LSU Gold

LSU Welcomes 2003 National Champions to Tiger Stadium

by Michael Bonnette
Feature Article +0
LSU Welcomes 2003 National Champions to Tiger Stadium

BATON ROUGE – LSU’s 2003 national championship football team – the squad that helped propel Tiger football to one of the nation’s premier programs for the next two decades – returns to Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.

Over 80 members of 2003 team, including quarterback Matt Mauck, along with All-Americas Marcus Spears, Corey Webster, Skyler Green and Stephen Peterman, are expected back on campus this weekend.

The 2003 team will be honored at halftime of LSU’s game against Florida as part of the squad’s 20-year reunion celebration. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

LSU’s 2003 national championship team won 13 games – a school-record at the time – and led the nation in both scoring defense (11.0) and total defense (252.0). Only one team scored more than 20 points against the Tigers, that coming in a 55-24 win over Arkansas in the regular-season finale.

LSU won 10 of its 13 games by double-figures which included a 31-7 victory over No. 17 Auburn and 34-13 win over No. 5 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. The Tigers also beat Alabama, 27-3, knocked off Eli Manning and No. 15 Ole Miss, 17-14, in Oxford and then clinched a berth in the SEC Championship Game the following week with the win over Arkansas.

Against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, running back Justin Vincent scored on an 87-yard run late in the first quarter to set the tone for a Tiger offense that racked up 444 total yards, including 293 on the ground.

LSU led 17-3 at halftime and then extended the margin to 24-6 on an 18-yard interception return by linebacker Lionel Turner. Vincent added a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach at 31-13.

LSU’s win over Georgia helped the Tigers move past Southern Cal to No. 2 in the BCS Standings, setting up the national championship matchup against top-ranked Oklahoma in the Superdome in New Orleans.

Against Oklahoma, Skyler Green scored on a 24-yard run in the first quarter followed by an 18-yard TD run by Vincent to help the Tigers to a 14-7 lead at halftime. LSU stretched the lead to 21-7 on the second play of the third quarter when Marcus Spears returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown.

Oklahoma got to within 21-14 early in the fourth quarter but the LSU defense turned the Sooners away at the 12-yard line and then again at midfield in the final six minutes of the game to claim the school’s first national title since 1958.

The Tiger defense held Heisman Trophy quarterback Jason White to just 102 yards passing and intercepted him twice as the Sooners managed only 154 yards of offense in the game. Vincent, who will be on hand on Saturday night, earned MVP honors, rushing for 117 yards and a TD in the victory.