Tiger Stadium was not very intimidating in 1999.

On this day in 1999, Kim Helton and the Houston Cougars beat LSU at Tiger Stadium, 20-7. The win assured UH of their second winning season in Helton’s 7 years.

The game did not start well for the Cougars. LSU drove 84 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession. Rondell Mealey finished it off with a 34-yard TD run. It was 7-0 Tigers and the sleepy, sparse crowd started to wake up.

But that would be all of LSU’s excitement for the night: for the rest of the game, the Cougars kept the LSU rushing attack in check: after the first series, LSU ran for -12 yards total. UH dared LSU starting QB Josh Booty to throw it while keeping everything in front of them.

Micah Malone tackles Jerel Myers

Jason McKinley led the Cougar offense on three-straight scoring drives in the first half – perhaps the best sequence of the ’99 season (and maybe the entire Helton regime). In those three drives, McKinley went 9/11 for 117 yards and a score.

Quarterback Jason McKinley

Perhaps as importantly, the three scoring drives took 14:32 off the clock and gave the Cougars a 17-7 halftime lead. And it made LSU head coach Gerry DiNardo panic: the Tigers threw it almost nonstop in the second half with very little success thanks to Dick Bumpas’ 4-2-5 defense.

The Cougar defense dominated that second half starting with Adriano Belli forcing a Booty fumble on the opening drive. LSU went 3-and-out on the next three drives for a total of -6 yards. The stadium emptied out as the game flipped to the 4th quarter.

LSU managed a four-and-out to start the 4th then threw three-straight interceptions. Booty committed the first (his 3rd turnover) before DiNardo pulled him for sophomore Rohan Davey. The Coogs teed off on Davey – in his 13 snaps, Davey was sacked 4 times and intercepted twice.

In the second half, Helton and OC Les Koenning were content to sit on their lead and run clock. Ketric Sanford finished the game with 105 yards and a score while “Big Back” Mike Green added 64 yards. Sanford converted seven crucial first downs as UH managed to control the clock for over 37 minutes in the game.

“Big Back” Mike Green tackled by Ryan Clark, who now works for ESPN / Shreveport Times photo

In the locker room after the game, Gerry DiNardo was fired by LSU as the Tigers turned their sights to Nick Saban. Kim Helton would last 8 more days as the UH head coach before being dismissed by Chet Gladchuk.


Houston / LSU Box Score

 Team Totals HOUSTON LSU 
   Rushing 11 
   Passing 15 
   Rushing Attempts 50 17 
   Average Per Rush 3.4 1.8 
   Rushing Touchdowns 
   Yards Gained Rushing 178 63 
   Yards Lost Rushing 32 
   Completions-Attempts-Int 19-27-0 24-43-4 
   Average Per Attempt 7.5 6.9 
   Average Per Completion 10.7 12.3 
   Passing Touchdowns 
   Total offense plays 77 60 
   Average Gain Per Play 4.9 5.4 
Fumbles: Number-Lost 0-0 1-1 
Penalties: Number-Yards 5-40 4-44 
PUNTS-YARDS 8-381 7-286 
   Average Yards Per Punt 47.6 40.9 
   Net Yards Per Punt 37.6 33.1 
   Inside 20 
   50+ Yards 
   Fair catch 
KICKOFFS-YARDS 5-317 2-130 
   Average Yards Per Kickoff 63.4 65.0 
   Net Yards Per Kickoff 52.4 65.0 
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD 4-54-0 2-20-0 
   Average Per Return 13.5 10.0 
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 2-55-0 
   Average Per Return 0.0 27.5 
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD 4-18-0 0-0-0 
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD 0-0-0 0-0-0 
Miscellaneous Yards 
Possession Time 37:03 22:57 
   1st Quarter  7:57  7:03 
   2nd Quarter 11:57  3:03 
   3rd Quarter  9:42  5:18 
   4th Quarter  7:27  7:33 
Third-Down Conversions 8 of 19 2 of 11 
Fourth-Down Conversions 0 of 1 0 of 2 
Red-Zone Scores-Chances 3-3 0-1 
   Touchdowns 1-3 0-1 
   Field goals 2-3 0-1 
Sacks By: Number-Yards 4-23 2-1 
PAT Kicks 2-2 1-1 
Field Goals 2-2 0-0 
Points off turnovers