Louisiana State University

1972 - 1976  Tigers  "Bert Jones"
(Authentic Reproduction)




For the first time, LSU supporters noted that LSU had adopted a logo that was placed on each side of their iconic helmet. The Green Bay gold shell with white one-inch center stripe and three-quarter-inch purple flanking stripes, now had a purple circle type of logo that featured a fierce Tiger head and gold LSU lettering within the circle. Just as the Notre Dame contest defined the ’71 season, it was the clash with Ole Miss that would make 1972 notable. All American QB Bert Jones, throwing for 1406 yards and fourteen TD’s surpassed a number of school and conference marks on his way to a ten-year NFL career, nine as a star with the Colts and he was the team’s focus, as usual, facing off against the Rebels. For fifty-six minutes, LSU was under the thumb of their rivals and with 3:02 on the clock trailed 16-10. The final drive began eighty yards from victory and with only one timeout to assist. On a fourth-down Jones pass to WR Jimmy LeDoux with fifty-nine seconds remaining, the Tigers stayed alive. LeDoux had appeared in a nationally televised game wearing a jersey emblazoned with “It’s a Girl” to mark the birth of his daughter and he and Gerald Keigley were Jones’ favorite receivers throughout the season. Tiger TB Chris Dantin, who ran for 707 yards in ‘72 rushed the ball to the Ole Miss twenty with ten seconds remaining. A penalty brought the ball to the ten with but four seconds to go. An incomplete pass to LeDoux left one second on the clock and Ole Miss howled about the inaccurate time keeping, insisting that the play had run out the game clock. With TB Brad Davis in the slot, Jones pushed the ball to him between defenders and he fell backwards across the goal line and the extra point made it a 17-16 miracle comeback win. So bitter were the Rebels that for a number of years, official highway signs at the Mississippi border stated, “Entering Louisiana. Set your watches back four seconds.” A loss to Alabama and a 3-3 tie with Florida left the Tigers at 9-1-1 and earned a Bluebonnet Bowl match-up with Tennessee, a 24-17 loss that put a damper on a fine season. The trademark LSU defense that again finished in the top ten against scoring, was led by All American LB Warren Capone, DT Tyler Lafauci, and DB Mike Williams, the first African-American to play for LSU. 




Bert Jones could have been considered somewhat of a consolation prize for LSU. The “Ruston Rifle” was a great high school player and the son of former professional great William “Dub” Jones who had been with Paul Brown at Cleveland and had scored six TD’s in one game. With rival QB Joe Ferguson of nearby Woodlawn H.S. in Shreveport as everyone’s top recruit, Jones wound up at LSU only because Ferguson chose Arkansas. Plugged into Coach McClendon’s offense that required the quarterbacks to run the option and often keep the ball, Jones was a pocket passer who was out of place, leading to some confrontations with his head coach. When asked about Jones, McClendon once said, “Bert wasn’t the most coachable player I’ve ever had” and Jones countered with his comment that the best part of his collegiate career at LSU was “getting out.” Yet Jones was an All American who flourished and as a senior, threw for over 1400 yards, contributing to his 3225 yard total at LSU. Jones was an excellent leader and the only LSU QB to be a consensus All American. The number one draft choice of the Colts, he played with them from 1973-81 and was named the NFL’s MVP and the Offensive Player Of The Year in 1976 after throwing for 3104 yards and twenty-four touchdowns. He spent one season with the Rams before retiring due to injury. Many believe that in the offenses of today’s era, the unique skills that Jones possessed would make him one of the greatest of all time.



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One would think a 9-2 season and major bowl bid would please everyone but with multiple reasons to rejoice, there were serious doubts as the Tigers’ performance fell off badly at the end of the 1973 season. Losing 21-7 to second ranked Alabama was acceptable but losing 14-0 to Tulane, the first time the Green Wave could claim victory over LSU since 1948 was a tough pill for most backers to swallow despite Tulane’s resurgent 9-3 record. The stout Bengal defense led by Bo Harris, CB Mike Williams, and All American LB Warren Capone who starred for the WFL Birmingham club before playing a year each with the Cowboys and Saints held undefeated Penn State’s Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti to only fifty yards rushing in a 16-9 loss in the Orange Bowl. “Miracle” Mike Miley who had backed-up Bert Jones yet was athletic enough to play DB in 1972 became the QB, often throwing to Bert’s younger brother Ben while TB Brad Davis and frosh Terry Robiskie handled the rushing duties. The collapse at the end of the season was to some a logical expectation after giving up twenty-four first downs and 432 yards to South Carolina in a win earlier in the season. As versatile Tyler Lafauci, who had played offensive guard as well as DT in his Tiger career graduated as an Academic All American and became a physical therapist, many thought that Coach Mac’s recruiting wasn’t bringing in Lafauci’s level of player. 1974 Was the Chinese Year Of The Tiger but with a team that finished at 5-5-1, not necessarily the year of the LSU Tiger! Coach McClendon switched from the I-Formation to a variation of the popular Veer to take advantage of a bevy of fine runners including Carl Otis Trimble, LSU’s first African-American QB and mainstay signal caller Mike Miley who later signed with the Angels of Major League Baseball but unfortunately perished in an automobile accident in 1977. The Veer got off to a great start, rushing for a new school record 437 yards against Colorado in the opening game but the absence of a passing attack and the frequent ball handling required of the new offense led to forty-nine fumbles, twenty-nine of them going to opponents. All SEC RB Davis captured the LSU career rushing mark at 2165 yards, surpassing Billy Cannon. After two years with the Falcons, Davis became a successful dentist. HB Robiskie continued to develop and DB All American Mike Williams was the team Defensive MVP, following with an eight-year career with the Chargers and getting a ninth with the Rams. The defense was led by All SEC defensive lineman Adam J. Duhe and LB Bo Harris who played with the Bengals from ’75 through 1982.  


The Veer was scrapped before the ’75 season began after the tailspin of ’74 and a Multiple-Offense was in, yet the record dropped to 4-7 as the Tigers lost four of their first five games. QB Pat Lyons threw for almost 1000 yards and TB Terry Robiskie was consistently effective despite the relatively poor record. The strength of the defense was in the line as Duhe recorded sixty-two tackles and Steve Cassidy and Dan Alexander often played inspired ball. The 16-6 loss to Mississippi State brought a raft of criticism. 1976 brought improvement to 6-4-1 but it came on the heels of a downward negotiation of Coach McClendon’s contract. Robiskie finished his career as the Conference MVP and was the first LSU player to rush for more than 200 yards in a game when he put up 214 against Rice. His career mark of over 2500 rushing yards was also a school record. Robiskie played with the Raiders and Dolphins in a five season pro career and has been a long time NFL assistant, serving as interim head coach for three Redskins games in 2000. Charles Alexander hardly waited in the wings, rushing for 888 yards as Robiskie’s heir apparent. Dan Alexander and A.J. Duhe completed their careers with Alexander playing for the Jets for thirteen seasons on the offensive line and Duhe a popular DE/LB with the Dolphins from 1977-‘84.

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