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Tigers report: Inside slant

The Sports Xchange
 
Inside slant · Notes, quotes · Strategy and personnel
 

Coach Les Miles insists his focus was on the right game even though the Tigers hedged their bets a little when they visited Cotton Bowl representatives two days before playing in the SEC championship game.

Knowing the winner of the SEC championship game would move on to the Sugar Bowl and the loser might be scrambling for the best possible bowl, Miles accompanied LSU athletic director Skip Bertman to Dallas on Dec. 1 to meet with Cotton Bowl officials and lobby for a spot in their game.

Miles went after practice and said the only thing he missed out on was some family time. Still, when LSU lost 34-14 to Georgia in the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Saturday and immediately renewed its lobbying efforts with the Cotton Bowl, LSU fans had to wonder.

"It had nothing to do with the game plan and it had nothing do with expectations of the football game," Miles said. "We certainly came in expecting to win.

"Thursday night is my night off. I know those (Cotton Bowl) people. ... I felt rather than get to bed early I might accompany (Bertman)."

Miles said his decision had nothing to do with any concerns about losing to Georgia. Instead, he was just trying to take care of his seniors.

"I had 21 seniors who deserve a great bowl experience," Miles said.

Despite the efforts of Bertman and Miles, the 10th-ranked Tigers (10-2) still tumbled all the way to the Peach Bowl, where they will play ninth-ranked Miami (9-2) on Dec. 30.

The game will be played on the same Georgia Dome field where Georgia dominated LSU on Saturday, jumping out to leads of 14-0 and 21-7, sacking LSU quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn five times, knocking Russell out of the game with a shoulder injury, holding LSU to 74 rushing yards and pulling away in the fourth quarter when cornerback Tim Jennings intercepted Flynn's pass and scored on a 15-yard return.

"We're looking forward to taking the field again," Miles said. "We have a great group of seniors on this team, and we're fortunate to be playing in a bowl game that features a quality opponent in Miami."

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