Oct 6, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; LSU Tigers linebacker Devin White (40) and LSU Tigers cornerback Kristian Fulton (22) look on during the fourth quarter against the Florida Gators during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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The Good, Bad and Ugly in LSU 27-19 loss to Gators

”The Last Lap with Seth Dunlap”
October 07, 2018 - 5:48 pm
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By Tim Zimmer, WWL Radio

The LSU Tigers season long inefficiencies showed up in Gainesville Saturday resulting in their first loss of the season.  The Gators were able to rush for 215 yards, which was the one of the biggest keys to Florida’s 27-19 win.  LSU also didn’t force a sack all game while putting pressure on quarterback Feleipe Franks.  The play of the Tigers offensive and defensive lines wasn’t the only contributor to the loss, so here’s my good, bad and ugly from the game that set LSU back to #13 in the AP poll.  I’ll also explore what the Tigers need to fix before they take on #2 Georgia Bulldogs.

Good:

LSU continues to impress on special teams play, in particular the kickers.  Cole Tracy was perfect connecting on a 33 & 42 yard field goal.  If there’s one thing Tiger fans can have confidence in week in and week out its Tracy’s leg.  Punter Zach Von Rosenberg came up big against Florida, hitting a 61 yard punt to switch the field position.  Although Gators punter Tommy Townsend outshined Von Rosenberg with his 70 yarder, the LSU kickers have been the brightest spot so far through six games.

Another bright spot was Joe Burrow.  Take out his late interceptions and Burrow showed poise all game and looks like the QB LSU was looking for in the Spring.  Burrow, who’s already led a late comeback at Auburn, came up short Saturday, but didn’t get much help from his wide receivers, who dropped a few critical passes late in the ballgame.  I’m not putting blame on Burrow in this one, simply because the offensive line wasn’t giving him the protection. 

 

Bad:

The coaching in this game wasn’t LSU’s finest. Dan Mullen outschemed, out-coached and out-inspired.  He simply had the better game plan.  LSU Offensive Coordinator Steve Ensminger had a beautiful opening drive, but after that LSU’s offense stalled.  Defensive Coordinator Dave Aranda did the most he could with what he was dealt.  Linebacker Jacob Philips was out, so freshman Micah Baskerville replaced him.  And, explosive outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson’s absence was finally felt in this game.  The Tigers couldn’t get the sacks on Franks, and Florida was able to do whatever they wanted with running back Lamical Perine.  He owned the field. 

One issue LSU needs to fix is punt return, or figure what they have with Jonathan Giles. Giles, who changed his number to #12 Saturday, continues to be unimpressive.  The transfer, who was thought to take over one of the top WR spots, has already been replaced on the depth charter by Justin Jefferson, Dee Anderson and Stephen Sullivan.  Giles was also replaced on punt return for one possession, but Jontre Kirklin nearly fumbled the ball which didn’t give the coaching staff much confidence.  If Giles wants to have impact, he’ll need to figure it out soon.  Punt return yardage continues to be something the Tigers struggle with. 

 

Ugly:

Well, this is simple.  The offensive and defensive line play was bad.  Take away Nick Brossette’s 4th quarter drive in which he accumulated 80% of his total yards, and the Tigers rushing attack was bullied all game by the Florida defensive line.  Burrow’s first turnover was a big one considering LSU had all the momentum early and his fumble changed the 1st half.  The defensive line gave up its most rushing yards all season and will need to fix that fast, if they don’t want it to continue next week vs the Georgia Bulldogs. 

Finally, LSU needs to find an answer to their 3rd quarter struggles.  For some reason the Tigers cannot get the production from their offense coming out of the locker room like they do to start the game.  A lot of this has to do with 3rd down conversions.  LSU was 4 for 17 against the Gators, and a few of those were earned late in the game playing catchup.  If the Tigers want to win vs the #2 team in the country next week, they’ll have to figure out how to score some points in the 3rd quarter and fix their holes on the offensive line.

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