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Grading Out: LSU vs. Florida

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How did the units fare in the toughest game to date?

QB

Jake: A. Harris was fantastic in the first half, the best we've ever seen him play. I think he missed one throw, and that might have been a potential PI. He commanded the offense well, threw the ball incredibly well, and did what he had to do to help the team and then some.

Paul: B. Credit where it's due, Harris made some beautiful throws in this game and for that I praise him. It's not an A from me partially because he went quiet the second half but moreso because almost all of his production came on two chunk plays - one of which was a bit fluky (scramble TD bomb), the other of which was a trick play. I thought Harris played well, don't get me wrong, and he's progressing for sure, but his production wasn't quite as stable and consistent as it was last week.

RB

Jake: A. Fournette ran for 180 and 2 TD's had roughly 5-6 yards per carry and the commentators were saying it was a "quiet night". When you're not running for 225 with 3 huge runs, I guess it is. But this was arguably just as impressive as any other game he's had. Best run D he's faced yet, and he continued to get good gain after good gain.

Paul: A. Fournette slugged his way to 180 in this one. His longest carry of the night was 25 yards. This was absolutely the team's stiffest challenge to date and they responded with 41 carries for 221 yards. 5.4 a pop is a sexy number that's gonna win you most games. I'd have liked to have seen more from the reserves, but when the end results are still good, it's hard to complain.

WR

Jake: B+. Only a B+ because it was virtually only Dural and Dupre in the passing game. Now maybe there were no targets for Diarse/Quinn, but you'd still like to see them get a bit more involved. Anyhow, Dural and Dupre were fantastic, with both filling a specific role needed. The former going over the middle and making a big 3rd Down catch or two. And the latter being a deep threat.

Paul: B-. Look, this should be the baseline for this unit, not an A grade performance. It was a good, solid night at the office, against a good, albeit overrated, secondary. There's still a drop or two. There's still some porous blocks. A's should go for the absolute top performances, not a decent performance from a unit that's been outright bad all season.

OL

Jake: A. Fantastic. They helped open up some great holes for LF7 to run through, and Harris was hardly touched all night. Another terrific all-around performance from them.

Paul: A. Zero sacks. Sure, Harris helped some here, but they kept him upright and clean almost all night. They also won the war of attrition up front despite injuries to Gordon and then Teuhema. Weathersby made some freshman mistakes, but also played impressively well in a tough spot. This is a really strong unit.

DL

Jake: A. Florida got absolutely nothing going on the ground all night long. Only 55 yards rushing or so. Lewis Neal had a monster game, and if he wasn't getting held on every plan, Arden Key would have as well.

Paul: A. Look, if our DL didn't kick people's teeth in, we'd probably have a wretched defense. I think we've been marginal at the next two levels all year long. 6 TFL on the night and Lewis Neal absolutely obliterated up front. We thought the DTs would be the heart and soul, but turns out it's the squatty Neal, who never gives up on a play.

LB

Jake: B. Beckwith was strong again, especially against the run. Solid, good effort from all of them.

Paul: B+. Best game of the season for me. 18 total tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 hurries, a sack and a PBU. Beckwith and Debo got the job done. Sure, none of the other LBs on this team are existent, but these two were great!

DB

Jake: C. They closed really well, with Harris finishing 2/12 or so, and not very good after Florida's last TD drive. But the coverage busts continue to plague them, and there were multiple huge completions allowed.

Paul: D. Look, I called 'em trash last week, and I'm sticking to my guns until they decide they want to play up to the DBU standard they constantly brag about. Treon Harris is a bad passer and we surrendered nearly 300 yards through the air to him. He did it on 8.46 Y/A, which would rank in the top 25 in the country. He completed greater than 50% of his passes, so the efficiency argument is slowly trending downward as well. And this was a close game not a "oh the LSU defense just doesn't care because they have a big lead" nonsense I heard last week.

Oh, and the big plays. Let's talk about the big plays. I know Billy thinks this long bomb to Callaway "won't be replicated often," yet I can't help but think this is about the truest thing from this unit. If it's not one guy busting it's another. Pass plays of 48, 38, 30 and 41. I know people will point to the raw numbers of long plays allowed and tell me I'm wrong, and they are perfectly allowed to think that. Giving up chunk plays is the surest way to undermine an otherwise quality defensive effort and this number will only grow as LSU's offensive competition increases significantly over the back half of the season.