GREATEST MOMENTS | When UAB beat Nick Saban's SEC team

If Nick Saban and LSU were looking for an easy homecoming win on Sept. 23, 2000, the Tigers picked the wrong pushover.

Saban, LSU's first-year head coach, had scheduled a non-conference opponent between SEC games against Auburn (a loss) and Tennessee (a win). And why not UAB? The Blazers hadn't had a winning season since moving to Division I-A in 1995.

But the Blazers came up with the biggest win in program history, a moment judged the school's greatest in sports.

And they didn't just beat LSU, they dominated. The Tigers committed nine turnovers — five fumbles, four interceptions — and 13 penalties. The Blazers led 10-0 at halftime and won 13-10 on Rhett Gallego's field goal as time expired.

The Blazers finished 7-4 that season, their only losses at Kansas by three points on a late 50-yard field goal and to three bowl-bound teams that finished a combined 24-12. Three defensive players were drafted by NFL teams, including first-rounder Bryan Thomas, who played 11 seasons at defensive tackle for the New York Jets.

It was also the beginning of the Saban Dynasty. LSU fell to 2-2 after losing to UAB, but in 14 SEC seasons (five with LSU and nine with Alabama) Saban has lost only 34 games — nine to non-conference opponents, including bowl games.

“It was pretty quick to figure out he was a pretty good coach because they beat [No. 11] Tennessee and [No. 13] Mississippi State in the next month,” Gallego told LSU Now in 2013. “You sit there and win our ballgame, and then you’re watching them winning these games ... It made us realize, well, he is pretty good. But so are we.”

Beating Saban put UAB football, which returns in 2017 after a two-year hiatus, in elite company.
• More great moments in UAB sports history

Above: That's not a typo but the final score on Sept. 23, 2000: UAB 13, LSU 10. (Courtesy UAB Athletics)

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