Posted on: January 8, 2011 3:09 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
LSU takes an 11-point lead into halftime after a critical Ryan Tannehill interception, and never looks back in a 41-24 victory.
Offense: Where on earth did that come from? "That" meaning: the nation's 87th-ranked offense, taking on an explosive and talented Big 12 defense, unloading a 446-yard, 41-point barrage that looked more like something we'd expect to see Monday night than tonight. For 60 minutes, the usually error-prone and conservative LSU attack -- remember, this is the same team that gained only 282 yards and scored just four touchdowns against Alcorn State -- lived up to every ounce of its vast potential.
Shall we count the ways? Jordan Jefferson had what may have been the best game of his career, throwing for three touchdowns to MVP Terrance Toliver and terrorizing A&M with his legs; aided by a dominant line, running backs Stevan Ridley and Spencer Ware each went over 100 yards, the latter on just 10 carries; and offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, less-than-popular amongst the LSU faithful these days, kept the Aggies off-balance all night with an expertly-called game. The Grade here is an easy A.
Defense: The LSU defense had a few shaky moments early on, as the Aggies showed a little bit of balance of their own to score 17 points (and miss a field goal) on their first four possessions. But from there, it was all Bayou Bengals as the Aggies' final seven drives ended interception, interception, punt, punt, touchdown, interception, fumble.
Leading the way was, predictably, an LSU cornerback ... but maybe not the one you're thinking. Freshman Tyrann Mathieu clinched the game with a pair of second-half turnovers, the first a diving interception of Tannehill and the second a smooth strip-and-recovery that would have given him a fumble returned for touchdown if not for an LSU penalty. And it was fellow freshman defensive back Eric Reid that made the play of the game, intercepting Tannehill and returning the ball to the Aggie 2, setting up the touchdown that would stretch LSU's lead to two possessions for good. By that point, any sins to open the game had long since been forgiven. Grade: B+
Coaching: Crowton had arguably his best game since the 2007 national championship, and despite the lingering concerns that Les Miles might be plotting an escape to Michigan, the Mad Hatter had his team ready to play their best game since at least the win over Alabama. No complaints here. Grade: A
Offense: Give A&M some credit: as athletic, well-coached, and just plain fast as LSU's defense is, 24 points and 351 yards aren't anything to sneeze at. Despite the presence of Drake Nevis and Kelvin Sheppard in the front seven, Cyrus Gray still got his school-record seventh-straight 100-yard rushing game, and the Aggies finished with only one fewer first down than LSU, 24 to 23.
But none of that mattered half as much as the four turnovers, particularly the backbreaking Reid pick just before the half, which robbed the Aggies of a shot to take the lead and instead sent them in at halftime down 11 with LSU getting the ball. Tannehill had a tremendous half-season after taking over the starter's job, but this wasn't his best night. Grace: C+
Defense: It's pretty simple: when you've let an offense as moribund as LSU's walk all over you the way LSU's did -- when Jordan Jefferson has looked like a world-beater, when Gary Crowton looks like a genius, when with the game slipping away in the third quarter you allow them to embark on a 12-play, 59-yard march that eats up 7 minutes of clock -- then you have had bad, bad night. Von Miller was his usual self -- a sack and three tackles-for-loss -- but even he couldn't do it alone. Grade: D+
Coaching: Not many in-game decisions from Mike Sherman and his crew seemed like particularly egregious mistakes, but clearly something went awry in the Aggies' defensive game-planning for LSU to put together the kind of performance they did. And while the attempt to keep Gray involved and the offense balanced in the fourth quarter makes a certain kind of sense, a little more desperation (read: passing) would have been needed to actually turn the thing around. Grade: C
FINAL GRADE: The first quarter made it seem the game would be a classic; the second quarter made it seem it would still be competitive; the third made it look like A&M would need a miracle; the fourth was just garbage time. Oh well. Grade: B-
Posted on: December 2, 2010 12:03 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 12:12 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Whether it is the crazy clock management, the ambiguous quotes, or stuffing his face with grass from the field, it is hard to see past Les Miles on the LSU sideline. But as any Tigers fan, after another season of offensive frustrations all of the attention in Baton Rouge is on offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. The Tigers have finished near the bottom of the SEC in total offense the last two seasons, and currently rank 107th of the 120 Div. 1-A schools in passing offense. Whether it was Jordan Jefferson or Jarrett Lee under center, the Tigers offense often failed to match the play of their defensive counterparts.
The frustrations have magnified in 2010 after the Tigers fell just one score short in each of their two losses. No matter what the team's attitude is towards their bowl game, it will still feel like a disappointment to much of the fan base. But try and ask Miles about Crowton's future, and he will certainly indicate where his attention lies.
"I've got to be real honest with you, I don't want to talk about that," Miles said when asked about Crowton's status in a meeting with reporters Wednesday afternoon in the LSU football facility. "Endorsement, no endorsement — all those things are really without relevance at this point to me. This is about preparing a team for a bowl game, period. I think our offense has gotten better. And I think that our team is maturing."
The offense has gotten better late in the season. For the first time since 2007, LSU put up 430+ yards of offense in back-to-back SEC wins. In 2009, LSU only broke the 400 yard mark against Tulane. Much of the production has been thanks to an improved running game led by Stevan Ridley. The junior running back scored 10 touchdowns in the last six games of the season, and broke the 1000 yard mark for the first time in his career. Whether the late-season improvements will be enough to keep Crowton on the payroll could be determined by the bowl game. I would take this time to suggest to the coordinator that last impressions are lasting, and running up the score in the bowl game may not be a bad idea.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 4:40 pm
Posted by the College Football Blog Staff
Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that Les Miles wouldn't be the coach that screwed up the endgame the worst during Tennessee-LSU? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week. Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.
Utah punishes every single "win-go-up, lose-go-down" poll voter by dropping their night game at Iowa State, 31-20. The previously comatose Cyclone defense comes to life against the Utes, sacking Jordan Wynn four times and picking him off twice. The exasperated Utah coach, Kyle Whittingham, will blame the pollsters for Utah's upset loss, saying "I wasn't the one telling my guys they were the tenth best team in the [censored] nation." -- Adam Jacobi
Washington State slows down and upsets Oregon in Martin Stadium, claiming their first conference win with a 24-0 victory over the Ducks. The shutout will be thanks to the defense who, despite starting the day ranked 118th in the nation in yards allowed per game (509.8), shut down the best offense in nation by simply putting 11 linebackers on the field at all times. -- Chip Patterson
Michigan's defense actually shows up to play on Saturday, allowing Denard Robinson to see even more snaps behind center. The end result is a 600-yard performance from Robinson as the Wolverines coast to a surprisingly easy 42-17 victory over Michigan State, giving Denard an even firmer grasp on the Heisman Trophy. -- Tom Fornelli
Michigan and Michigan State's defenses completely shut each other down in a 3-2 Spartan victory in the Big House. Denard Robinson attempts to run 18 times, but is only held to 14 yards. Braylon Edwards gets behind the wheel and drives the Spartans back to East Lansing, hitting every bar on the way. At 73 mph. -- Chip Patterson
A week after having a huge day in a losing effort against Michigan, Indiana's Ben Chappell does even more damage in the Horseshoe. Chappell picks the Ohio State secondary apart for 520 yards and 5 touchdowns. Terrelle Pryor's leg injury reappears and the Buckeyes offense has absolutely no answer. The Hoosiers shock the world, picking up what would be considered the biggest win in the program's history. Final score: Indiana 45, Ohio State 31. -- Tom Fornelli
Oregon pours it on hapless Washington State for the full 60 minutes and becomes the first I-A team to hit the century mark since Houston beat Tulsa 100-6 in 1968. LaMichael James reclaims the top spot in Heisman consideration with 532 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Oregon cruises, 113-0. -- Adam Jacobi
The game between LSU and Florida is an all-time epic performance that will be talked about 50 years from now. The game goes back and forth as the offenses take turns destroying the defenses, and the defenses respond in kind. Finally, in the fourth quarter Jordan Jefferson takes the field with LSU down 24-20 and two minutes left on the clock. He has yet to throw an interception as the Tigers begin their drive. They enter get inside the Florida 20-yard line as the clock goes under the minute mark. Les Miles stands on the sidelines with no worries in the world. Amazingly, he still has all three of his timeouts left. He uses them well, and Gary Crowton calls the perfect plays as Jefferson hits Terrence Toliver for the game winning touchdown with 12 seconds left. LSU wins 27-24. -- Tom Fornelli
In a scene reminiscent of the realistic football documentary Varsity Blues, the Texas Tech players rise up in mutiny against head coach Tommy Tuberville at halftime as they trail Baylor 21-3. Red Raiders QB Taylor Potts makes one call on his cell phone, and five minutes into the third quarter, Mike Leach parachutes onto the field, delighting the Cotton Bowl crowd. Leach, seeing no sheds present at the game, has WR Adam James locked in a bathroom stall for the rest of the game. Leach re-installs the spread, Baylor's defense is overmatched, and the Red Raiders prevail 34-31. -- Adam Jacobi
South Carolina upsets Alabama 28-24 after Mark Ingram has his 5th fumble of the game on the goal line in the final seconds. Trent Richardson, who had 250 yards rushing in the game, erupts with rage that he did not get a chance to win the game himself. In the locker room, things get heated. Our own Tom Fornelli emerges from Richardson's locker and pins Ingram's arms behind his back, allowing Richardson to head-butt Ingram and knock the Heisman Trophy winner to the ground. Alabama coach Nick Saban suspends Ingram for the confrontation, claiming "the kid showed no fight." -- Chip Patterson
Tags: Adam James, Alabama, Baylor, Ben Chappell, Braylon Edwards, Denard Robinson, Florida, Gary Crowton, Houston, Indiana, Insane Predictions, Iowa State, Jordan Jefferson, Jordan Wynn, Kyle Whittingham, LaMichael James, Les Miles, LSU, Mark Ingram, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Leach, Nick Saban, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Taylor Potts, Terrelle Pryor, Terrence Toliver, Texas Tech, Tommy Tuberville, Trent Richardson, Tulsa, Utah, Washington State
Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
I start this post off with that highlight of Jordan Jefferson 's 83-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter because since then this game has been a whole lot of ugly. LSU has 216 yards of offense in the first half, but once you remove Jefferson's run from that total, it becomes a lot less impressive. Instead it's been more of the same things we saw against West Virginia last week.
The Tigers have turned the ball over twice, and when they weren't turning it over they were spending their time dropping snaps, passes, or just plain overthrowing receivers by 20 yards. In other words, Jordan Jefferson is putting the entire repertoire on display this afternoon.
Why Les Miles and Gary Crowton do anything other than hand the ball to Stevan Ridley, I'll never know.
The good news for LSU is that its defense is still its defense. Tennessee managed to score a touchdown late in the first quarter, but the majority of the time the Vols have been peeling Matt Simms off the ground. The LSU defensive line is manhandling Tennessee's offensive line, and they're making Simms pay just about every time he drops back to pass.