Another game, another blowout win. There's really not a whole lot you can glean from a game that was 21-0 after the first quarter. The game was non-competitive from the get go, and both teams started to treat this as a live scrimmage.
First, the good news. The offense still looks great. Zach Mettenberger had a ruthlessly efficient outing, and he looked incredibly comfortable in the pocket, his biggest issue from last season. He knew when to stand in, when to run, and his internal clock was reliable.
It's also good news to see Jeremy Hill reassert himself as the team's go to back. He topped the century mark in the first half, and he scored two touchdowns. He ran with vision and power, often gaining significant yards after first contact. This just in: he's good. Terrence Magee also ran all over a tired defense and looked more like TCU Magee than UAB Magee in the fourth quarter.
The defensive line also looked terrific. Freak Johnson spent almost the entire night camped out in the Kent St backfield, and Ego Ferguson made some huge plays for a loss as well. Allen had a quieter night, but he still had decent penetration along with Rasco. No complaints there.
But know what blowout wins are really for? Obsessing over small details and the little things that went wrong! Heck, we should've won this thing by 50! Let's freak out over the reasons why we didn't.
Issue number one? Penalties. This was a sloppy game with lots of unnecessary penalties. One penalty even took a touchdown off the board, though not for long. LSU also committed two procedural penalties inside the five yard line, including one on fourth down. It wasn't a huge problem, but this team needs to play cleaner against good teams.
The second issue is the back seven on defense. No problems with the line, but there was still way too much space in the secondary. Kwon Alexander blew a coverage on third and long, allowing a wide open receiver to convert an over 20 yards gain. He wasn't along. The receivers had tons of space all night, and Reardon actually ended with a pretty good stat line. He was able to pick apart the secondary and consistently move the football.
They didn't play badly, but it still isn't the dominant unit we are used to seeing. Part of this is because Chavis again was trying to get as many players on the field as possible. From the first quarter on, he was rotating almost three deep on the depth chart, seeing who could make an impact. Additionally, the coverage seemed to be a bit soft by design, keeping everything underneath. Kent St, to their credit, took advantage of where the space was, but they had to nickel and dime the defense as they couldn't make any big plays.
The final issue is the lack of a third option in the passing game. Travin Dural had a pretty miserable night despite it seeming like Mett was trying to force the ball to him to get him involved. He couldn't get separation, he dropped a few balls, and he fumbled a punt as well. Beckham and Landry are still great, but this team needs a third wide receiver. Someone needs to step up.
But we are quibbling, aren't we? None of these issues are that big of a deal, or even approaching catastrophe. Sure, the linebackers could play better, but the complaint is that they aren't dominant, not that they aren't playing well. Heck, DJ Welter even a tackle for a loss.
This was a game for nitpicking. But the preseason is over, the real season starts next weekend. Bring it.