To beat Alabama, you have to take advantage of your opportunities.
LSU forced two turnovers, including one on the first possession, and spent most of the first half in superior field position as compared to the Tide. The Tigers went to the half with zero points. Sure, the game was tied 0-0, but LSU squandered a huge advantage in field position, which ended up costing the Tigers.
Come the third quarter, LSU managed only ten yards of offense, and Alabama spent most of the quarter in LSU territory, until they finally cashed in on their chances early in the fourth. Never has a touchdown felt like more points.
Danny Etling promptly threw an interception, and Alabama then drained the clock on one of their patented choke all hope from you drives. Jalen Hurts converted two 3rd and longs all by his lonesome, pushing the ball inside the ten yard line.
Because LSU had squandered its timeouts due to some egregious clock management earlier in the half, LSU was near powerless to stop the clock as well. The defense, which had played so valiantly and so well for most of the game, finally gave out from exhaustion in the fourth. They gave LSU every chance to win this game, but they just didn’t get any help from the offense.
And, boy, was the offense terrible. We can start with Danny Etling, who missed some wide open receivers and took ill advised sacks. He ended the game 11/23 for 92 yards with one interception. That’s bad, but the numbers don’t even tell the tale of how absolutely lost he looked for most of the night.
Now, a big reason that Etling had such a miserable game is that Alabama spent most of the game hitting the ever living snot out of him. The offensive line gave him little time to pass, and Etling was sacked five times for a loss of 22 yards. He’s ultimately responsible for his own bad game, but the line gave him zero help.
The line also couldn’t open up a hole for the running backs either. Leonard Fournette only managed 35 yards on 17 carries. He never saw daylight, and spent most of the game getting hit in the backfield. Derrius Guice only chipped in 8 yards on 2 carries.
Simply put, it was a demoralizing loss. LSU ended the game, as Verne pointed out in the closing moments, with just six first downs versus eight punts. LSU ended the game with just 125 yards of total offense. 125.
Even Tennessee managed 163.
LSU could have won this game, but they mismanaged the clock, squandered field position, had a miserable passing game, and couldn’t get the ball to their best player in space.
But yeah, let’s complain about a missed holding call and the mechanics of offsetting penalties. LSU got beat every which way a team could get beat, yet they had every chance to win this game, and took advantage of none of the copious chances they had.
Everyone had a lousy night, except on the defensive side of the ball, but no one had a worse night than Ed Orgeron, who had no answers for Alabama.