Golden Football Magazine
From the Football Archives
Interesting Story: You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
Tommy Hodson started from the very first game of his redshirt freshman year, 1986. But it was his fifth game that season that solidified his place as team leader.

The Tigers were in Lexington for their annual battle with Kentucky.

  • As usual, the Wildcats couldn't match the talent of most SEC teams but played hard, physical football.
  • Coached by Jerry Claiborne, who played for Bear Bryant at UK, they always seem­ed to give LSU a hard time regardless of the records of the two teams.
  • The fired-up Wildcats played their usual aggressive, physical game. Players on both sides had to be restrained at times, but the game never got out of hand.

The play that started an improbable chain of events occurred on LSU's first series of the game with the 12th-ranked Tigers already trailing 7-0.

  • Hodson got off a pass just before blitzing LB Carwell Gardner belted him under the chin and slammed him to the turf. Tommy bit through his tongue and came out of the game.
  • The trainers took him into the locker room. Hodson: I was kind of out of it. I hit my head on the ground pretty hard, and I didn't know if I had a concussion. He numbed it and put some deadening stuff in there. And he put three stitches on top and two on the bottom and closed it up.
  • Because he wore a mouthpiece, none of Tommy's teeth were impaired. His jaw also survived except for a small scar under his chin that can still be seen to this day.
  • The Tiger O sputtered while Hodson was out. Mickey Guidry completed 8 of 11 for 57y but didn't put any points on the board.
  • So when he returned to the bench midway through Q2, Coach Bill Arnsparger or­dered him onto the field. I thought I was going to sit out the rest of the game. ... I was groggy, and I don't remember some of the plays. I just went in there and started throwing the ball around and didn't care about much. I don't think my mind was right.
  • Hodson returned to action with 6:34 left in the half. He led the Tigers 51y in six plays and ended the drive with a 10y pass to Garland Jean Batiste. However, Ron­nie Lewis missed an EP for the first time in his collegiate career.
  • Moments later, a bad decision by the punter gave LSU the ball on the UK 39 with 0:28 on the clock. After fielding a high snap, Jeff Nelson appeared to have enough time to boot the ball but instead ran and was tackled for a 3y loss.
  • Tommy completed two passes to Wendell Davis, one for 22y and the other for 16y, to set up Harvey Williams' 1y scoring run. The Tigers tried for two, but Hodson overthew Sammy Martin in the EZ. In the span of 71 seconds, LSU turned a 7-0 deficit into a 12-7 halftime advantage.
  • Davis: Tommy came back in and took control of the game. To see him come back in the condition he was in gave us a spark. You see a guy calling the plays like that, it means something. He's a leader. Whatever he says, goes.
  • Williams: When he came in, it was like he was in the Twilight Zone. We couldn't un­derstand what he was saying because of the stitches I guess. When you see a guy play like that, it picks you up.

The second half brought more Hodson heroics.

  • After Kentucky took the second half kickoff and drove 81y to regain the lead, 13-12, Tommy directed a 66y drive in eight plays that culminated into an 8y TD pass to TE Brian Kinchen. Along the way, the flinger from Central Lafourche High School com­pleted passes of 15y to Williams and 36y to Rogee Magee. Again, the two-point try failed. LSU never trailed again.
  • The Wildcats pulled with 18-16 with 9:01 left in the game, but Hodson then engi­neered a 75y march for the clinching TD. Looking to run down the clock, the Tigers tried to stay on the ground. But Tommy decided to throw on 3rd- and-5 from his 30. He found SE Tony Moss on a deep out pattern for 24y to the UK 46. The Tigers kept in on the ground from there until Eddie Fuller burst up the mid­dle untouched from the 16. David Browndyke, subbing for Lewis, kicked the EP for a 25-16 advantage with 3:00 left.
  • Kentucky had two more possessions but couldn't mount a scoring threat.

For the night, Hodson completed 16 of 24 for 255 and no INTs in the 25-16 victory.

  • Arnsparger: Tommy did a real good job. He saw the field real well, and he was able to pick out the receviers. It was a tough game, but we knew it would be coming in. He showed his toughness tonight. He played well in a difficult situation.
  • Dr. William Carona, LSU's team dentist: It was a gutty way to play. He was tongue-tied for 45 minutes, and he was groggy. What we did to fix him up was pretty gruesome, but it worked.
  • Claiborne: Like I said all week long, LSU has excellent personnel. They were able to beat us on fade patterns. You have to give them credit: They made some good passes and some great catches. That's why they're the No. 12 team in the country. We tried to do the things we normally do, regardless of who the QB is. I thought the other guy (Guidry) did a good job when he was in there. They're an excellent team, and I think their depth helped them tremendously tonight.
Reference: Tales from the LSU Sidelines, Lee Feinswog
Tommy Hodson
Tommy Hodson
Bill Arnsparger
Bill Arnsparger

Wendell Davis

Harvey Williams
Brian Kinchen
Brian Kinchen

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