Classic Bowl Performances: Josh Reed is un-guardable vs Illinois in the 2002 Sugar Bowl

The NCAA needs to retroactively count bowl stats!

Classic Bowl Performances: Josh Reed is un-guardable vs  Illinois in the 2002 Sugar Bowl

Bowl season is here, which means now is the perfect time to jump in the way-back machine and re-visit some classic moments in bowl game history. I'll be dropping throwback highlight reels in here and on the YouTube channel over the next month to celebrate, and hopefully remind you just how fun these random matchups can be.


Happy New Year! Wishing nothing but the best for you and yours in 2024, and I can't wait for you to see the stuff I have dropping on the site this year!

Odell Beckham Jr. Ja'Marr Chase. Devery Henderson. Jarvis Landry. Justin Jefferson. Eddie Kennison. Dwayne Bowe. Brandon Lafell. Early Doucet. Rueben Randle. Michael Clayton. I could go on, but that's just a sampling of some of the remarkable talent that LSU's had at receiver over the last 30 years. You add this year's duo of Brian Thomas Jr. and Malik Nabers to the mix, and you've got a group that belongs right with USC and Ohio State when it comes to 'WRU' arguments.

But unless you're an LSU fan, you probably don't realize that none of the guys I just listed ended 2023 as the Tigers' all-time leading receiver. For 22 years, that distinction belonged to Josh Reed, who piled up 3,001 yards from 1999-2001. I say 'belonged to,' because Nabers broke the record against Wisconsin in the Reliaquest Bowl today:

Reed's LSU career included two 1,000-yard seasons, puncuated by an incredible 2001 where he won the Biletnikoff Award with one of the most ridiculous years you can ever imagine from an SEC receiver in that era. He had 94 catches for 1,740 yards (18.5 per catch), and seven touchdowns. He helped lead the Tigers back from a 2-2 start to a 10-3 finish, an SEC Title, and a win over Illinois in the Sugar Bowl. Look at how wild his game log from that season is; highlighted by his 19-catch, 293-yard game at Alabama:

Via Sports Reference

The craziest part is that those numbers should be even higher. The NCAA didn't start counting bowl stats until the next season, so his 14-catch, 239-yard, two-TD game vs. Illinois in the Sugar Bowl essentially doesn't exist - at least when it comes to career stats. If you're an adult like me, though, you understand that these things happened and should retroactively count! In reality, Reed had 108 catches for 1,979 yards and nine TD that year. With all due respect to Chase's unbelievable 2019 and what Nabers is doing right now, Reed should still be at the top of the LSU record books. Despite what the NCAA wants you to believe, this performance happened, and I've got the proof. Enjoy!