To all the LSU offense skeptics: Take a hike
You’d think that setting an SEC record for points through 5 games would send a message.
For some, however, there was some “wait-and-see” to the LSU offense. Like, wait and see how it performs against a legitimate top 5 defense like Florida.
After all, the Gators weren’t Vandy or Texas. They were the team that hadn’t allowed a 4th-quarter point since Week 0. They had the defense that just got to 6-0 by holding a top 10 team to 13 points. They showed that they were worthy of playing a headliner showdown like they one they took part in on a Louisiana Saturday night. And yes, it was still a formidable, elite Florida defense even with Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga banged up.
What did LSU’s offense do? Score, score some more and score again. If not for Florida playing some exceptional ball control offense, shoot, the Tigers probably could have hit 60.
So for all those who came into Saturday night still doubting LSU’s offense, you have two choices. You can either take a hike and come back when Joe Burrow isn’t dropping dimes for LSU. Or, you can take the preferred path. The path of least resistance.
You can jump on board the bandwagon and realize this ain’t your older brother’s LSU offense.
It’s not too late. You see, LSU might be undefeated and worthy of a top-3 ranking — I’d have zero problem with the Tigers at No. 1 — but we still have half a season of watching this unit break records. All signs point to that happening.
This stat sort of says it all:
#LSU has scored at least 30 points in nine straight games. Before this streak, the program hadn’t even done that in seven straight games. Those point totals:
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 13, 2019
That’s right. Saturday’s 42-point effort was actually a season low. It marked the first time since the season opener against Georgia Southern that Burrow was held to less than 300 passing yards.
“We have a lot of room to improve still,” Burrow said in the postgame ESPN interview. “But tonight was a great stepping stone.”
Follow up question, Joe. Define “a lot of room to improve.” Surely you weren’t talking about the offense?
Yes, while the offensive output wasn’t what it was against, say, Texas, it was still 42 points against a defense that entered Saturday having held every opponent to 21 points or less. I’d say averaging 10.6 yards per play against that group is pretty good.
Let me repeat that.
LSU averaged 10.6 yards per play. That was 511 yards on 48 plays (24 run and 24 pass). Um, no wonder the Tigers only had 4 3rd downs all night. The Tigers had the ball for roughly 1/3 of the game and won by 2 touchdowns. Yeesh.
But hey, Burrow is the offensive expert. At this point, I trust him to tell me when he thinks his offense left points on the field.
Like when LSU’s left guard false-starts and kills a potential 4th-down attempt or when Clyde Edwards-Helaire rips off a 57-yard run that doesn’t go for 6. Little things like that.
I’m assuming Burrow was referring to the defense having “a lot of room to improve.” To that unit’s credit, it rebounded after a rough start. It almost felt like LSU’s high-flying offense was gassing the defense and it played on its heels for the entire first half. Perhaps all that group needed was LSU’s offense to stay on the field for nearly 4 minutes. When that happend in the 3rd quarter, that was the first and only time that LSU put together a scoring drive that lasted longer than 2 minutes and 9 seconds.
That needs to be repeated.
LSU had 6 touchdown drives. Only one of them lasted longer than 2 minutes and 9 seconds.
The Tigers have what I call a “don’t grab a snack offense.” If you take 15 seconds to pop into the kitchen and grab some food while the LSU offense is on the field, chances are, you’re going to miss a huge play. Maybe it’s a Justin Jefferson touchdown catch in traffic, or it could be a long Edwards-Helaire touchdown run. My personal favorite? “The Burrow Dagger.”
For those unfamiliar with “The Burrow Dagger” (trademark pending), it’s when LSU has a late 7-point lead against a top 10 team and Burrow throws a long touchdown pass to put the nail in the coffin. You saw it against Texas. You saw it against Florida.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 13, 2019
“The Burrow Dagger” is the perfect representation of 2019 LSU. In a moment when the past 100 years of LSU football suggest the game plan will be to run the ball, burn clock and put it on the defense to get 1 stop, Burrow takes a machete to that prehistoric way of thinking. Actually, credit Steve Ensminger and Joe Brady with the machete moves. They’re the ones who decided to call 3 of 4 pass plays in that spot clinging to a touchdown lead.
LSU doesn’t “cling” to leads anymore. It builds them. It balloons them. It makes them insurmountable.
It’s a good thing it does that because the Tigers’ defense isn’t what we’re used to either. In 3 games against Power 5 opponents so far, it allowed an average of 35 points. Granted, K’Lavon Chaisson and Grant Delpit were huge for that group down the stretch, and how about Derek Stingley with his 3rd consecutive game with an interception?
But the defensive inconsistencies are probably the only thing holding back people from making LSU the No. 1 team in America. The offense certainly looks the part (unlike the home team in Athens on Saturday).
And if there is one thing holding people back from believing LSU is a legitimate national title contender, well, we know what that is. Or rather, who* that is.
Regardless of how the Alabama game turns out, though, this LSU offense deserves all the praise. At 6-0 with the top scoring offense in FBS (entering the weekend), the Tigers have long since quieted the doubters who balked at the offseason storyline about Brady’s impact with Burrow. That’s now 3 consecutive top 10 teams that LSU put up 40 points against dating to the Fiesta Bowl. Saturday night was easily the most impressive showing from that group yet.
Call it an exclamation point on a masterful first half to 2019. The Tigers got their revenge on Florida, and surely, they sent another loud message to the college football world. This LSU offense isn’t going anywhere.
My suggestion? Continue to avoid grabbing that snack while Burrow and Co. are cooking.