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First Impressions: LSU 45, Chattanooga 10

Yawn.

NCAA Football: Chattanooga at Louisiana State
He would score on this play.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

This was a sloppy, undisciplined game that was never truly in doubt after the first quarter. If you’re gonna have a game in which you commit 10 penalties in the first half, do it in week two against an FCS team.

It’s not like the night was without positives. The defense looks positively evil. Settling in after an opening 65 yard field goal drive and losing focus in the fourth with the depth chart getting a chance, the LSU defense allowed just 227 yards on the night. They also looked like the sort of ball hawking unit that forces turnovers and big plays that we haven’t seen around here in a few years.

Speaking of big plays, the LSU offense looked entirely different this week. Against BYU, the offense had to fight for every yard, rarely getting yards in big chunks. Tonight, Danny Etling unleashed the big passing plays, moving down the field in one play.

DJ Chark, especially, was a big play machine. He caught a 46-yard and a 48-yard pass and he returned two punts into the end zone, only one of which counting as a touchdown. Number 7 was everywhere. But, as y’all can see, penalties robbed LSU of points.

Against Chattanooga, this isn’t the biggest of deals. LSU was going to win anyway, so the penalties were the difference between a blowout and a unspeakable atrocity. However, this is the kind of thing that has to stop now.

Danny Etling had a bipolar night. He threw a pretty deep ball and sparked a bunch of big plays. He also looked uncomfortable in the pocket at times and floated some balls. He ended up 8/14 for 227 yards. You like to see that many yards, but would also like to see a higher completion percentage to go with it. LSU wants a game manager, not a bomb thrower. Though, a bomb thrower would be great if it comes as an additional skill to game management, not an alternative.

Derrius Guice is still Derrius Guice, showing off power, speed, and vision all night long. Darrel Williams’ development into a legitimate chage of pace threat is the biggest news of the season so far. He looks like he’s added a whole new dimension to his game, giving LSU depth in the backfield we weren’t entirely sure we would have. Our strength keeps getting stronger.

The biggest issue was the general sloppiness of the team. There was some ill-timed penalties, a few dropped balls, and Etling looked about a half step off for most of the first half. The second team defense let up a touchdown, and Stephen Sullivan dropped what should have been Myles Brennan’s first collegiate TD pass. Not big deals, but enough that the coaching staff will have something to yell about on Monday.

OK, and the kickers stink. Connor Culp did hit a late 45-yarder, but that doesn’t erase the memory of two other misses on the night by LSU kickers.

In the end, it was exactly what we thought it would be: an easy win against a completely outmatched foe. It’s hard to read too much into this one. On to the next one.