LSU survived a major scare in College Station on Saturday as Les Miles and Co. defeated Texas A&M 24-19.
It was another strong defensive effort for the Tigers, especially in the second half, as the Bayou Bengals forced Johnny Manziel into four turnovers and rendered him ineffective after the Aggies' strong first quarter.
But the Tigers head back to Baton Rouge with a major issue on offense: they just can't move the ball through the air.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger was just 11 of 29 passing for 97 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. If not for Jeremy Hill's 127 yards and one score on 18 carries and Michael Ford's 78 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes, even a typical dominant effort from the John Chavis defense may not have rescued LSU in College Station.
The Tigers head into their bye week with a lot of work to do offensively. But how much can practice really help at this point after eight games?
Mettenberger has not been able to get comfortable as the team's starting signal-caller. And while poor play at the receiver position and average pass-blocking up front have not helped the cause, Mettenberger still does not exhibit good pocket awareness, decision-making or accuracy. While he is capable of finding his receiver in stride every once in awhile, too often he overthrows his target. He's shown he can make plays through the air, as evidenced by his touchdown pass to Kadron Boone. But the aerial attack has too often been anemic. And it doesn't appear that it's going to change anytime soon.
LSU needs to run the football more than it throws. That's obvious. When you have a dominant defense such as the Tigers, ball-control becomes the No. 1 priority. But against Alabama, a one-dimensional offense won't cut it. For Tiger fans, it's scary to see the team's final audition look so shaky from an offensive standpoint heading into a showdown with the nation's best team.
Unless Mettenberger and the rest of the unit pick up their play, how well can this team move the football against 'Bama at home on November 3?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave