A lot of this. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Well, that was more like it. Nothing like a game that is not even remotely in doubt at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take the edge off of things. It's hard to second guess anything in a win so thoroughly dominant, so let's second guess things!
There's no such thing as a perfect game. Even a "perfect game" in baseball isn't really perfect. There's always something that didn't go quite according to plan. But this game was about as close to perfect as you can get, after the opening kickoff. Odell Beckham shouldn't have taken the ball out of the end zone, but the decision looked even worse when he fumbled the ball, giving Washington great field position to start the game. Let's just say it was an inauspicious opening kick.
LSU's defense rose to the challenge, held Washington to a field goal, and gave the offense a chance to get the points back. They went three and out. Then, as so often happens, Brad Wing did something awesome and after an exchange of punts, LSU picked up 30 yards of field position. Blessed with these free yards, Zach Mettenberger calmly drove the offense down the short field to a 7-3 lead. And then the team never looked back.
LSU let Washington hang around a little too long through a series of poorly timed penalties and inopportune drops. LSU kept giving the Huskies first downs while giving up first downs by not making open field catches. Even with that bit of sloppiness, LSU was up 20-3 at the half and it felt like a million to three.
As the second half wore on, the gap in the physical nature of the teams just grew wider. LSU kills you on the fourth quarter, and LSU just wore Washington down. There just wasn't much they could do once LSU receivers started to hang on to the ball.
-- Washington played excellent special teams and gave teams a blueprint on how to play us: sky kicks and proper angles. Sacrifice some punt yardage to eliminate the return.
-- Keith Price was victimized by some early drops as well. This game looks a lot different if he can connect with his receivers on the opening drive and Washington goes up 7-0.
-- LSU still had difficulties generating pressure. Price was getting the ball out quick, but he had time to throw just no one to throw it to. The coverage was unbelievable in this game. The young secondary which we thought might be a weakness has looked uniformly great. Jalen Mills got his first pick and he was stellar in coverage.
-- It's amazing how Miles can spread the ball among the backfield. All of the runners had their chance to shine and all looked impressive. Only Alfred Blue went over 100, but four backs got at least 8 carries. I's just a relentless attack.
-- The drops by the receivers were bad. Real bad. Some commenters suggested that Mettenberger could've had a 100% completion rate, which I think is a bit extreme, but there were some pretty bad drops, especially by Shepard and Beckham. Boone and Wright look more and more reliable, which pushes Shep further down the depth chart. I think he's our #5 option in the receiving game at this point.
-- I plan on doing a ATVSQBPI piece this week, but without getting into the formula details, Mett had 10.00, which is outstanding. It means, essentially, he was worth 10 yards each time he dropped back to pass. Price was at a 3.316 which is... not so good. Credit to the defense.
-- Washington could not rush the ball. The Huskies had 45 yards rushing, which is less than three LSU backs. Huge difference in the game. They rarely attempted to rush and when they did, it didn't work.
-- There were a lot of questions surrounding this team, but LSU looked simply awesome in its first real test. LSU asserted itself as one of the best teams in the country.