We're running a bit behind this week at ATVS, but come on, it is ULL Week. We can afford to spend the extra day reviewing the Vandy game. Because of the trip to the game, I didn't really get a chance to look at the box score until yesterday, so here is our weekly look behind the numbers.
5. The number of combined fumbles between both teams. There was only one fumble recovery by the defense (Vanderbilt's), but fumble recoveries are a matter of luck. Causing fumbles are not, well, except for when you play a game in a driving rain. That's a lot of fumbles. One of the popular ways to discount this win for LSU is that the defense got lucky when Vandy receivers made some key drops, which they did. But the defense also had terrible fumble luck, recovering zero of the three fumbles. Any discussion of LSU's luck has to include their bad luck as well.
38. Vanderbilt's second longest drive of the day. Vandy did have a depressing 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the first half, but other than that, the Commodores had real problems moving the football. LSU had five drives longer than this, plus a drive that was also exactly 38 yards. There was some hand wringing over the way UW moved the ball up and down the field against the Tigers defense, and rightfully so, but the roles were flipped this week. LSU's offense kept marching up and down the field but couldn't really cash in while Vandy's offense was consistently stuck in neutral.
78. The combined yardage of Jasper's three field goals. He had kicks of 32, 22, and 24 yards. The last two were absolute no-brainers to kick instead of to go for it, but it didn't make it any less frustrating. That's three drives that all stalled inside the red zone. Against Vandy, you can come away with field goals and still win, but you absolutely have to get touchdowns against Florida or Alabama. LSU needs to finish up drives. Getting points is better than nothing, but top tier teams get touchdowns.
4.9. Jefferson's yard's per attempt. That's pretty terrible, especially when you consider he went 21 for 30. There was the particularly brutal stretch in which Jefferson kept completing passes for a loss. I'm not sure how much of this is design, as Crowton did show a lot of spread formations. I like the idea of spreading the field horizontally, but we also need to spread the field vertically. Stretch the defense out even more. But you're probably getting sick of my Throw The Ball Downfield rant. So I'll move on.
4/15. Vandy's third down conversions. You don't hear much about "Third and Chavis" this week, do you? Vandy converted one third down in the second half.
14. Vandy's tackles for a loss. That means of LSU's 72 plays, 14 of them went for negative yards. That's nearly 20 percent of LSU's offensive plays. If nearly a fifth of your offensive snaps result in something bad happening, that's a bad offense. There is just no other way to say it, the offense cannot continue at that rate. That is horrible.
12. The number of LSU players who touched the ball. There's a lot of playmakers on this team and Crowton and Miles did a great job of getting everyone involved. You can complain about the offense's ineffectiveness, which I have, but it certainly wasn't vanilla. I'm hoping a lot of the problem is just the offense trying to find its rhythm, but I do like the idea of getting the ball in everyone's hands.