First and foremost, I want to say how proud I am of the players who actually suited up for this game. Down to 38 scholarship players, LSU was missing, literally, over half of its roster for this game, and the guys who showed up showed heart and dedication, and that effort should be respected.
And while I won’t blame anyone for opting out before the NFL draft or missing a game due to an injury, let me say that not every other player missing was due to one of those reasons. If you were eligible, and didn’t suit up for a short-handed team for a brand new staff… what the hell are you thinking? You only get a first chance to make a first impression, and let’s just say that if you could play and didn’t… your first impression is a one way ticket to permanent bench warming.
Look, I don’t want to belabor the point, but LSU was not just missing its entire QB room, its top two running backs, and its #1 receiver, but it was also missing 20 of the 22 players listed in the two-deep defensive depth chart. TWENTY.
So LSU got its ass kicked, and I don’t care. Sometimes, the victory is just in showing up.
The worst part for LSU is that Kansas State converted six of eight third downs in the first half, and the two they didn’t convert turned into fourth downs, where KSU went 2 of 2. KSU controlled the clock, chewed up yards on long drives, but went into the half with a two-touchdown lead thanks to a great Jontre Kirklin completion in the end zone to Jaray Jenkins.
LSU had a chance to keep it close to start the second half, but failed to convert on its drive, and K-State responded with a touchdown drive of its own. And the rout was officially on.
LSU wouldn’t force a punt until roughly the two minute mark of the third quarter. While the offense sputtered, the even bigger problem was that the defense could not buy a stop if their life depending on it. That said, a big part of that was just how many players were missing.
The Tigers simply couldn’t overcome the sever personnel losses and the utter lack of depth. Playing without a scholarship QB certainly played a huge part, and while Kirklin was certainly game, he finished the game with just 7 of 11 passing for 138 yards. He also threw two picks.
Again, hard to blame the guys who actually showed up.
At the end of the day, LSU was utterly dominated by K-State. They never were really threatened and LSU had no chance to win this game. It was a blowout from beginning to end, and LSU pretty much got its ass kicked from the first quarter through the fourth.
But we can’t complain. But at least some players showed up, and they played their guts out. And for that, we appreciate them.