For all you big-time stats guys, I decided to take a look at Halloween in terms of Southeastern Conference football. So here are some treats for you (sorry no tricks).
OLE MISS vs. LSU (1959)
One of the biggest plays in SEC history happened on Halloween night and it was courtesy of one of the conference’s greatest players. Back in 1959 No. 1-ranked LSU faced No. 3 Ole Miss in Baton Rouge. Both teams were undefeated as well. Both teams had allowed just one touchdown each coming into the game, so scoring would be tough. Ole Miss led 3-0 with about 10 minutes left in the game when the great Billy Cannon fielded a punt on a bounce at the 11-yard line. Then he juked defenders, dragged defenders and escaped them as well before he darted the rest of the way and scored from 89 yards out to give the Tigers a 7-3 lead. Ole Miss tried to score late but was stuffed at the goal line on a fourth down play by Cannon and fellow defender Warren Rabb.
Cannon won the Heisman Trophy in 1959. He is the only LSU player ever to win the award. He dominated the voting. Here are the top three:
- Billy Cannon (LSU): 1,929 points
- Richie Lucas (Penn State): 613 points
- Don Meredith (SMU): 286 points
The punt return is tied for the sixth longest in school history. Here is that list:
- Eddie Kennison (1994 vs. Mississippi State): 100 yards
- Chad Jones (2009 vs. Mississippi State): 93 yards
- Tyrann Mathieu (2011 vs. Arkansas): 92 yards
- Kenny Knox (1949 vs. Tulane): 92 yards
- Craig Burns (1970 vs. Mississippi State): 90 yards
- Billy Cannon (1959 vs. Ole Miss): 89 yards
- Odell Beckham, Jr. (2012 vs. Ole Miss): 89 yards
GEORGIA vs. FLORIDA (1931)
The Georgia-Florida rivalry was very young. The 1931 game was just the 11th time the two had played each other or just the 10th time according to Florida (the Gators don’t count the 1904 encounter). This game was not played in Jacksonville. It was played in Florida’s hometown of Gainesville, Fla. The stadium was rocking and set a then school-record of over 20,000 fans. Florida hadn’t loss to the Bulldogs in the previous three outings (two wins and a tie). But it was the Dawgs who prevailed 33-6. The Bulldogs had 336 yards of total offense, all of it courtesy of the run. Five different players scored for Georgia.
- Lloyd Gilmore: 1-yard run in first quarter
- Norman Mott: 55-yard run in second quarter
- Jack Roberts: 47-yard run in second quarter
- Homer Key: 20-yard run in third quarter
- Joseph Whire: 9-yard run in fourth quarter
This rivalry has been played in Jacksonville 80 times. It has been played in Gainesville just twice. This win mentioned above on Halloween was the only time the Bulldogs have ever won in Gainesville.
TENNESSEE vs. SOUTH CAROLINA (2009)
Earlier this season, the Tennessee Volunteers defeated No. 11 South Carolina. It was the first time the Volunteers had defeated a ranked team in 19 games. The last time they won was against No. 21 South Carolina. That game was played on Halloween in 2009. The Vols came out in black tops and orange pants. It was the first time wearing the black tops since 1922.
Tennessee looked good in all areas in the 2009 game. On offense they had two touchdown passes by Jonathan Crompton and two touchdown runs by Montario Hardesty. On defense they forced four turnovers including two fumbles on a five-play stretch. The Volunteers won 31-13.
Tennessee loves Halloween. They have a 12-3 record on games played on Oct. 31. Here are their wins on Halloween:
- 1903: 10-0 vs. Nashville
- 1908: 6-5 vs. Georgia Tech
- 1914: 67-0 vs. Chattanooga
- 1925: 12-7 vs. Georgia
- 1931: 25-2 vs. Duke
- 1936: 46-0 vs. Georgia
- 1942: 26-0 vs. LSU
- 1953: 20-6 vs. North Carolina
- 1959: 29-7 vs. North Carolina
- 1970: 41-7 vs. Wake Forest
- 1998: 49-14 vs. South Carolina
- 2009: 31-13 vs. South Carolina
I can’t mention Alabama without talking about Nick Saban. This Halloween happens to be Saban’s 62nd birthday. It is fitting since most teams appeared scared when they face Saban. He is arguably the best head coach in the college game today. He has won four national championships including two straight with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Saban is also one of two head coaches that have won SEC Championships with two teams. He won with both LSU and Alabama. Paul “Bear” Bryant is the other. Saban’s team has always been a team with a quarterback that doesn’t make mistakes, a strong running game and a dominant defense. I will repeat that, a STRONG defense. Since taking over the Crimson Tide in 2007, Saban and Alabama have posted 12 shutouts. That is four more than any other team in the FBS. Here are the 12 games in which there have been shutouts.
- 2007: none
- 2008: vs. Arkansas State and Auburn
- 2009: vs. Chattanooga
- 2010: none
- 2011: vs. North Texas, Vanderbilt and LSU in BCS Championship
- 2012: vs. Western Kentucky, Arkansas, Western Carolina and Auburn
- 2013: vs. Ole Miss and Arkansas
Here is a breakdown of Nick Saban at each school that he has been a head coach.
- At Toledo: 9-2
- At Michigan State: 34-24-1
- At LSU: 48-16
- At Alabama: 71-13 (not counting the 5 forfeited wins)