UL-Monroe did not have a first down until just shy of the halfway mark of the second quarter. That's not just setting a tone, that's a deafening boom. It's premature to say LSU's defense has come of age, let's wait until this team reaches SEC play, but they are a pretty damned advanced adolescent.
The offense took its time to get going, as all of the pieces seemed to be there, just not quite fitting together. The team wasn't exactly stuck in neutral, but it was more like an off-road truck that keeps kicking out of gear.
However, with just a 10-0 halftime lead, the margin still seemed insurmountable so long as the offense didn't turn the ball over. ULM's offense simply had no chance of putting together a sustained drive. It was only a matter of time before LSU converted a few drives into points and made the scoreboard reflect the domination on the field.
ULM's longest drive of the game, before the full scale substitutions of the fourth quarter, was 12 yards. Twelve. Heck, the Warhawks only had four drives longer than 3 plays and out. This was like smothering a kitten. They didn't have a chance. Letting the Warhawks get a few first downs against the second and third stringers as some sort of moral victory was an act of mercy... until those backups forced the first turnover of the game.
The offense finally showed up to start the second half, cranking out three straight touchdown drives, all on short fields due to terrible punts. LSU also got to put on a clinic on red zone offense. Instead of big plays gobbling up huge amounts of yards, LSU sledgehammered its way into the end zone with a series of big, strong runs that established LSU's dominance. It was power football, and it was beautiful.
It's tough to draw too many conclusions from this game. It is ULM, after all. LSU is supposed to blow them out, and that's exactly what they did. But it was fun to watch HOW this LSU team blew ULM out. This is the kind of football we've come to expect from LSU: powerful, ball-control offense methodically breaking down the opposing team's will, while the defense dominates the game.
The final numbers speak to the defense's total annihilation:
77 yards passing
16 yards rushing
2nd consecutive shutout
I don't care who you are playing, those numbers are ridiculous. LSU does need to show they can shut down a good offense, but they have absolutely proven they can completely dominate a bad one. This defense has spent the last ten quarters learning how to be great.
Next week come midterms. We see if this is just a mirage of the opponents, or whether this LSU defense really can be something truly special.