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Wednesday Wayback: A New Hope

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At the time the SEC Championship game felt like a consolation prize for LSU, when it was worth so much more...

Well, we all know what happened next. LSU came home from Tuscaloosa and mudholed Louisiana Tech before defeating [checks notes] ...Ed Orgeron and looked to be in prime position to sail into the BCS National Championship until Arkansas came to town. And then...yeah.

I still maintain that it’s the second worst loss in LSU history, yes even behind that game. Hearts were broken, dreams were dashed, and it felt like almost no LSU fan wanted anything to do with the SEC Championship. Did they want to win the SEC? Of course they did, everybody does. Did it feel like a consolation prize after a national championship was on the table and then taken away? You’re damn right it did. To make matters worse, Matt Flynn was out with an injury and Ryan Perrilloux was starting in his place. A week ago it had all the stakes and hype of a “win and you’re in game”, but after the Arkansas loss all the wind was sucked out of the purple and gold sails.

But little did we know...

The Game

[0:00] I had forgotten all about the onside non-onside kick! Sneaky sneaky. But it definitely does blow up in LSU’s face. Rousing start.

[2:05] Erik Ainge looks like a 33 years old business analyst.

[3:00] I am so glad Nike fixed Tennessee’s shade of orange.

[3:30] JONATHAN CROMPTON, DUAL THREAT QUARTERBAahahahahahahaha.

[4:20] Read option from the Wildcat tears apart one of the best defenses in the nation. 2007 was the worst, and for that reason it was the best.

[5:30] Uh that Fulmer sequence wasn’t awkward at all.

[7:30] I have no clue how this wasn’t an interception. Pittman wiffs on the interception and Chris Brown (no) is untouched into the endzone. Tennessee on top 7-0 early.

[11:20] You may commence your Jacob Hester swooning.

[12:25] Safe playcall to get your quarterback rolling. Bootleg on the play action to your tight end near the sideline. But it just so happens that Zinger is able to bust a 32 yard with a few broken tackles.

[14:30] I cannot put into words how much I love the weak side fullback dive, especially one ran by Jacob Hester. It’s the perfect “zig when they expect you to zag” play. Maybe don’t run it on 3rd and 7, but it worked so that makes it a good play call.

[16:00] Oh hey John Chavis. Funny seeing you here.

[17:55] LSU bogs down in the red zone and has to settle for a field goal. 7-3 Tennessee.

[20:00] Patient run by Arian Foster gets him one on one with Craig Steltz, and Foster will win that more often than he loses it.

[27:10] Gotta say, early on the Perrilloux-Williams speed option was gashing Tennessee. Here they bite on Perrilloux and when Williams gets a head of steam with blockers he can scoot.

[27:55] And then they chain that play with a middle screen to Charles Scott for another first down. Again, easy passes for Perrilloux.

[30:00] I think Perrilloux might have had a chance at getting close to the sticks, if not past it had he not cut upfield, but alas Colt David is called on for a second time in the red zone for a first quarter field goal. 7-6 Tennessee.

[32:30] Thanks to a solid return, Tennessee gets to start their drive inside LSU territory near midfield.

[33:30] Oh right, yeah that happened.

[28:25] IT’S A GOOD BOY. Oh a nice read from Perrilloux to see the blitz and get rid of the ball.

[44:00] Hindsight is 20/20, but at this junction of the game with the score like it is and the ball where it is, LSU probably should have kicked the trey.

[52:50] On 3rd and 7, Perrilloux stands in there and takes a hit but fires a zip to Byrd. No more easy passes anymore.

[53:15] It’s generally a bad idea to run backwards when you have the football.

[56:00] Thanks to a backwards run, a sack, a penalty, and another sack, LSU will punt on 4th and 36.

[1:01:40] “What a brilliant call,” Gary said after LSU gave the ball to Hester on the fullback dive. Maybe that was Gary Crowton’s downfall: he was too smart.

[1:03:30] 3rd and 5 and Tennessee has some miscommunication on the blitz. Way too much space is left in the zone for a slant and nobody marks Doucet.

[1:07:20] On 3rd and 6, Perrilloux just fires a hardball between two orange shirts and Byrd somehow catches it with one hand.

[1:09:30] It’s a little awkward, but LSU hits a wide receiver screen to the flats with the tackle and guard out front. It’s a little awkward, but man is it effective. Ciron Black never really blocks anybody though.

[1:12:15] Bad call on a pass to the flats keeps LSU on the field with the clock rolling and without a timeout to stop the clock. So LSU spikes it to settle for a third red zone field goal. However, this one never hooks back to the center of the goalposts. Wide right.

[1:17:49] Oh my god they kept the Dr. Pepper throw in this replay ahahahahaha.

[1:21:45] Perrilloux has to improvise and throw “Da Bomb” downfield, lucky for him Brandon LaFell has five yards on the secondary, good for 48 yards. LSU is in the Red Zone again.

[1:23:10] The reverse is read and snuffed out by Rico McCoy, who blows the play the hell up.

[1:23:50] 3rd and 16, Perrilloux once again puts it in double coverage and Byrd comes up with it for a touchdown. 13-7 LSU.

[1:30:14] Once again, the Wildcat carves up LSU. Tennessee is in full rhythm and has four first downs and counting in the drive.

[1:33:25] And Tennessee stalls out in the red zone to miss their own field goal.

[1:37:40] Yes Gary, it would have been scary indeed.

[1:37:50] Option pitch to Holliday slices Tennessee, but will the play be used again later? No. Because Holliday just lets go of the football when his arm gets popped and Eric Berry is there to recover.

[1:40:20] Chris Brown finds a hole in the zone coverage and is wiiiiiiide open for a 20 yard pitch and catch.

[1:43:10] Austin Rodgers is open on a play action curl route to put the ball dangerously close to the LSU end zone.

[1:46:20] On 3rd and goal, Ainge just makes a terrific throw for the touchdown to put Tennessee ahead 14-13.

[1:50:20] I’m not even sure what Perrilloux was trying to do there. Gary says Perrilloux saw Tolliver sit, but even if he did that would be an incredibly ill-advised throw.

[1:54:05] Hard to blame a kid for a 51 yarder sailing on him, but it had the distance.

[2:05:20] With Perrilloux hampered by a finger injury, LSU can’t do much and is forced to punt. Doucet is down as well after the drive falters.

[2:06:35] But this is 2007 Les Miles, so he fakes the punt. LSU lets the rushers go past the blockers, allowing Quinn Johnson to slip behind them and take a pop pass for a first down.

[2:08:45] Perrilloux has Byrd open down the sideline, but he overthrows him.

[2:11:25] A penalty forces LSU into a 3rd and 15. With Perrilloux’s finger, LSU punts after running a speed option.

[2:13:30] Oh yes, the Backyard Brawl is tonight. Surely West Virginia will beat a hapless Pitt team, though.

[2:14:35] Here is the game. Jonathan Zenon jumps the everloving hell out of this route and strolls into the endzone unimpeded. LSU goes for two on the Perrilloux zone read and gets it to make it a square 21-14.

[2:18:50] And then Zenon gets away with a shove. It’s a definite no call, but it’s not egregious.

[2:21:00] Ainge throws it into double coverage but Zenon falls back too deep and Beckwith whiffs (Beckwhiffs) on the pick, and all of a sudden Tennessee has a very real threat brewing.

[2:24:55] Tennesse has to go on 4th down and has the first down, but the ball is dropped. Turnover on downs. It’s Hester time.

[2:27:30] But Hester can’t pick up the final yard and LSU has to punt away and hope the defense wins the game with 4:10 left.

[2:30:00] On 2nd and 17, Foster gets open in the flats and takes it all the way to the LSU 15. Like the drop never happened...

[2:30:50] But on the next play Ainge makes a horrid decision and doesn’t even see Darry Beckwith reading his eyes. Easy pick and that’ll do pig.

Later that night, Oklahoma would knock off #1 Missouri to win the Big 12 Championship game and Dave Wannstedt would lead the Pitt Panthers to a mind-numbing upset of #2 West Virginia. LSU woke up on December 1st the 4th ranked team in the nation, still not fully over the fact that they had a clear shot at goal and they tripped. They went to bed that night SEC Champions and knowing that the exact breaks they needed to happen did happen, and that they would have one more chance at playing for a national championship...