The LSU Tigers responded in the way you would hope coming off the loss to UCLA, by getting the win in their home opener. Head coach Ed Orgeron is 15-1 coming off a loss with the lone loss coming last year against Alabama after losing to Texas A&M the week prior. The Tigers defeated McNeese 34-7 but the win felt more like a loss.
When it comes to playing an FCS team, you either dominate the game or expect a lot of questions to follow. This game served as the first opportunity to address the warts that showed against UCLA. The team couldn’t protect the quarterback or run the ball effectively. They couldn’t stop the big plays down the field or in the running game. Some of those issues were corrected, while others need a magnifying glass as we look under the hood of this team.
Since LSU won their game, we will start with the good from the 27-point win over the Cowboys from nearby Lake Charles, Lousiana.
The Good: Defensive performance, Kayshon Boutte, and Cade York
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Starting on the defensive side of the ball, there was plenty to be excited about. The performance we expected to come from that side of the ball happened. Outside of a couple holding calls by the standout cornerbacks and a long screen pass, it was all smiles for Ed Orgeron.
Maason Smith and Andre Anthony seemed to live in the backfield in this game. When the game was well in hand, the dogs went hunting for the quarterback. Cody Orgeron was pounded time and time again by this defensive front. The defense ended the night with 21 pressures, eight sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, and three passes batted down. Going into week three, they have something to build on.
Kayshon Boutte was Kayshon Boutte in this game. He didn’t rack up a ton of yards in this game as it felt like the coaching staff was convinced they were going to run the ball in this game. He caught four passes for minimal yards but two touchdowns giving him five on the season. Boutte showed by he is the featured playmaker on offense once again.
Cade York continued to show why he is viewed as the best kicker in the nation. He nailed both kicks in this game, setting a new Tiger Stadium record. The old record was set by York himself, earlier in the game. When called upon, you can almost bet it is going through the uprights.
Let’s tackle the bad
The Bad: LSU’s Running Game
(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
Over the years LSU has prided itself on running the football. The team used backs such as Kevin Faulk, Leonard Fournette, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and many more. However, this current team doesn’t seem like they can get any traction in the running game.
Through the first two games, the Tigers are averaging just two yards per carry. They have yet to score on the ground and are averaging just 87.5 yards per game. Most of which came against McNeese, they totaled 126 yards but it took them 36 carries to get there. The backs managed a few big runs but are seemingly stuffed on every other attempt. That needs to change.
The passing game wasn’t much better but they were able to score through the air. The offense tallied 380 total yards against a defense that surrendered 472 the week prior, not a great look for a team as talented as the Tigers. The offensive execution has to be better moving forward.
Finally, we have the ugly
The Ugly: The offensive line
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
U-G-L-Y. This offensive line doesn’t have an alibi, it was ugly in the first two games. Especially against the McNeese Cowboys.
The offensive line, more specifically Charles Turner surrendered the most pressures for the second-straight week. After giving up 12 pressures against UCLA, the Tigers gave up another 11 pressures. With quarterbacks not having any time to throw and no running game, it makes it increasingly difficult on the quarterbacks.
As ugly as the offensive line was, the inability to convert on third downs stood out. The team converted just four of 16 attempts. On the opening drive, the team was zero for two, needing two fourth-down conversions to score. While they were able to convert against McNeese, the schedule gets that much more difficult in two weeks.
LSU did win the game but it sure felt much worse with how the offense looked on the field. There are more questions that need answers against Central Michigan this Saturday.