Snapping the ball is hard. At least it was hard for the 1980 LSU Tigers. Vegas made the Tigers a two-touchdown favorite as they made the trip from Baton Rouge to Houston to face a Rice team that hadn’t beaten LSU since 1963. A year before in Baton Rouge the Tigers coasted to a 47-3 win over the Owls. In 1978, the last time the two teams met in Houston, LSU ran away with a 34 point win.
By 1980 the Owls were winless, and the Tigers were 2-1 looking to sweep past the Owls and take on rival Florida a week later.
If only the Tigers could’ve gotten the snap. Two LSU quarterbacks combined to drop five snaps resulting in one turnover, but that one turnover changed the game. LSU led 7-0 in the second quarter and looked primed to add to it on a second and goal play from the three, but quarterback Alan Risher dropped the pill on the snap and low and behold the plucky Owls, jumped on it, Clenzie Pierson to be exact.
What happened next was a rolling ball of butcher knives as the Owls ran off seventeen straight taking advantage of a discombobulated Tiger team that never regained its footing.
Owl kicker/tight end Robert Hubble drilled a 52 yarder, his first collegiate attempt and a school record to boot, to cut the Tiger lead to 7-3 and that’s how the game stayed for most of the remainder until the Owls got crafty. Head coach Ray Olburn called a fake punt on a fourth and four with less than five minutes remaining. Frank Wilson bulled his way for the four yards and Rice scored a few plays later to give them a 10-7 advantage.
LSU tried to must a comeback, but two botched snaps killed any hope of a comeback and the Owls, for good measure, got loose for an oh by the way touchdown with just under a minute to play. Calvin Fance scooted 24-yards for the score, and the Owls upset the Tiger 17-7 in front of 41,000 shocked fans.
LSU finished a respectable 7-4 while Rice ended 1980 with a surprising 5-5 mark.