during LSU's 2015 Fan Day on campus Sunday.

And on the seventh day, LSU’s Garbo talked. The last anyone heard from Leonard Fournette was at Southeastern Conference Media Day about a month ago. Since then, LSU coach Les Miles had his star running back off limits to the media. Maybe it was the red pants and matching red bow tie Fournette wore… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Pressure leading to different kind of preseason for LSU

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Head coach Les Miles surveys the action, on the first day of practice at fall camp Thursday at LSU 's Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

Were Winston Churchill covering LSU football, he might have been inspired to opine thusly: “From the railroad tracks near Nicholson Drive, to Tiger Park, an iron curtain has descended across the LSU football program.” OK, maybe it’s not that dramatic, but it has been a curiously quiet week for the team on Skip Bertman Drive. LSU players haven’t… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: ESPN crew says LSU has lots of weapons and, like other college teams, ‘so many unknowns’

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Running back Leonard Fournette carries at fall camp Friday at LSU 's Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

Not even recruits get to actually dine in LSU’s new locker room in Tiger Stadium. But there Les Miles was Thursday night, entertaining ESPN’s Rece Davis, Joey Galloway and Danny Kanell at a big round table, football talk and laughter ringing off the gleaming white jerseys arranged neatly in the lockers. As football coaches go, Miles is… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Preseason hype: Are you buying or selling?

August is the month for hot air. We’re talking not about the weather but about college football. You can find a rack of newspapers and magazines and a raft of websites devoted to how the Southeastern Conference will shape up this football season. It comes down to this: Are you buying each… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU’s Brandon Harris may be taking quarterback lead, but jury still out

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --  Quarterback Brandon Harris (6) hands off to running back Leonard Fournette (7), as fullback John David Moore (46) moves into position for blocking, at LSU's fall camp Friday at LSU 's Charles McClendon Football Practice Facility.

There’s no white smoke yet coming out of Les Miles’ office when it comes to this quarterback derby between Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. So we wait and we watch for hints, clues, tells as to what decision is blowing on the hot wind when it comes to this position battle on which so much of… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: LSU defense talks of trying to live up to the standard of the 2011 team

Advocate file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING  -- LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo (49) reaches for Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole in the second half of the LSU-Tennessee game Oct. 15, 2011, at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is at right. The 2015 LSU defense wants to live up to the 2011 standard.

After he got over the initial shock of being awarded the coveted No. 18 jersey, LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White thought of something that he hopes will make his honor a good luck charm for the entire defense. “The last time we had an 18 in the defensive backfield, LSU did some great things,” White said. That No. 18 was… Continue reading →

Scott Rabalais: As LSU Tigers report to campus, there are key issues that, gasp, don't involve the quarterback position

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture pressures New Mexico State quarterback Tyler Rogers last season in Tiger Stadium.

If there has been any significant sound generated by the rest of the LSU football team heading into preseason practice, it’s been hard to pick up, drowned out by all the noise concerning the quarterback melodrama starring Mr. Jennings and Mr. Harris. This may come as a shock, but Anthony and Brandon aren’t the only two players on… Continue reading →

Rabalais: Catch your breath, LSU fans — Dylan Moses’ decommitment shouldn’t be a surprise, and he likely still ends up a Tiger

Advocate staff photo by CATHERINE THRELKELD -- University's Dylan Moses forces Brusly's Connor Manola to fumble in September 2013.

What exactly did you expect from Dylan Moses, the highly sought-after University High football star who decommitted Monday from LSU? What did you expect from someone who committed to LSU, at 15, nearly FOUR YEARS before he could sign a national letter of intent? What did you expect from the nation’s No. 1 prospect for 2017, that… Continue reading →

Rabalais: LSU’s passing game struggles aren’t all on Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris — there’s plenty of room for everyone to improve

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron talks with players during LSU's spring game April 18, 2015.

The numbers translate into criticism, multiplying in a loaves and fishes sort of way. Volumes and truckloads and barges full of words about LSU’s quarterbacks, Messrs. Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. Little of it positive, other than shouts of “Put in Harris!” directed at the Tigers bench. It’s nice to be wanted. And the ire is mostly justified.… Continue reading →

Rabalais: They won’t face charges, but LSU football trio deserves more than ‘in-house discipline’ from coach Les Miles

LSU coach Les Miles (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

It turned out to be little more than a summertime squall. A little potboiler of an offseason drama that galvanized the attention of the LSU fan base and once again drew into question the discipline (or lack of it) of LSU football players, and whether justice is ever properly served when they are involved. East Baton Rouge… Continue reading →