Beatdown Saturday: Tigers, Wave get rude treatment on road

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One was expected. One was not.

The end result was a day not seen in the last quarter-century.

LSU was dominated on both sides of the football in a 37-7 loss at Mississippi State Saturday, while Tulane could not maintain a good start and lost 56-14 at No. 2-ranked Oklahoma.

The last time both the Tigers and Green Wave were beaten by 30 or more points on the same day? Go all the way back to Oct. 31, 1992, when Ole Miss blanked LSU 32-0 and Memphis routed Tulane 62-20.

On this day, the Tigers looked nothing like the nation’s 12th-ranked team – though you have to wonder if a 30-point beatdown, the biggest ever by a Mississippi State team over LSU, might send the Tigers plummeting completely out of the top 25.

Danny Etling completed only 13 of 29 passes, Derrius Guice was held to 76 yards on the ground and the Bulldog offense shredded the LSU defense for 465 yards, including 268 total yards (188 passing, 80 rushing) by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and

The Tigers were favored by a touchdown. “I don’t think it’s an upset,” Fitzgerald said.

It’s one thing to get beaten at the point of attack. It’s another to play undisciplined, as LSU’s nine penalties for 112 yards and two ejections for targeting would suggest – which, of course, brings up another issue on the NCAA’s ejection rule.

Not only were Donnie Alexander and Neil Farrell disqualified for their helmet-to-helmet hits on Fitzgerald, but they will miss the first half of next Saturday’s game with Syracuse in Tiger Stadium.

“Each player is going to run for the amount of penalties they had,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “If that doesn’t work, the whole team’s going to run.”

The penalty problem isn’t something that just occurred Saturday night. The Tigers have now committed 30 penalties in three games, an average of 10 per game. By comparison, LSU had 58 penalties in 12 games in 2016, an average of less than five per game.

Two of those penalties nullified LSU touchdowns on offense, and both could be considered questionable, particularly the offensive pass interference call in the first quarter that wiped out an Etling to D.J. Chark 67-yard pass and run.

If Orgeron tells the truth on Monday, the truth could be very ugly.

“Give Mississippi State credit,” Orgeron said. “They played very well.” But, he added, “This is the SEC. This won’t be the best (team) we face.”

Meanwhile, in Norman, Tulane went in as a five-touchdown underdog to an Oklahoma team coming off a road victory over Ohio State.

The Green Wave hung with the Sooners for more than a quarter, scoring on its first two drives to take a 14-7 lead before OU scored the game’s final 49 points.

Willie Fritz’s offense moved the ball well on its first four drives, but the Sooners adjusted after that, shutting down Tulane’s attack while it built its working margin.

Optimism can be a good thing, but reality said that Tulane would come home to face Army this week at 1-2. Coincidentally, it will face an opponent for the second straight week coming off a trip to Ohio State. This one figures to be a more even matchup, however.

Meanwhile, LSU welcomes another team from New York, Syracuse, to Tiger Stadium. It will be interesting to see the adjustments Orgeron and his staff make after the debacle in Starkville.

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Lenny Vangilder


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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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