When Kansas hired Les Miles to be their football coach, everyone knew that he had a high pedigree and that he’d won a National Championship. Let’s dive into that 2007 season before getting to the highlights of Miles’ only championship.
First, the losses. And these are what the BCS committee would consider “good” losses, especially given the circumstances. Both of LSU’s losses were in triple overtime. One was on the road to #17 Kentucky and the other was at home to rival Arkansas. Their 11 wins prior to the national title game came by an average of 19 points per game, a stat the BCS must have loved at the time. Over the course of that season, LSU beat #9 Virginia Tech, #12 South Carolina, #9 Florida, #18 Auburn, #17 Alabama, and #14 Tennessee before they even got a chance at the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes in the title match. Impressive.
Now, on to the game, and like the year before at the 2007 Sugar Bowl, the Tigers would be playing right in their own backyard of New Orleans in the Superdome. The Buckeyes were 11-1 and boasted wins over four top-25 teams on their way to a Big 10 title, and Ohio State started the game like they were going to steamroll yet another opponent.
It was 10-0 Buckeyes after the first quarter with a 65-yard touchdown run from Chris Wells setting the tone early. He scored with only 1:19 expired from the game clock. The Buckeyes tacked on a field goal to make it 10-0 after the first frame.
But that’s when LSU got started. LSU quarterback Matt Flynn threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter, with the first one a 13-yard strike that finished off an impressive 84-yard drive that got LSU on the board for the first time.
That was the first of 31 straight points scored by the Tigers.
Sandwiched between Flynn’s second and third TD passes was a rushing touchdown from Jacob Hester. It was 31-10 LSU, and they were on their way to another National Title. They went on to win 38-24 and Les Miles became a champion.
But again, it would be a disservice not to mention the LSU defense and special teams. They blocked a field goal in this game as well as picking off two Todd Boeckman passes and forcing two fumbles. The defense dominated after that initial 10-0 deficit. In the postgame, Miles said, ”We felt like they could not throw the football against us well enough to win the game, that they’d have to run it. And we felt like we’d eventually be able to turn that down, as well.” He was right.
Some were questioning LSU’s title credentials, seeing that they were the first team in the BCS era to reach the title game with two losses, but the wins in the SEC against ranked opponents week in and week out proved to be a trend that we would see in college football for awhile.
Finally, after doing research for this article, I came across this line on ESPN.com and I might have shed a small tear: “Southern California, Georgia, West Virginia, Kansas and Missouri all put on impressive shows in bowl games, and will be among the favorites in 2008.” In fact, Kansas and Hawaii were the only teams to finish the 2007 season with one or zero losses, and four schools received first-place votes in the AP Poll following the BCS Title game: LSU (60), Georgia (3), USC (1), and Kansas (1).
Holy moly, that seems like forever ago. But now, KU has a national title coach in charge and hope can rise again.