HATTIESBURG, MS - "We had a lot of guys from that area and, I don't know, we just kind of felt like all year we were looking to that game," said former Southern Miss quarterback Heath Graham. "We really went into Baton Rouge believing we were going to win that football game."
November 12, 1994 is the last time LSU and Southern Miss met on a football field. It was the last game of the season for the 5-5 Golden Eagles that year while the Curley Hallman coached Tigers sat at 2-6.
Then-freshman quarterback Heath Graham and USM struck first.
"The first one, I hit Fred Brock for – I think it was like a 65-yard touchdown," Graham said. "It was a pretty long one."
77 yards to be exact. USM would keep the lead until LSU's offense eventually woke up. Down 18-17 in the fourth quarter, USM's Patrick Surtain made a game-saving interception, setting up Chris Pierce for a potential game-winning 52-yard field goal two minutes remaining.
LSU would later miss a 50-yard field goal under 30 seconds, sealing the 20-18 Golden Eagle win.
"LSU is an interesting place to play, to say the least," Graham said. "You have to know that the fans are going to be on you and it's going to be loud and they're going to be rude and crude. It's a hostile environment, there's no doubt. Our fans were there and they were representing. When the game was finally over, we went down to the corner where the fans were and a had big celebration."
It was a memorable way to finish the season for Southern Miss. For LSU, it signified the end of the Curley Hallman era. Hallman would be fired the following Monday but was allowed to finish out the 1994 season.
The Golden Eagles weren't new to upsetting big-time programs in 1994, but for Graham, he'll never forget that night in Tiger Stadium.
"I played at Neyland in Knoxville and I played at Florida, I played at Texas A&M, I played at Bryant-Denny in Alabama," Graham said. "But that stadium probably more than any is one that we'll get your juices flowing and makes your hair raise up on the back of your neck. When you walk that field, you just kind of remember the history that's taken place there."
Southern Miss and LSU kick off at 6:30 on Saturday night. The all-time series is tied 1-1.