LSU's New Passing Attack at the Midpoint

Stacy Revere

So, maybe you noticed that the passing game looks a bit better…

So back in July, we talked about some specifics regarding Zach Mettenberger, LSU's passing game and just how we could quantitate improvement by the numbers. We're halfway through the 2013 schedule, so let's look at where we're at.

**stats via CFBstats.com**

Completion Percentage

We set the over/under here at around 60, and through six games, Mettenberger is completing an outstanding 68.2 percent of his passes. On third down, that figure is 65 percent, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. A whopping 75 percent on third and 7-9 yards. Mettenberger's passer rating on third-down (216.06) is fourth in the country, behind Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston and Teddy Bridgewater.

Average Yards Per Attempt

Again, Mettenberger is completely surpassing expectations, averaging an amazing 11.1 yards per attempt, a full three yards over the 8.0 we set as a goal. He's third in the country in this stat, behind Baylor's Bryce Petty and Winston. And on third down, the number jumps to 11.9.

Turnovers

The over/under here was at 12, and it's been the one area that Mettenberger has maybe been at his best at. His two interceptions are the only turnovers LSU's quarterback has accounted for this season. His one fumble against Auburn was not lost. He's actually averaging one less passing attempt per game than he did in '12, but there's no doubt that Mettenberger is taking tremendous care of the football.

So...we're not really breaking new ground here, but Mettenberger is, by any measure, completely outpacing even the rosiest projections any of us had for LSU's 6-5 signal caller. There's a chance some of these stats might regress as LSU faces the two best defenses on its schedule, but even with that taken into account, he's on pace to have the best season any LSU quarterback has ever had. He's about two yards behind Rohan Davey's single-season yardage record, albeit with six fewer attempts per game. But he's a little more than halfway to the season touchdown mark shared by Matt Mauck and Jamarcus Russell.

But the biggest games are still to come for the Tigers, and that means the biggest stages for this passing attack. How it is remembered will be entirely dependent on how he plays when those lights shine the brightest.

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