Ranking the 10 best defenses in LSU history

Whether it was Paul Dietzel, Charles McClendon, or Nick Saban, many LSU coaches have had the comfort of a strong defense.
In some cases, it led to a national championship.

Here, I’m going to talk about some of LSU’s best defenses. I haven’t put them in order because it’s hard to compare defenses from different times.

In the end, all of these pieces are good.

I tried not to use a lot of units from the same year over and over again. For example, from 1958 to 1962, LSU had four of its best defenses. Here, we only have a few of those groups.

Here are the 10 best defenses that LSU has ever had.


Without putting the numbers into context, this was LSU’s best defense ever.

The Tigers gave up only 2.9 points per game, which was a record for the team. Over the course of the year, opponents only completed 33% of their passes, and LSU let them gain 1,432 yards.

Based on Sports Reference’s corrected scoring, LSU’s team was the best in the country, more than three points better than Ole Miss, which was in second place.

LSU had five shutouts and only two games where they gave up more than 10 points.

This defense was better than the one that won the national championship the year before, but LSU couldn’t win again because of problems on offense.


This group was strong.

It was led by Tyrann Mathieu, who was a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Morris Claiborne, a strong corner, and first-round pick Eric Reid also played on defense.

That’s before we even talk about Brandon Taylor, Tharold Simon, and Ron Brooks, who are all defensive backs. A group of three people who were able to stop 21 passes

Up front, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, and Michael Brockers each had at least 10 tackles for loss. Bennie Logan and Kendrick Adams added 13 more tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.

With 4.1 yards per play, the group was second in the country.

This was LSU’s best defense in recent memory, but it wasn’t enough to beat Alabama, whose defense was just as good, because LSU’s attack was too slow.


LSU hasn’t had a better mark in the last 45 years than 242.8 yards allowed per game.

It had the second-best DSRS in the country and had six games where it gave up 10 points or less, including a shutout of Kentucky.

In the Sugar Bowl, LSU only let No. 11 Notre Dame score 14 points. Even though No. 3 Auburn only scored seven points, LSU’s offense only scored three.

Glenn Dorsey, a star defensive tackle, was in charge of this group up front. LaRon Landry was in charge of the second team.


This was LSU’s best run defense ever. The Tigers only gave up 52.2 yards on the ground per game, and only two touchdowns came from running.

Mike Anderson, a star defender, and Tommy Casanova, a star defensive back, were in charge of the group. Both were named All-American.

Anderson made a stop on the goal line that helped LSU beat No. 6 Auburn.

With 25 interceptions, this team knew how to get the other team to make mistakes.

LSU led the SEC in scoring defense, giving up only 9.4 points per game. The team went 9-3 and finished in the top 10 of the final AP poll.


Before the 1980s, offenses weren’t as good as they are now, but the sport was starting to change. Defense got harder.

The defense gave up 336 yards per game the year before, but only 246.1 yards per game in 1982.

This year, LSU’s defense was the second-best in the SEC. The #1 Alabama and Florida teams could only score 10 and 13 points, respectively, against the Tigers.

Al Richardson, a defender, led the defense. In a game against South Carolina, he made 21 tackles, which was an LSU record for a single game.

LSU let Ole Miss run for 50 yards against them. That is also a record for a single game at a school.

LSU ended the year with nine wins, and head coach Jerry Stovall was named Walter Camp Coach of the Year.


In 1958, the LSU defense gave up the fewest points per game in the country.

LSU used a split defense in which different units changed places. This kept the players fresh, even though they were young and didn’t have much experience. LSU had four shutouts, and two of them were against teams that were ranked. Only once did it give up more than 10 points.

The Tigers won the national championship after going 11-0.


Including this unit might be a sign of recent memory bias, but the LSU defense in 2016 was very, very good.

LSU was second in the country in defensive SP+, and opponents could only get 4.8 yards per play against them. A few of these guys went on to play in the NFL.

Jamal Adams, Tre’Davious White, and Donte Jackson were all taken on the first or second day of the draft.

Davon Godchaux and Arden Key have done well in the NFL at the front of the team. With Duke Riley and Kendell Beckwith, this LB group was also pretty good. Down the stretch, Devin White also began to stand out.

Ed Orgeron doesn’t get the job at the end of the year if this defense doesn’t play well.


The LSU attack in 1908 was one of the best in school history, and the defense was just as good.

LSU won all of its games and had seven shutouts. Some of those teams were small, like New Orleans Gym Club, but LSU also played big teams and won the national championship.

This was one of LSU’s first great teams, and it helped put the school on the map. LSU gave up an average of 1.1 points per game, which was the second-lowest in the country.


In the 1990s, this was LSU’s best defense.

In terms of DSRS and points per game, the Tigers were fourth in the FBS.

Up front, Chuck Wiley and Gabe Northern made this group strong. LSU had seven sacks against South Carolina. That is tied for the most points scored in a single game by an SEC team.

On the year, LSU had 41 sacks. That was a program record at the time. LSU shut out No. 14 Arkansas, but their offense was only good for 40th in points per game, so they ended up with a 7-4-1 record.


In the 1930s, LSU had some good defenses, but this team has the most shutouts in a season with six. LSU never lost a game by more than seven points.

The Tigers gave up only 62.5 yards per game, which is the third-best mark in the history of the team.
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