LSU Alumni to Celebrate Cannon and Stovall
BATON ROUGE — Tiger football greats Billy Cannon and Jerry Stovall will be the featured guests at the LSU Alumni Association’s Sports Legends series Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Andonie Museum on the University campus. It is free and open to the public.
LSU Alumni Association members will be given an opportunity for autographs and photographs at the event. Non-members can join the Association to participate.
Baton Rouge talk show host Jim Engster will interview the former Tiger All-Americans, highlighting their college and pro careers. Both are members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Cannon was the 1959 Heisman Award winner. Stovall was the runner-up for the Heisman in 1962.
Arguably, Cannon and Stovall were two of the most versatile players in LSU history. Both were starting left halfbacks for three straight seasons. Both played offense and defense., and excelled as ball carriers and pass receivers. Both punted, returned punts and kickoffs. Cannon also had opportunities for passing and place kicking.
Cannon played on LSU teams in 1957-58-59 that compiled a 25-7 won-loss record and won SEC and national championships in 1958. He passed for the game’s only touchdown and kicked the extra point in the Tigers’ Sugar Bowl win over Clemson after the ’58 season. Stovall followed in Cannon’s footsteps in 1960-61-62 on teams that finished 24-6-2 and tied for the SEC title in 1961.
Stovall was a unanimous All-America selection in 1962, the winner of the Walter Camp Award as the nation’s best back, and Player of the Year in the SEC. Like Cannon, he was famous for some big plays.
Stovall gained 190 yards in thirteen carries, a 14.6 average, against Ole Miss in 1961-62. Jerry’s 57-yard run against Ole Miss in the 1961 game triggered a 10-7 LSU win. His 98-yard kickoff return against Georgia Tech in 1962 led the Tigers to a 10-7 win over the Yellow Jackets in a nationally-televised game. Stovall was a member of LSU teams that recorded the Tigers’ first back-to-back bowl victories — the 1962 Orange Bowl and the 1963 Cotton Bowl.
In 1958-59, Cannon was a consensus All-America selection , and voted the nation’s Outstanding Player by United Press International. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior and as a senior, he became only the second SEC player to win the Heisman. Cannon is best remembered for his 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss in 1959.
He burst onto the college football scene with a scoring flourish as a sophomore in 1957. Cannon made two long touchdown runs — 53 yards and 73 yards — against Alabama. A week later, against Texas Tech, he caught a pass and hurdled a defender on a 59-yard scoring play and returned a kickoff 97-yards for a touchdown.