As tropical storm Lee pummeled the Gulf Coast with rain on Saturday, another more terrorizing force pounded through Cowboy Stadium in Dallas. The LSU Tigers were a big question mark in the SEC prior to Saturday’s game. Not only had they lost several key players, but they were forced to start Jarrett Lee in the quarterback slot after yet another LSU Quarterback demonstrated his affection for becoming part of the judicial system.
The game in Cowboy Stadium pitted the fourth-ranked home-team Tigers against the third-ranked visiting Mighty Ducks of Oregon. It was to be a battle between two BCS Championship level teams; each vying for a chance at the trophy later in the season. Both teams knew that a loss here would not bode well for their chances of making it to the Championship. The Ducks came to the game wanting to prove their toughness by defeating one of the premiere teams in the SEC. The Tigers came to the game wanting to find out if Duck tasted like chicken.
In the end, Lee proved himself to fans and teammates by becoming the quarterback the team needed. During the post-game press conference, LSU coach Les Miles noted that while he always had faith in Lee, he was a little worried at first if Lee could handle the pressure. “Look, the kid has come through for us many times in the past. But tonight was different, I mean it’s one thing to face the Gators, Bulldogs, or Razorbacks. The kid could go into those battles with a smile on his face, and the confidence that comes with knowing he was confronting a worthy opponent.
“But a Duck? Hell, I don’t care how ‘mighty’ they are, you are still pitting a Tiger against a friggin’ Duck! The entire team had to prepare themselves emotionally for this game. It’s one thing to fight a worthy opponent; but to many of the guys, it was more like they were going in to beat up a bunch of Girl Scouts and steal their cookies. I got boys playing that worked as volunteers after the oil-leak in the Gulf awhile back. Them boys have hearts as big as houses, and they remember each and every one of the ducks they saved by washing the oil out of their feathers.”
By the end of the first half, it was over for the once-mighty Oregon Ducks. Many on the team were watching their dreams of victory slip through their fingers in the same way the football continually slipped out of any Oregon player’s hands. Others stood amazed as they saw former Oregon fans begin to take off their team logo clothing and put on LSU colors. Amidst the sadness on the Oregon bench there was one soul in the stadium happier than all others.
During an interview towards the end of the game, Jerry Jones was asked how it felt having two of the most powerful teams in college football playing in his stadium. Jones stated that he was ‘enthralled by the professionalism and sportsmanship of both teams’. However, the Tigers had really won him over and made him realize something he no longer believed was possible in this world: That a home-team could win in Cowboy Stadium!