as unranked LSU upset #4 Florida, 24-13 at Florida Field (LSU's third straight win in Gainesville ).
Hilliard, and Garry James, had become household names to the Tiger Nation as two weeks earlier they rushed for 133 and 128 yards respectively in routing Oregon State, 45-7(LSU was the last SEC team to start play in 1982 starting on Sept 18). Then Rice was crushed, 52-13 the following week.LSU struggled with the same two in 1981 needing a last minute TD to top Oregon State,27-24 and never really could put Rice away 28-14 as LSU was en route
to a 3-7-1 record almost costing Stovall his job and did cost some of his assistants' their jobs after the humiliating loss to Tulane.
While not much was expected from LSU outside of Louisiana, Florida went into 1982 ranked #16. After an impressive home win on national television over then #10 Southern Cal, 17-9 to start the season ,the Gators moved to #10 themselves. Wins over a Jim Kelly led #15 Miami team and Mississippi State had the Gators ranked #4 as LSU came to town.
The 1982 season was still two years away from ESPN showing live games (they would show games in their entirity the following day and throughout the following week),the SEC game of the week (originally on WTBS) so even the top teams weren't on tv but maybe three times max during a season.I can't remember which one, but either WBRZ or WAFB worked out a deal with LSU,Florida and probably the SEC to show the LSU-Florida game live (while Tigervision was on in 1982,this game was not on Tigervision).
Florida moved the ball on their first possession and settled for a 28 yard field goal to go up 3-0.After that, it was all LSU.Hilliard scored on an 11 yard touchdown run and "Magic" Juan Betanzos added a 21 yard field goal and LSU led 10-3 after one.
While Hilliard got the headlines that day (and deservedly so)Alan Risher played a remarkable game,himself. The two hooked up on a 41 yd pass to make it 17-3. Risher did bobble a snap around LSU's own goal after a 70 yd Gator punt and the Gators smothered him in the endzone for a safety to make it 17-5. But that didn't turn things around for Florida.Indeed,Risher and Hilliard hooked up again for a three yard td pass as LSU went into intermission up 24-5. Image: http://goldenrankings.com/bngolden3/DaltonHilliardLSU1.jpg
LSU wouldn't score again and Florida got in the endzone until Wayne Peace hit Mike Mularkey with a little over a minute left. Those two hooked up for the two point conversion and the game ended shortly thereafter with LSU winning 24-13.(Mularkey had a pretty good NFL career as a player. In addition to two forgetful terms as an NFL head coach, he was Nick Saban's offensive coordinator at Miami in 2006 and Cam Cameron's TE coach in 2007 with the Dolphins.)
LSU cracked the top 20 (didn't go to top 25 until 1989) at #18 after the Florida win. Oddly enough, LSU rose to 16th
the following week after Tennessee and LSU battled to a 24-24 tie in what would have been the LSU program's 500th win.