Pure. Merciless. Defeat. That is a three-word summary of the Washington game. Outside of a mental gaffe on the opening kickoff, Washington never sniffed the end zone. They barely even sniffed the red zone. It was a bit like watching a Hulk Hogan wrestling match anytime in the 80s or 90s. Hulk was gonna win, often in dominant fashion. It was only a matter of time before the body slam and the leg drop. Unfortunately for Washington, they were body slammed in the first half and leg dropped shortly thereafter.
Even when the score remained relatively overcome-able (see I made up a word), you could sense the desperation. Washington’s best efforts were futile. At one point, late in the game, LSU blatantly milked the clock with run play after run play, methodically, empirically collecting first downs like territories on a Risk board. It wasn’t for lack of effort. Washington didn’t quit. They kept trying, particularly Keith Price, who did a maestro’s job of dancing out of the pocket, nearly every play, to try to make things happen for his team. Make no mistake: Keith Price is one of, if not THE, best quarterbacks will face this year. He made mistakes, but he also made a few brilliant plays, entirely of himself. I came away very impressed.
Yet, LSU was and is just better. The talent discrepancy is too great. The experience, too much. The preparation, too well done. This is as dominating of a performance by an LSU football team against a team with a pulse as there has been in the past decade. Washington is a good football team and LSU made them look 1AA.
First TD: I-Formation. Stretch play off LT. Dwor completely seals edge. Tremendous job. J.C. Copeland gets a HUGE kickout block to spring Blue. Huge hole, Blue does the rest of the work and houses it from 21 out.
Second TD: This play was really set up by a series of methodical runs by Ford and Ware. Copeland plunged it into the endzone on 2nd and 1 on his second attempt. Check the highlight if you’d like to see Washington’s defensive line firmly planted into the yellow paint on the endzone. If JC scores a TD is it a Fat Guy Touchdown?
Third TD: Another short yardage plunge. Nothing too notable about it. Kenny being Kenny.
Fourth TD: This score came from a unique formation that many of us have been begging for the better part of 2 years now. Pictured here:
Landry runs a 15 yard out, and both Boone and Beckham run fly routes. This becomes easy pitch and catch when the safety flubs his coverage responsibilities and allows Boone to fly up the field alone. Not sure if Mett looked him off or not (hard to tell from camera angle), but Boone was wide open and Mett just laid the throw in there for an easy 6. 32-yard pass.
Fifth TD: Kenny being Kenny. 1 yard TD plunge.
Mettenberger: Outstanding game. End numbers should have been better due to well-documented drops, specifically by Beckham. Threw a few beautiful balls to him that should have been caught for sizable gains. As ugly as it was, it could have been worse for Washington, if Mett connects on these passes. Numbers should have been more like 16/18 for 240 and 2 TDs. Efficient, decisive and alert. Made the right calls and decisions. He STEPPED UP IN THE POCKET AND I THINK I AM DREAMING RIGHT NOW SO SOMEONE PINCH ME. Seriously, really worked well in the pocket. No Jordan Jefferson hold-on and stare down and don’t move. No Jarrett Lee bailout. Subtle movements, slide steps. Threw a strike to Wright on a slant. Beautiful toss to Beckham on a deep out that Beckham makes a wonderful catch on. Anticipated the route and threw Beckham open. We haven’t had this in ages. On one play, Hurst was beaten pretty badly, Mett moved up and out to avoid rush and dumped to Ware for a 9-yard gain. Confident this is a sack last year. Dumps to Blue on 3rd and 16. Modest gain, but sign of good decision making. No need to force the issue when we are in control. Called us into no huddle for a jump start, ended up with a nice gain for Ford. Short out to Landry that Mett sneaks under safety. Risky decision but he has the arm to make these plays. He will need to be careful against teams with better safety play that can exploit that. Found a wide open Shep on another play. Beautiful progression through reads, but Shep dropped it. Should have been a TD. Ultimately, we saw all the little things from Mett we needed to see, even if it didn’t result into monster stats. Good process will equal good results in time. Finished 12/18 for 195 and 1 score. No INTs.
Rivers: Came in at the end for some handoffs. No passes attempted.
Blue: Made an early decision to cut one outside, right into a blitzer. Turned into a 2-yard loss. If he had stayed inside, it would have been a modest gain. May have been caused by missed block by Copeland. Ran through monster hole for first TD of the game. Had a 10-12 yard gain on the play where Collins was called for a chop block. Caught the ball well on a couple of checkdowns from Mett. Made a nice cutback on a plunge play with poor blocking. Ended up an 8-yard gain. Botched a play by running the wrong way on PA. Mett still picked up 5 on it, somehow. Pressed the hole beautifully on one particular run on the drive that ended with Boone’s TD catch. Patience and vision turns into a 15-yard gain. Virtually every note I have is "Blue gets 5-6" "Blue gets 10" "Blue gets 17." The most quietly productive back in LSU history? Finished 14/101 with 2 catches for 19 and a score.
Ware: Looked like Spencer of old. Bounce is back in his step. Dragging defenders, bouncing off of would-be tacklers. Attempted a HB pass and rocketed a throw though under duress. Ball was dropped, but nice job by Ware getting set and still getting off a decent toss. Blasted a helpless DB on one late run. All-in-all he looked like the RB from the Cotton Bowl 2 years ago when we thought we had a superstar on our hands. Finished 8/38 with 1 catch for 9.
Hilliard: Not his brightest game. Still served as endzone sledge hammer. Cut right into the back of Nic Jacobs, who laid an outstanding block, rather than cutting inside of it for a better gain. Missed a cutback that could have given him a TD on a drive that resulted in a FG. Ran into blockers again. He has an insane ability to move entire piles. Reminds me a bit of T.J. Duckett in that he has ungodly power, pretty good speed, but struggles with the vision/patience to see cutbacks/lanes/blocks he should follow. Finished 13/46 and 2 scores.
Ford: The most aggravating of LSU backs. At times, looks like elite back of the nation. Other times, just a dancer. Never exhibits the patience and vision between the tackles as he does when he gets on the edges. To Studthorpe’s credit, they mostly get him outside. We ran a toss flip to him for a nice gain. Excels in hitting cutback lanes in a zone-blocking scheme. Would probably be a sight to behold in a Rich Rod offense. Nothing else of note. Finished 10/48.
Copeland: Good game. Laid a ton of huge blocks. No. 7 looked physically terrified of him. Got a TD on a dive. Whiffed once in pass pro (likely why we’ve instituted a two tailback formation with our best two blocking backs). Finished 2/2 with a score and eleventy billion UW headaches given.
Neighbors: Got some run late when JC told the coaches he felt sorry for punishing UW defenders all night. Looks spry. He’s a walk-on, high-motor guy. Took an inside handoff, cause, why not? Looked capable, but didn’t show too much.
Beckham: Rough game. Really poor decision to run the opening kickoff out, made even worse by the fumble. Mentally I noted last week that he’s super aggressive on returns. You take the good with the bad on that. I’m not sure they should tell him to stop (aggressiveness is usually an important part of being a great returner), but I hope he does take caution. He tries to field any and everything, and it could cost us. He is fearless, though. Dropped at least three balls. All were easily catchable and plays he’s made dozens of times. Regardless, he and Landry still have the best mitts on the team. Made a tremendous grab on a deep out. Got wide open late and Mett found him. Nice play. Finished 2/40.
Landry: Quiet game. Did some great blocking work in the run game. We went single back near the GL, which was interesting. Landry was open in the back of the end zone. Rather, he would have been open if Mett pumped and hit him. Instead, he delivered a strike to Wright. No harm, but could have been a TD and ended up in a FG. Engaged a DB and drove him backwards. "WR Blocking – A Clinic by Jarvis Landry." "Dropped" the HB pass from Ware. Was a tough catch behind him, but he could have reeled it in. Would have scored. Fielded a punt late and returned for a couple of yards. Finished 1/20.
Boone: Wasn’t targeted much. Cashed in his one catch for a TD. Turning into a good deep threat for Mett. 3 catches, 78 yards and 2 TDs on the season. I’ll take that. Finished with 1/32 with a score.
Wright: Busy day. Dominant blocking at times. Remember those "shitty bubble screens" from Week 1. Well, we built in a slant off of them. This is the slow implementation of a larger playbook. Deal with it. It worked beautifully… twice. Wright hit on both times for a total of 46 yards. Showed good elusiveness on one. Took a big hit from Sean Parker near the endzone on a slant, but held on to the ball. Also blocked up no. 7. Poor guy. Dropped a screen that nearly ended in disaster. Has to be more alert in that situation. He’s proving to be capable, reliable and consistent. Great game.
Clement: He’s basically turned into Mitch Joseph for us, which is a shame, because he has the athletic potential to be a good two-way TE. Too many drops plague him. Consummate blocker. When on the left Clement, Dwor and Collins are the CDC, Center for Defense Control. They will be what we run behind when it counts. A few really nice combo blocks. Always plays with great effort.
Jacobs: He’s emerged as the Mitch Joseph role, though I just said that about Clement. Unfortunately, we have no pass-catching TE, just two dominant blockers. Jacobs looked like a wildebeest out there at times. Just mauling folks. DL, LB, DB, it didn’t matter. He crushed. Great block early spoiled by Hilliard running into his back. A few plays later he delivered a great combo block and Hilliard AGAIN ran into him. And yet again a two plays later, another great block, but Hilliard misses the cut. Helluva game blocking.
Dwor: Really impressive in his first start back. Sealed the left edge all night long on off tackle plays. Held up superbly in pass pro. Some nice kick outs on inside plays. Did get blown up late on an off tackle toss. Only play I can really remember him looking overtly bad. Nice game.
Collins: Okay game. He’s on the ground way, way too much for a guy with his athleticism. It began to irk me. Maybe just an off night? Chop block was weak sauce. He went for a cut on another guy and whiffed, Dwor blocked his guy into the area and they both leaped over Collins. I guess by rule it’s a chop, but it was weak. Didn’t look like Collins even touched him. Did a nice job pulling and trapping. Lost a block midway through, which resulted in a shorter gain than should have been. Tag teamed a LB with Neighbors. Got nicked at the end, but he appears to be alright.
Lonergan: Quiet night. Snaps were good. Got beat up front once. Did a pretty good job of getting across the DT’s face a few times. Didn’t stand out as good or bad, but I still haven’t seen the guy from 2 years ago in a while. Not sure what happened.
Williford: Not a great night. Missed several blocks. He’s better when he plays straight on power running but struggles if having to get to the next level. Played LG when Collins went down.
Hurst: Much better than last week. Still struggles with outside rush. I still wouldn’t be opposed to sliding him inside and trying Vadal at RT. This would allow Williford to be a swing lineman for us. He does pretty well in the run game, but struggles with outside rush, particularly more athletic ends. Got beat by a DT.
Turner: Played some RG after Collins injury. Whiffed on first play but did continue to second level and nail a LB. Coaches then called about 5 straight run plays behind him. Guess they wanted to see how it went. Went well. 3 plays of 4 behind him, all with good blocks, albeit on an admittedly exhausted Washington front. Good showing.
Porter: Played some C snaps late. Beaten inside once. Nothing else of note.
Domingue: Played some LG late. Nothing notable.
Alexander: Played some RT late. Nothing notable.
Davenport: Played LT late. Nothing notable.
Mingo: On the first day, God made heaven and earth. Then he spent the rest of the time on Mingo. There’s very little he can’t do on the football field. So damned explosive. He’ll run himself out of plays sometimes, but he’ll often back track and make the tackle anyhow. Physically put the RT out of the game with a nasty bull rush. Poor guy. COVERED Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (ASJ) on one play. Beats backup RT on inside move, gets chipped by RB, flushes Price, comes off and takes on another block. Ridiculous. Showed a spin move. WAIT, HE’S ALLOWED TO USE PASS RUSH MOVES TOO!?! NOT FAIR. They lined him up in 9-tech (outside shoulder of the TE) on one play. First I can ever remember seeing that. Drew a double team, fought off it, chased down Price from behind. He is not your average bear, boo boo. Comes hard with a speed rush but then EXPLODES into RT, pushing him onto his ass. He has strength this year that he lacked in the past. A force to be reckoned with. Nearly made an impossible, ridiculous, absurd INT. There are Earthquakes. There are Blizzards. There are Hurricanes. There are Volcanic Eruptions. And there are Barkevious Mingo, arch-lord nemesis to all that is productive on offense in the world. I don’t care if that is grammatically incorrect.
Sam: Solid day at the office. Lot of scuttle that Edwards may be the superior DE. I don’t see it. Got a huge sack. Could do a better job with his hands, taking on cut blocks. Played in a 2-point stance some. Showed some bull rush. One super impressive play. Sam shoots out of his stance straight up field, which is usually a bad decision. Instead, his elite athleticism is shown off. He sinks his hips and cuts 90 degrees to Price. Gets pressure, but is a second too late on sack. Elite athletic potential there, just needs to tap into it on every play. He always plays with great effort, but not always great technique. Chased down a middle screen from behind to show speed. Good game overall.
Edwards: Solid day. Had a big sack. Played DT in most nickel formations. Jumped off sides once. Laziness costs him a sack as he refuses to wrap up and drag down and Price danced away. FINISH HIM BIG MAN. I NEED MORTAL KOMBAT. Did have a huge pressure up the middle on Sam’s sack.
Downs: He abused the RG on a few occasions, typically with his swim move. His explosiveness off the ball is probably best on the team, save Mingo. One play stood out: annihilated RG with swim move. His penetration blows the play to all holy hell, RB and HBack collide, Aghayere came free and forced Price to throw it into the ground. Downs drew a hold to boot. Bull rushed the RG later, forcing quick release. Got a little nicked, don’t think he returned after that. He’s always been good, just never stayed healthy.
Logan: My man, no. 18. Quiet game. Did have a superb bull rush that sent Price dancing away again. Drew a hold.
Freak: Stood up a double-team early that ended up creating the pile that killed the play. Impressive strength. He’s simply a more gifted athlete than Logan or Downs. On one play, he explodes from stance, drives guard, swims over him and loses his feet. Price gets away, but just a sliver of that Freakish potential. Exploded into backfield on another play and blew up RB. Helped Mills bring down big ole ASJ on a nice hustle play. Nice day at the office, but he still hasn’t reached the level we’d like him to be at (it’s early).
Ego: Made, arguably, the play of the day. Engages and shucks guard in downhill run play. Then takes on the FB and drives him backward into the RB making a TFL. It was a sight to see. ELITE play. Now, we need that every down. He’s still evolving.
Thomas: Played some, didn’t notice anything.
Aghayere: Played both end and tackle. Beat the RT once and stuttered Price’s rollout. He somehow still escaped and made a completion. Made a nice play on a draw to stuff RB for short gain. Very next play, does the same. Pretty effective run defender and I like him as an inside sub to get those guys some rest.
Rasco: Shot upfield and the RB ran right underneath him. Not sure, it may have been his responsibility to play contain on a potential PA rollout. Only thing I noticed about his play, but he was in there a good bit spelling Sam and Mingo.
Maclin: Played late. Nothing of note.
Minter: Early nominee for LSU’s most improved player. He’s leaner, he’s faster, he’s quicker…he’s just better. Flys around the field. Looks significantly improved in coverage drops. Still a force in the run game. Assigned double-teams on ASJ multiple times. Crashes HARD a run play once and destroys the pulling guard. Love watching this guy play ball.
Barrow: Used as a blitzer some. Lost the back in pass coverage once. Would have been a nice gain, but the back dropped it. Took on 2 blockers on blitz, allowing Sam to come free. He’s probably our best backer at getting off blocks, but he does play a little too fast and loose at times.
Muncie: Made a great read and tackle on ASJ. Otherwise, quiet.
Kwon: Emerging star. I see him as the starter for Muncie sooner than later. Explosive, good tackler and aggressive. Laid a BIG hit that drew OOOOOhhh from the crowd. Effective as blitzer and got his hands up to knock down the pass. Chased down a play from behind… good hustle. Crashed hard on a dive play and crushed the FB, effectively killing the play. He’s a man out there. Hard work paid off for this young pup.
Debo: Good kick coverage. Played some late, but not much of note.
Feist: Played late. Nothing of note.
Simon: Very vocal. Embracing leadership role. Directing players on field. Little confusion by he and Mills early nearly leads to 6 for UW. Got beat early, but used his incredible length and make-up speed to break up the pass. Gets a good jam early and breaks up the pass. Really physical, some after the play. Whaps WR in the head, which he did not please. Careful, Simon. That can draw flags. Tried a couple of corner blitzes. Not successful. Didn’t get there once and Price found open man in vacated area. Jumped offside on the other. Got off blocks really well and made a nice tackle on bubble screen. Got beat on a fade that they threw over him, but the ball was wide and out of bounds.
Mills: Emerging. Shucked a block early, made a tackle. Lined up as nickel. Scuffled on first drive, allowing Mickens to get open, but drop spares LSU. Read play nicely and came up for tackle on ASJ, but too big of a load for him to bring down. Good job hanging on until Freak cleans up. Perfectly reads slant and breaks it up. First time we deployed dime, we induced a delay of game with confusion. Got locked into ASJ alone. Impressive job covering. Often helped double ASJ. Beat by Kevin Smith once. Effective tackler in run game. Often directing traffic out there. Tremendous sign for a youngster. Got a pick on a horrible decision by Price. Nice read by Mills, but it was gift wrapped.
J. Collins: They tested him, but he held up well. Covered a fade really well early. Nothing else of note. Played a lot.
Eugene: Used as dime back. First play, really soft blitz. Needs to BRING IT. Same blitz two plays later… Nails Price for a sack. Was left completely free. Stuck on island with ASJ, and shows good coverage. But better pass and catch for 16-yard completion. Read screen brilliantly and comes over and makes huge hit to end drive.
Reid: Good awareness to knock down pass on blitz. Big hit on Kevin Smith. Whiffed on ASJ, which was cleaned up by Loston. Stupid PI where he pushed the WR over 10 yards downfield. Pretty quiet night.
Loston: Bad coverage on opening drive, nearly yielded a TD. Big hit on ASJ. Dropped an INT, but would have come back anyhow due to offsides. Almost jumped offside on blitz, but got back. Great job bringing pressure though. Ball floated over his head on another blitz. Poor tackling later. Not much to say about him good or bad.
Thompson: Got a tackle in punt coverage.
Martin: Played late, nothing of note.
D. Thomas: Played late, nothing of note.
Wing: Stupendous again. He only averaged 54.3 yards per punt. AND HE HAD A TOUCHBACK. COME ON WING.
Alleman: Perfect on the night. 2/2 with 5 XPs.