Ok well, that’s over, and it didn’t really matter so I hope you’re all over it already. We all knew how it was going to go, and Bo Pelini’s tour of historic incompetence has struck again. The offense had a great first half, but ultimately their personnel limitations at quarterback and offensive line kept them from a potentially very good night. The fact of the matter is, Bo Pelini needs to go.
The game started fittingly, with Alabama marching effortlessly into the end zone on seven plays. LSU started their offensive night really well, taking it 60 yards down the field riding Kayshon Boutte and Arik Gilbert in the quick game, but turned it over on downs when they perplexingly bypassed a quarterback sneak in favor of a handoff to Tyrion Davis Price.
Bama marched right back down off the momentum swing, scoring another touchdown and making it 14-0, and that was the end of the game. LSU went three and out and Alabama marched right back down again, scoring on a humiliating LSU coverage bust.
LSU answered that with a fantastic offensive possession, driving 95 yards for a touchdown on a long reception by Kayshon Boutte, who prematurely dropped the ball but had it picked up by Jontre Kirklin. Alabama answered quickly with a 65-yard bomb to DeVonta Smith. LSU hit right back with a 54-yard sprint by John Emery.
Bama then struck for 61 more yards to DeVonta Smith, his second touchdown. LSU punted, and Bama answered with a field goal to make it 38-14. LSU went three and out, and Bama then hit DeVonta Smith again for a one-handed TD, to make the score 45-14. LSU punted, and the half was mercifully over. LSU started the second half with a punt, which Bama answered with one of their one. LSU punted again. Bama then lost a fumble, which LSU apparently was into because they answered with a lost fumble of their own. Bama then ran it into the end zone. The teams then traded field goals and that was it, 55-17.
Let’s start with a little bit of good, LSU had a solid first half offensively. Bama was playing a lot of cover 3 early on, so Steve Ensminger decided here to attack that with a Y sail. The deep third defender here to the boundary has to respect Boutte’s vertical so it opens the sail underneath. A good concept against cover three. Good job early by them throwing on early downs and keeping Finley in rhythm for as long as they could. They couldn’t really counter when Bama started taking things away and forcing Finley out of rhythm, but such are your limitations with a true freshman quarterback you never expected to start. I thought the offensive staff did as good a job as they could given their debilitating attrition and opponent.
I thought Kayshon Boutte, aside from prematurely dropping the football, had a really sharp night. Here, Bama brings a corner blitz but busts the coverage behind it. I think the safety is supposed to replace the corner here and account for Boutte instead of taking the flat, as Dylan Moses is already there to take the guy in the flat. Good job by Finley reading that and getting it to Boutte.
This right here is why LSU sticks to straight man to man so much. It looks like Derek Stingley thinks they’re playing cover 3 so he just takes deep third and doesn’t follow Billingsley since his route goes elsewhere. Cordale Flott had....other ideas and played man to man on John Metchie, vacating his deep third. Brutal, but if you’re wondering why LSU plays so much 2 man and man free, this is why. This is what happens when LSU calls anything else. Just brutal incompetence by Bo Pelini in his failure to install anything. A defense that is bad or gets outschemed is one thing, LSU doesn’t even really have a defense installed.
A similar issue. Alabama runs a switch vert here and Stingley/Flott seem very confused as to whether they are supposed to switch guys or just stay with their original assignments and run through the rub. Stingley seems to think it is a switch and passes his guy off, but looks back after Flott comes with Smith.
As seen above, it was very clear that Steve Sarkisian figured out quickly that LSU can basically only play 2-man and man free if they want to ensure they account for all the eligible receivers, which is pretty important imo, and just started chucking it deep. If a team is gonna play up on the line and play straight man to man and you have DeVonta Smith, John Metchie, and en extremely accurate quarterback, you turn it loose and take the top off of them. Here is LSU in man free. It was very easy for Alabama.
Devonta Smith deserves the Heisman.