BATON ROUGE, La. -- An ecstatic Reggie Reginelli, who had just scored two touchdowns to lead Tulane to the biggest win of his career, stood in a madhouse of a locker room and tried to put the upset of LSU into perspective.
'I wanted nothing else than to go out as a winner,' said the senior fullback, who rambled 31 yardsdown the sideline for the deciding touchdown in a 31-28 victory over the sixth-ranked Tigers Saturday night.
'Now I can say I beat LSU three out of four times. Not too many other people can do that.'
Reginelli, who scored Tulane's first touchdown on a 7-yard run in the opening period and then tallied the winner with 5:15 left in the game, said LSU -- which entered the game with visions of gaining massive revenge for last year's 48-7 loss -- was unable to cope with an inspired Green Wave team that scored at the end of the first half to forge a 14-14 halftime tie.
'I think they were shellshocked after the first half,' he said. 'It was amazing. They didn't know what to do. I knew coming out in the second half that if we jumped on them right away, we'd be alright.'
Orange Bowl-bound LSU, 8-1-1 entering the game and heavily favored against a 3-7 Tulane team, had the lead three times in the game -- only to see the Wave fight back behind the pinpoint passing of Mike McKay, who completed his last 10 tosses and threw three touchdown passes.
'The thing that hurt LSU is they couldn't jump on top right away,' said McKay, who completed 23 of 31 passes for 234 yards. 'They wanted to blow us out, not beat us.'
'That's the greatest effort I've ever seen on a football field,' said Tulane Coach Vince Gibson, whose job reportedly was on the line before the game. 'They refused to quit. That's the greatest win I've ever been a part of.'
LSU Coach Jerry Stovall called the loss 'a major disappointment,' but said his players should not have any trouble getting mentally prepared for the Orange Bowl battle with Nebraska.
Meanwhile, Orange Bowl officials sat in shocked silence in the press box.
The win, the first for Tulane at Tiger Stadium in 34 years, matched the 1973 Green Wave feat of knocking off an LSU team headed for the Orange Bowl.
The Wave won because of the passing of McKay -- who took advantage of Tiger blitzes to throw short slant-ins to Robert Griffin and Reggie Butts, who combined for 107 yards on 12 receptions -- and a sturdy defense that slowed down LSU's high-powered offense.
Tulane defenders concentrated on tackling freshman sensation Dalton Hilliard around the chest, knowing other teams had been victimized by Hilliard's ability to break ankle tackles, and held him to 24 yards rushing.
Fellow freshman tailback Garry James became the Tigers' main weapon, exploding for 166 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns, including a 68-yard touchdown run early in the final period that gave LSU a 28-24 lead.
LSU quarterback Alan Risher opened the scoring on a 1-yard sneak, but Tulane tied the score on a 7-yard run by Reginelli.
James leaped through a stack of tacklers and exploded down the sideline for 20 yards to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead in the second period, then McKay tossed a 2-yard play-action pass to tight end Jay Rhodes with 49 seconds left in the half to knot the score at 14.
McKay lofted a 5-yard scoring pass to flanker Wayne Smith in the corner of the end zone to give Tulane a 21-14 lead halfway through the third period, only to have James tie it with a 1-yard run.
Tulane's Tony Wood then kicked a 42-yard field goal, but James answered 24 seconds later with his 68-yard run.
The winning touchdown came on a fourth-and-three situation for the Wave as McKay found Reginelli in the flat with a swing pass and the fullback broke through a pair of tacklers and scampered along the sideline into the end zone.
'This is the greatest win I've ever been a part of,' Reginelli said. 'Nobody expected us to win. Nobody. My parents didn't expect us to win.'