As we try and find our way to a routine and regular features now that the football season is underway, it’s time to unveil yet another feature: By The Numbers. It’s when I sit down with the box score from last week’s game and, as our resident stat geek, try and review some of the more important stats from the game and what it might mean in the future.
0 The number of turnovers forced by LSU. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot a defense can do to cause turnovers. It’s a bit of a statistical fluke, as turnover numbers tend to fluctuate wildly between seasons. This year’s monster of the takeaway becomes unable to force a turnover the next season. This may not bode well for LSU, as App State was horribly outmatched and still LSU couldn’t force one turnover. LSU did force two fumbles, but just couldn’t recover them. I’m not saying we’re going to be unable to force turnovers this season, but somehow, it seems like the switch just got flipped off.
6.7 Yards per rush. OK, it was just App State. But that’s a lot of yards per rush. The offensive line looked positively dominant. The biggest gap in talent between the two teams wasn’t at the skill positions (though their receivers were downright lousy), it was the lines. We absolutely punished them in the trenches. Except for Williams, whose running strategy seems to be fall down before anyone makes contact, our running backs hit huge holes and reached the linebackers before being touched. If LSU is going to have a big season, it’s going to have to win games ugly. Our offense is not going to air it out, it’s going to punish teams. I like that our offense inflicts just as much paid as our defense. Speaking of which…
40-24 The ratio of runs to passes. That’s pretty damn close to 2 to 1. Now, there could be a lot of reasons for this beyond just the general strategy of pounding it down the opponent’s throat. One, LSU had a 31-0 halftime lead. Teams with large leads tend to run more. Two, there was the massive talent gap which encourages a team to keep the playbook as vanilla as possible. Three, there’s the whole breaking in new quarterbacks thing. A great crutch for a rookie QB (both of them) is a running back who can rush for 160 yards.