Rapid Reaction: Familiar formula produces familiar result for LSU
If Ed Orgeron can convince his team that it’s coming off a loss each week he might have something.
LSU is perfect in the game after a loss in Orgeron’s two-plus seasons as head coach.
The Tigers have lost eight times and each time they have won the next game that they played, including Saturday’s 24-17 victory at Arkansas.
Of course the primary goal is to eliminate as many losses as possible, but the way Orgeron has gotten the Tigers to respond when they lose has been one of the most significant accomplishments during his brief tenure.
The latest example came Saturday night when No. 7 LSU shook off last weekend’s dismal 29-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama to hang on against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark. It was the third time during Orgeron’s tenure that the Tigers bounced back from a loss to the Crimson Tide to defeat the Razorbacks.
LSU should petition the SEC Office to keep Arkansas juxtaposed right after Alabama on the schedule until further notice.
It helps that Arkansas hasn’t been very good during Orgeron’s time, especially this year’s team in coach Chad Morris’s first season in a significant rebuilding job.
But LSU, battered and bruised by yet another reminder of how far it must go to catch Alabama, could have easily muddled through this game.
LSU cruised through the first three quarters then hung on after the Razorbacks scored two touchdowns, both passes from Ty Storey to Cheyenne O’Grady, in the fourth quarter to get within 24-17.
The Tigers defense dominated in the first half though LSU’s lead was just 14-3 at halftime. But it felt bigger.
A 35-yard pass from Joe Burrow to Justin Jefferson led to Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s 13-yard touchdown run that gave the Tigers a 21-3 third-quarter lead.
After a Cole Tracy field goal LSU led 24-3. The Tigers needed all of those points.
Kary Vincent Jr.’s interception ended the Arkansas possession between those two Hogs touchdown drives.
LSU’s offense bled the clock after the final Arkansas TD to end the game.
The bottom line was, as is often the case with LSU, the defense dominated and the offense did enough.
The defense set the tone right away.
On the first possession of the game the Razorbacks went three and out, losing 10 yards thanks to two false starts and a sack. On their second possession they gained 7 yards in five plays before punting. Then came another three and out after Arkansas gained just 2 yards.
The LSU offense managed one big play as Burrow connected with Jefferson for a 40-yard touchdown on the only play of the Tigers’ second possession.
LSU’s next scoring drive was the nearly the opposite of the first. The Tigers used 14 plays, mostly on the ground, to travel 77 yards, scoring on Nick Brossette’s 12-yard run.
That gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Connor Limpert kicked a 24-yard goal as time expired in the second quarter, leaving LSU with a 14-3 lead.
It was a familiar formula and it was working well – play stifling defense, pound away with the running game, mix in a few passes and gradually pull away.
It worked in a 33-10 win against the Razorbacks last season. It worked in a 38-10 win against them two years ago. And it worked again Saturday, though this one was closer.
It’s a formula that seems to work a lot, especially the week after a loss, and especially when the opponent is Arkansas.