Hello Tiger fans! The game of the year is upon us! Every time I think about it, revenge, hatred and confidence fuel through me. I can’t stand another loss but a win would put me in shock and then celebration for days. It’s Alabama tomorrow. That is the one fact I can’t get over.
Last year LSU only had six first downs all game and Leonard Fournette was hit in the backfield all night. We did not control the line of scrimmage and we have to do that this year. Canada must conjure up ways to convert on 3rd down; triple reverses, running back passes, anything to get the first down. Nick Saban has almost certainly schemed and found ways to stop the jet sweeps and screen passes. It will be the counter plays and the trickery that will get the nation’s best defense on their toes. He needs to recognize when Alabama over commits and figure out ways to take advantage. Danny Etling can hit the deep pass but we will need to short and medium passing game to be effective. This must be Etling’s defining game as an LSU Tiger.
Last year our defense played lights out and held Alabama to the lowest score of their season. We saw Dave Aranda’s wizardry first hand. We made turnovers, contained Jalen Hurts, and tackled them in the open field. This year, we must stop their rush. Our defensive line will need to play their hearts out. Aranda has had two weeks to scheme up stunts and blitzes for our linebackers. I can’t wait to see what our defense does tomorrow night!
Jalen Hurts doesn’t have the same ability to make plays with his arm as he does with his legs. This is our key to victory. Stop the run, force Jalen Hurts to pass, and let DBU take over. If this happens, we will have a game on our hands!
Did you know, Alabama has one of the worst special teams play in the SEC? It’s true and this may be an opportunity for LSU. We have come on strong with our punting, punt return and field goals. Could this be the difference in bringing on the upset? If DJ Chark gets into open space on a punt return, or we need Connor Culp to hit a field goal, then we have a critical advantage.
It’s the biggest game of the year and the deciding factor of our SEC west title run! After all of our troubles, could it really be! We can do it! If the players have the energy that I have right now anything is possible!
As of Coach O would say, GEAUX TIGERS!
Don’t forget penalties. The Tigers will hAVE TO BE UP, BUT NOT SO UP THAT THEY COMMIT PENLTIES. Bama is famous for getting favored calls, or it may be that they are so good that players have to go over the line to try to get the job done. If they can hype themselves while at once converting that enthusiasm to great play, then they certainly can win.
game went as I expected; LSU will not be able to beat Bama until they can find a QB that is a run threat. Maybe Micah Neese in 2024…..
Great post Micah, as usual. A few observations from the game that hopefully brighten an otherwise melancholy mood . . .
Bama is down 14 points if Hurts does not covert on 2 superstar/Heisman worthy 3rd down conversions:
1. Breaking away from Battle to turn a big loss into a 1st down.
2. Threading the needle for the 3rd and 9 completion to Sims in the middle of 3 LSU defenders (missing White’s hand by inches).
LSU is up by at least 3 if they convert on any 1 of 4 pass plays:
1. Any of the 3 deep balls to Chark (one good one that hurt Fitzpatrick, one over throw, and one under throw)
2. The Dee Anderson drop/miss near the sideline on 3rd and 7 at the ALA 39.
Two of those incompletions were on Etling and the other 2 were on the receivers (although the under throw that Chark dropped was some Etling). ALA is also down another 7 minus the interception by Harrison.
There were other big plays on both sides (like the Hurts deep ball to Ruggs on 1st down to set up ALA score), but the game came down to QB/reliever play on the above plays. Hurts turned 2 busted plays into big 3rd down conversions, but Etling was not able to connect with his receivers on a single deep ball and not able to turn busted plays into positive yards (he had receivers open in the flats on some busted plays). I like Etling and think he has come a long way, but you simply need a parity at QB to beat Bama. Hurts was the better QB and the difference maker tonight.
So the bad news clearly is Bama won the game (which is all that matters in the short term). The good news is LSU won the following battles they have not one in a while:
1. Total yards.
2. Rush yards.
3. 3rd down conversions.
4. Time of Possession.
Here are some other positives:
1. Held ALA to 116 rush yards, well below their 300 yd average (I did not that coming).
2. LSU forced ALA to beat them through the air. No one has done that since Clemson in the 2016 NC game (the one they lost).
3. A young defense limited ALA explosive plays and put pressure on Hurts.
4. A very young offensive line gave Etling as much time to throw as you can expect against an ALA-D despite limited depth and rotations.
5. You switch QBs, LSU wins by a wide margin.
6. LSU coaching staff on BOTH sides had more production in most categories (3rd downs, total yards, TOP, rush defense) with less talent and depth. The only thing missing was the 1 or 2 big plays.
Based on the above data points, I don’t agree with anonymous QB run threat comment. I think LSU proved tonight you don’t need a dual threat QB to beat ALA. However, if you don’t have a DT-QB you better have a super accurate pocket passer. The teams to beat them since the “game of the century” (a game with Jefferson at QB) had DT-QBs that were accurate passers (A&M, Clem, OK, AU, Ole Miss; OSU managed to beat them in the 2015 Sugar Bowl playoff game with their 3rd string QB). After watching how Etling improved under Canada, the future looks bright for the young gun slinger Brennan, but only time will tell.
Here is what I consider the biggest positive – Despite the 6 game losing streak, this was the best season for LSU to lose to ALA for the following reasons:
1. Coach O’s first season with a young team (i.e. Mulligan – Saban loss to AU and LSU his first season, not to mention the 5 vacated wins and loss to ULM).
2. Considering how the seasons are looking for other SEC schools (TN, FLA, A&M, ARK) LSU would have probably lost at least one coordinator (if not both) to a head coaching job if they beat ALA.
Every SEC school is dying for a coach that can out whit Saban. Aranda and Canada came very close tonight with much less talent. I am excited to see what they can do with a few more seasons together. GEAUX TIGERS!!!
PS – I’m not sure the ALA team (coaches and players) view LSU like LSU views A&M. I think the only team in college football ALA has as much respect for as LSU is CLEM. I think ALA lost to teams like Ole Miss, A&M, and OSU in the past b/c they let their guard down, but the players always seem to show up with their A-game against teams like Clem, AU, and LSU. LSU has been a more consistent challenger than AU during the Saban era (i.e. More lopsided victories vs. AU – Cam Newton’s signature game and a bad call by Saban leading to the “kick six” were exceptions). We will see how the Iron bowl turns out this year after ALA losses during LSU game.
1 correction – saying Etling did not connect on a single deep ball was inaccurate. He did have nice 23 yd and 31 yd receptions to Chark and Sullivan. Those 2 were just not enough.
Jake, great comments. We’re so close. I can hardly explain it, but I came away from the Bama game excited. Quite the opposite of how I imagined I would feel after a loss. But you get the sense that the Tide is turning. I think Coach was right, “We comin’…and we ain’t backin’ down.” Myles at QB. Improved line size/strength, continued mastery of the defense and offensive schemes, and a strong recruiting class this year and next and we are vying for championships again.
i completely agree with what you said. Danny Etling is good but just not good enough to beat a strong Bama. This game was more bright sided than last year because we got more total yards and beat them in almost every other aspect. Maybe next year Brennan can punch it into the endzone a few more times than Etling and bring LsU their first win since 2011. We proved we had the talent and next year with some more experienced talent and hopefully the savior quarterback for LSU we will win. Man, I bet we all wish we could have that game back. We could have won this year if we played a perfect game.
Thanks Brian. Yes, that was the most excited I’ve been since the 2012 game (missed the 2014 one). However, in the ’12 game I felt an equally talented LSU squad with the home field advantage let the game slip away in the final seconds after outplaying Bama all game. In this game, I felt a less talented/experienced LSU squad won in the trenches and won with the game plan. I observed 3 gaps that have plagued LSU against Bama the last 5 years: (1) LSU offensive game plan, (2) LSU QB play/development, and (3) LSU OL vs. ALA DL, (feel like the LSU DL has had the advantage several games, but gave into fatigue b/c LSU offense could not keep them off the field). This year’s squad overcame many hurdles to close gaps #1 and #3. I believe LSU has the staff to close gap #2 after watching Etling steadily improve. Gap #2 would have been closed much earlier if LSU could have kept the Miss schools from stealing LAs superstar DT-QBs (Patterson, Prescott, etc.) . . . hopefully Canada has a better eye for QB potential than past QB recruiters. Geaux Tigers!!