What does a guy have to do to get benched?
I realize this was a total team effort. Colby Delahoussaye missed two field goals. Terrence Magee led the team in rushing with 24 yards. TWENTY FOUR. The defense allowed Arkansas to convert 10 of 17 3rd downs. No one covered themselves in glory tonight.
But holy hell, was Anthony Jennings terrible. He's been terrible all year, but this was sort of his perverse masterpiece of miserable quarterback play. Jennings couldn't do anything right, and worse yet, both coaching staffs knew it.
Arkansas put about 10 defenders in the box on every play, begging LSU to pass, but knowing that the quarterback couldn't hurt them. Even when he did complete passes, like he did to start the game, he went 5 of 5 for 33 yards, which isn't that great. He completed a few checkdown routes and when that dried up, so did any bit of offense.
LSU also knew Jennings couldn't do anything, and the coaching staff actively game-planned around his inability to throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field with any accuracy. The longest passing play on the game for LSU was for 14 yards. And that came with 3 minutes left with the game out of hand. This means LSU's best passing play is when Jennings overthrew DeSean Smith and got him exposed for a blow to the head, and a 15 yard penalty on the Hogs.
Jennings finished the game 12 for 22 for 87 yards, plus 14 rushing yards and a fumble. That's less than 100 yards of total offense, which is almost incalculably awful. His ATVSQBPI was 2.15. I can't even express how awful that is. There's nothing positive to build on here.
Yet Les Miles kept trotting him out there for every series despite a demonstrated inability to run a competent offense. There is no excuse tonight. No drops. No poor game situation. This was just a quarterback going out there and practically daring his coach to bench him with his play.
To give some credit, the defense played hard all night. They did give up too many 3rd down conversions, but the defense was consistently put in poor field position, and they consistently answered the call. They kept LSU in the game for three quarters before finally giving in midway through the fourth. Three of Arkansas' eight drives started at the 40 yard line or better.
You just can't keep asking your defense to save you. Especially when you are trailing for pretty much the entire game. They fought gamely, allowing only 266 yards on 4.16 yards per play. That's a good effort. One that was entirely wasted by an offense that couldn't do a damn thing.
Despite an offensively inept performance of a mere 127 yards of total offense, Brandon Harris never saw a snap in the game. This borders on coaching malpractice. I can think of no reason why Harris did not see significant action in this game, and it's just making next year's team worse. Every snap he doesn't get is a snap we'll wish he had under his belt come 2015.
LSU just lost to a team that has not won an SEC game in two years. Not only that, the game wasn't even close. LSU lost 17-0, completely shut out by the worst team in the division. Most frustrating, with even slightly below average quarterback play, LSU likely wins this game. LSU just got its ass kicked, wasting a good performance from the defense, because the coach has too much pride to admit he made the wrong call under center.