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Happy Billy Cannon Day

The history of the SEC is long and rich, and today is a special day in that history. October 31 is synonymous with candy and ghouls to everyone else, but down here, it's synonymous with LSU's Billy Cannon.

Cannon is rightfully a legend in Baton Rouge, having led LSU to the 1958 national championship and won the UPI Player of the Year award that season. It was the following season, 1959, when Cannon's name and the last day of October became inextricably linked.

No. 1 LSU trailed No. 3 Ole Miss 3-0 early in the fourth quarter when Cannon fielded a punt at the Tigers' 11:


LSU would win the game 7-3 on the strength of Cannon's punt return touchdown and thanks to a goal line tackle that he assisted in making with 18 seconds to go. Sports Illustrated's following issue called it "the run of the year, the decade or, if you are an LSU fan, the century," and it turned out to be exactly right. That season he would again be named the UPI Player of the Year and he would take home LSU's first (and to date, only) Heisman trophy. Cannon's jersey No. 20 was retired after the season.

LSU has won two national titles in the 50 years since, but no one has forgotten Billy Cannon's Halloween heroics in the fall of '59.