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Behind the Box Score: Texas

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Burrow throws for a lot of yards, and the defense allows a bunch of yards

LSU v Texas
Big air
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

With every silver lining, there comes a dark cloud. LSU’s offense had a national coming out party, with Burrow setting stadium records and three receivers topping 100 yards. On the other hand, the defense got lit up like Fremont Street in Las Vegas.

For two schools which spent the week arguing over the mantle of DBU, the big winner of that debate seems to be Ohio St. Or some other team that didn’t give up over 400 passing yards on the weekend. Sure, the other team is trying to win, but neither defense could buy a stop, and that turned out to be the biggest factor in the game.

471. Joe Burrow’s passing yards. You cannot discuss this game without first talking about Joe Burrow going 31 for 39 and 471 yards with 4 touchdowns. Even more amazing, he started the game 3-6 for 46 yards and a pick. He would close out the rest of the night with a 28-33 for 425 yards performance for the ages. He topped Colt McCoy’s passing record in DKR by a single yard.

Then he waved goodbye to the crowd, fulling embracing in his inner super villain. Our MeauxJeaux JeauxJeaux is all grown up.

10-20-144. Sam Ehlinger’s first half passing stats. If only the first half happens, we come out of this game bragging about DBU. Ehlinger was completely ineffective in the first half, completing just half off his passes. In the second half, he would turn it around to the tune of 21-27 for 257 yards. It was like Tom Herman found the effective QB switch, just a little too late.

39. Fourth quarter points. Nearly half of all the scoring took place in the final frame, when both defenses had almost completely given out. Neither team could get a stop in the second half, when simply getting one might have made the difference in the game. LSU punted on the first drive of the third quarter, and that was the last punt of the game. Each offense would score on every single drive for the rest of the night. That is suboptimal, even in a win.

6-8. Texas’ third down conversion rate in the second half. Throw in a key fourth down conversion that went for a touchdown, the Longhorn offense kept making big plays when they needed it most. And these were not all short conversions. Here was the yards-to-go, in sequential order, broken up by drive:

6
9
1

10

3 (converted on 4th down)

10
11
22 (failed, kicked field goal)

10 (converted by penalty)

The drive during which Texas converted two third downs of 10+ yards is obviously the worst, but let’s dig in to that first drive of the second half, when Texas converted three first downs, two from long distance.

19-86. Texas’ opening drive of the second half. 19 plays, 86 yards, 7:17 of clock. LSU went into the half up by 13, thanks to two scores in the final two minutes of the half, turning a 10-7 nailbiter into a comfortable 20-7 lead. LSU would even get the ball to start the second half. LSU went three and out, failing to convert a 3rd and 2 on a simple screen pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and then punted the ball away. LSU had a chance to go up big and squandered it, but Texas would completely change the tenor of the game with this drive. Texas drove 86 yards, ate up half of the quarter, all on a drive in which the longest play went for 12 yards. Only two plays topped 10 yards. This was a slow, methodical death march of sheer domination. Texas went from being on the verge of getting blown out to knowing they could push around the LSU defense at will. No one play changed the game, but this drive did. The game can clearly be divided into the before and after.

3-5. Texas’ red zone success rate. LSU’s back-to-back defensive stands in the first quarter set the tone for the first half. Texas would spend the rest of the game chasing those points they lost early. LSU went 5-5 in the red zone, but this shows the limited utility of traditional red zone stats. LSU scored on all five red zone trips, but the Tigers only scored two touchdowns. So LSU scored just 23 points on its five red zone trips, just 2 more points than Texas and their 3-5 in the red zone number. When Texas got on the doorstep, they walked through the front door. LSU kicked more field goals than it would have liked.

3. Grant Delpit tackles. No stat sums up the defense’s poor night more than this. Delpit got trucked in open space, something that rarely happens. He had just 3 tackles and showed up nowhere else on the box score. No PBU’s, no sacks, no turnovers, no nothing. This was perhaps his worst game in an LSU uniform. Delpit needs to be great for this team to live up to its potential, and this weekend, he wasn’t. The offense was able to carry the load, but LSU can’t have the defense play this poorly. Hopefully, it was just one bad half after a demoralizing drive on the road and in the heat against a really good team. But the warning lights on the dashboard are all lit up. Hopefully, it’s just how the game went, and not a long term concern, but this bears watching.

4. Let’s end it on a high. Four LSU players had over 100+ yards of all-purpose yards. Justin Jefferson, J’Marr Chase, and Terrace Marshall each had over 100 receiving yards, a first for LSU to have a trio of receivers go over the century mark. They looked unstoppable all night. Clyde Edwards-Helaire wasn’t as explosive, but he combined 87 rushing yards with 15 receiving yards to also top 100 yards of offense. Burrow gets the headlines, but everyone had a big night.