We didn’t beat the LSU Pro-Stars, the eventual illegitimate S.I.A.A. champions (but not the Champions of the South, by God!), in 1908. But at least we beat them, if you know what I mean.
In what has to be one of the greatest examples of the perils of the old-timey practice (especially at Auburn) of spectators sometimes crowding the sidelines (and shoving cops out of the way) for a better view to the extent that they actually affected the game itself—Auburn legend Mike Donahue had to urge students to stay back even during practices—here’s chief LSU cheater Doc Fenton remembering his doomed punt that resulted in an Auburn safety during LSU’s 1908 game vs. the Tigers Above Reproach in Auburn:
“That game wasn’t played on a football field. It was more like a sand hill. Fans were crowded all around the field and you had that hemmed-in feeling. A rope was the only thing that held them back
“I was kicking from behind my own goal and an Auburn tackle broke through to block it. The ball was bouncing around so I picked it up and was getting ready to run it out of the end zone when a fan reached over the rope and cracked me over the head with a cane. It knocked me out cold.”
But c’mon, Doc—it’s not like you couldn’t afford medical treatment! And who knows if that’s even how it went down—there are a couple of conflicting-ish accounts about that particular play, though the Glomerata’s assertion that it should have been a touchdown, not a safety, would seem to jive with Fenton’s recollection (even if the history of the end zone, which wasn’t established until 1912, doesn’t).
Of course, the alleged assault is just one tidbit from what was universally acknowledged to be the most violent (and vanishingest) football game between college teams, or even a college team and a pro team, ever played in the Loveliest Village. Auburn had three players knocked out, and one player kicked out for going at it with some professional LSU maniac named Gandy (“That Gandy had some temper…”), who had apparently once tossed an opposing player into the school’s band.
But what Clyde Bolton says happened at halftime is the best part:
LSU retired to a room near the field for halftime. Auburn students rocked the tin roof throughout the intermission. LSU Coach Edgar Wingard, in a unique psychological move, had his wife come to the dressing room to exhort the players to die for LSU.
Seriously—I mean, what were they paying you for?!
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