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Behind the Numbers: LSU v La Tech

Sorry for almost complete absence from the blog this past week and half.  Real life has intervened, and it was just La. Tech.  You understand.  I was at yet another wedding on Saturday and didn't watch the game until last night, which was just as ugly as I had heard.  So, without further excuse, here is this week's Behind the Numbers.

3/12 for 30 yards.  With about 5:30 left in the first half, Jarrett Lee came this close to throwing a pick six.  He had looked mediocre up until this point, but not exactly bad.  From that pass on, he went from mediocre to spectacularly awful.  He would only pass for 30 yards from that point on, and it was just as bad as the numbers make it sound.  The kid is still psychically and emotionally beaten from last year.  The fans have turned on him and they are unlikely to come back.  I like Lee and wish him well, but I have to say, I do not believe he will ever be an effective quarterback for LSU.  He absolutely needs to transfer.  The damage is too severe.

27 for 164.  Our running backs destroyed La. Tech.  With only one longish run, a 25 yarder by Keiland Williams, the running backs dominated, averaging just over 6 yards a carry.  OK, it's just La. Tech, I completely agree, but this was another encouraging sign of improvement for the offensive line. 

0.  The number of return yards by La. Tech.  LSU's punt game has been terrific all year, and last night was no exception, averaging 41 yards per punt and pinning the Bulldogs inside the 20 twice.  The one touchback was a 51 yard punt.  The special teams have really been a bright spot all season.

3/4.  La. Tech was three of four on fourth down.  That's just a fluke, right?  They were 5 of 18 on third downs, which is a good rate, but a horrible number of third downs to allow.  The Bulldogs converted two fourth downs on their TD drive in the first half, one aided by a generous spot and the other on a gadget play.  Hey, it counts, but it's not a long term concern.  

0/3.  By contrast, LSU went oh for three on third down in the first half (and 0/2 in the fourth quarter).  LSU's offense has been terrible at sustaining drives, and really, if the Tigers convert a third down or two in the first half, this game is likely a blowout.  Why?  Glad you asked.

51.2%.  The percentage of LSU's total yards in the whole game earned on the first two possessions.  LSU only managed 246 yards of offense, 126 of them on the first two possessions.  This had all the earmarks of a blowout win until LSU failed to earn a first down on two consecutive drives, one pinned deep in their own territory and the next the infamous Jarrett Lee almost-pick-six drive.  LSU let La. Tech in the game, and they played their hearts out.  As soon as the Bulldogs showed fire, LSU progressively went into the tank.  If LSU converts some of those third downs, they probably score and go up 17-6, and the rout is on.  Instead, they let the inferior team hang around and gain confidence.  Bad idea.

19-170.  The combined penalty yards.  Seriously, guys.  That was out of control.  

BlogPoll later today.  I promise.