http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085580/index.htm November 29, 1971 Irish Stew For Lsu Welcomed with a roar from the stands and at the goal line in Baton Rouge, Notre Dame found itself the entree in a Tiger feast William F. Reed PRINT EMAIL MOST POPULAR SHARE Before the long-awaited game down in the bayou country of Louisiana, Notre Dame Coach Ara Parseghian had tended to shrug off all those horror stories about what often happens to a visiting team in that hellhole known as Tiger Stadium. In his usual cool, analytical way, Parseghian pointed out that the Irish played in front of large, hostile crowds wherever they went, so he did not see any reason why LSU at home should be any worse than, say, Texas in the Cotton Bowl or USC in the Los Angeles Coliseum. After all, remember, this was Notre Dame—worldly Notre Dame—not some giddy little team that was apt to fall apart at the first chant of "Tiger bait, Tiger bait." When Parseghian expressed these sentiments shortly after arriving in Baton Rouge, some felt he was grossly underestimating the spirit with which the bayou country—and the LSU team—was approaching Notre Dame. To understand that you first must know that there are almost as many Catholics in southern Louisiana as there are LSU fans, and many of them are included in the Tigers' large, hysterical following. Also, more than a few of LSU's players came from high schools with names like Baton Rouge Catholic, Shreveport Jesuit and even Notre Dame of Crowley. Some had come to LSU four years ago just for the chance to play against Notre Dame. And so, since the Irish had edged LSU 3-0 last year in a memorable defensive struggle at South Bend, it was safe to assume that the Tigers and their fans were spoiling for a chance to get even on their own turf, before a national TV audience. As early as last summer all tickets were gone and bumper stickers inscribed GO TO HELL, NOTRE DAME could be found all around the LSU campus. The excitement and anticipation hadn't abated a bit last week, even though both teams had long since lost a chance for top national ranking or a major bowl bid. The Irish had been defeated only once, by USC 28-14, but in this year of ultra unbeaten teams, that one disaster was enough to relegate them to the lower reaches of the top 10 and out of the bowl scouts' hearts. So rather than play in, say, the Gator Bowl, the Notre Dame players last week voted not to accept any bids. Meanwhile, LSU, with a 6-3 record, was poised to accept a bid from the Sun Bowl in El Paso and thankful to get even that. All season the Tigers had been plagued by misfortune and stretches of ineptness. First, Colorado upset them at home in their opener. Then, in the second game, Tommy Casanova, the tall, handsome All-America cornerback, was sidelined with a hamstring injury. An expert runner, defender and punt re-turner, Casanova was considered a strong Heisman candidate, perhaps the best all-round athlete in college football. With Casanova out of the lineup, the Tigers were upset by Ole Miss 24-22. The next week he was back, but playing at less than full speed, and Alabama beat the Tigers 14-7. Since this was LSU's second home loss of the year, maybe Parseghian had reason to think that Tiger Stadium was just another bowl of concrete and steel. But Casanova was fit and ready for the Irish, and everyone was looking forward to his duel with Tom Gatewood, Notre Dame's brilliant split end. Last year Casanova held Gatewood to only 21 yards on four receptions. Unfortunately, some people remembered that less than his missed interception late in the game that paved the way for Notre Dame's winning field goal. "It was right in my hands," said Casanova, nervously cracking his knuckles as he recalled the incident again. "I've made that catch 100 times since then."