I'll keep this kind of short and bullet-point-y, as I've been on the go pretty steadily since gametime.
To say this was a great and impressive win would be almost clichéd at this point, but then, so is saying "it all starts up front" and I've been saying that about this game for a solid month. And why? Well you saw that on Saturday night. LSU won this game at the line of scrimmage with some great offensive and defensive line play. Turnovers were obviously a huge factor, but the game was swung on LSU's defense stopping Oregon when it had to, and the offensive line creating running lanes (with very little pass threat to account for) when it had to.
On to the observations:
- First off, the JerraDome is every lavish thing you imagine and then some. The concourses are beautiful, especially on the ground floor, even in section 416 we had a great view of the stadium, and what we couldn't see, the YEE-HAW-tron picked up in crystal-clear high def. The one advantage of that over-head view is that you can kind of watch plays develop a little more at the line of scrimmage. You literally could see the thing from a mile away in our RV lot. However, I do have to say I was expecting TV's in the bathrooms. No dice. Get on that Double-J! You might double your beer sales if people aren't worried about missing the game in there.
- On to football. And of course we start with Jarrett Lee. It's really hard to say a 10 for 22, 98-yard and a touchdown performance a good one. The silver lining was the high number of drops, but the black cloud was the same hurried, "omigodwhyarethewallsclosinginonme" look we've seen before. The coaches did a good job of, frankly, taking the passing game out of the equation and leaning as heavy on the run as possible. Sure, the drops went a long way towards killing those passing numbers, but Lee was late on a few passes over the middle (a cardinal sin that cannot be repeated) and generally still gets skittish in the pocket when he has to come off of his primary receiver. The recipe still has to be quick reads that allow him to get the ball out quickly.
- On to those drops. Some I can chock up to some very good defensive back play from Oregon. But catching passes with a defender's hand in your face is something that players like Kadron Boone and Odell Beckham are going to have to learn how to do.
- DeAngelo Peterson had one of his best games in a Tiger uniform, making some very big catches (albeit while making some of them more difficult than they needed to be) and making some serviceable blocks in the spread running game.
- Speaking of the running game, LSU got almost exactly what I expected from Spencer Ware, but Michael Ford was a pleasant surprise. He ran hard, inside and out, but will absolutely have to work on his pass blocking. He was brutal at times, including on the first-quarter deep throw to Boone.
- Along the offensive line, Chris Faulk looks like a future star. Completely dominant on running plays. P.J. Lonergan, however, was the clear weak link -- and had another bad snap. I certainly don't know whether it was on him or Lee, but Lonergan's had issues with those before in games he was struggling with.
- I cannot say enough about the defensive line, which accounted for 20 tackles and four tackles for loss from Michael Brockers, Lavar Edwards, Sam Montgomery, Freak Johnson, Barkevious Mingo, Bennie Logan and Kendrick Adams. Brockers in particular was a huge force, drawing double teams and still playing on the Oregon side of the line of scrimmage. I don't know if he'll ever be a guy that puts up a lot of sacks or tackles for loss, but he looks like the type of force that will draw two blockers on every run play.
- Not much I can add about the secondary, other than one of the more underrated aspects of their play was the way Brandon Taylor did an outstanding job when asked to be the alley defender. Yeah, you don't typically want your strong safety to make nine tackles, but spread running teams often force that to be the case.
Below the jump are a couple of pictures chronicling the trip.
Welcome to the JerraDome!
Our tailgating setup -- we of course had a fantastic time. Weren't in the middle of all the hardcore RV action, but we still had a lot of friend stumble by.
Our view of the field.
Hey look! Ole Miss is getting humiliated on a 100-foot tall screen!
I swear every time they showed close-ups of the band, you could see the band-members' eyes dance back and forth between their music and the screen to watch themselves.
What's better than a Golden Girl? A 100-foot-tall Golden Girl.