LSU unable to overcome penalties, injuries, officiating, Texas A&M in historic 7 OT game
Beating a good opponent on the road as an underdog is tough. Trying to do so without key players coming into the game and losing others during the game makes that task even more difficult. Winning the game when seemingly every call goes against you is next to impossible.
The combination of these elements converging conspired to do in LSU late Saturday night in College Station, TX.
Initially, I could not properly express myself following the epic 74-72 LSU loss at Texas A&M in a record-tying seven overtimes. That is why I waited until today.
Where do you start?
Sometimes, it is for you and sometimes it is not. This was a night for Texas A&M, not for LSU. Everything that could go right went right for the Aggies while everything that could go wrong for the Tigers went wrong. I still believe LSU is the better team, for what that is worth.
LSU had the game won on so many occasions.
Many will call it bias and some even conspiracy but the Aggies got every meaningful call and every meaningful break imaginable.
I do not think it was intentional for the officiating crew to miss the fact that Kellen Mond’s knee was down with possession of the football in the final 30 seconds. By missing this and stopping play and the clock, that saved at least 15 seconds for a team that had no timeouts. Of course, the review went in favor of the Aggies, negating a game-clinching interception by Grant Delpit.
Think about it.
The receivers were well down the field. A&M had no timeouts remaining. By the time they got back to the line-of-scrimmage, got set and snapped the ball to either spike it or run a play, there would have been no more than 10 seconds left, if not fewer.
That said, LSU had every chance to win the game before this unfortunate officiating mistake.
Delpit dropped an interception. Your best player, certainly one of your best players, has to catch the ball in that situation.
The LSU offense could have put the game away with a first down on its last possession but failed to convert on a third-and-four situation.
Previously, one of your other best players, perhaps the best kicker in the nation in Cole Tracy, narrowly missed a field goal that hit the right upright.
Then, LSU’s best player, otherwise, Greedy Williams, allowed a touchdown pass on the final play of regulation on the 18-yard scoring toss to Quartney Davis. Give Mond credit for a great throw.
Of course, that came after the officials put a second back on the clock after the game had apparently ended. Ed Orgeron said afterwards that the game should have been over.
By the way, LSU had 10 penalties for 70 yards and had a player ejected for targeting (Phillips). The Aggies had all of three penalties for for 24 yards. Apparently, they are a very disciplined team.
In overtime, it appeared the Tigers may have won again when Delpit forced Jace Sternberger to lose the ball after an apparent completed pass from Mond but it was ruled an incomplete pass. In fairness, it was a very close call which could have gone either way. The call on the field was upheld. If the call on the field had been a fumble, that likely would have been upheld. Again, A&M got the break.
In overtime, LSU got a mini-stop, forcing an A&M field goal and had a first-and-goal at the Aggie seven-yard line.
Against a tired defense, LSU elected to run the ball three times. Joe Burrow was having his way throwing the football, at that stage. Needless to say, the Les Miles-like play-calling resulted in three yards and LSU had to settle for a field goal to extend the game when the Tigers should have put it away.
Then, there was the defensive approach.
While I understand the value of varying defenses, the only truly effective time to rush three against five offensive linemen is in a half-ending or game-ending situation in a prevent approach.
At any level, when you give a quarterback up to 10 seconds to survey, look around and move around against defenders playing zone, moving parts, as in moving players, are going to find an opening.
In particular, why Dave Aranda, whom I respect, did not blitz Mond deep into the overtime periods when his defensive line was chopped up with injuries and spent, with no legs left, is a legitimate question.
At that point, no one was stopping anyone. The defenses were spent, done. The only chance to get a stop was to take a chance with pressure. Seriously, the LSU defense had to defend 105 snaps by Texas A&M. Who can do that, especially with key players injured or ejected? Jacob Phillips was thrown out for a targeting call and will miss the first half of LSU’s bowl game.
On the final two-point conversion, the game-winning play was set up by a pass interference call on Greedy Williams on a play where he was simply hand-fighting with the receiver. It was an absolute no-call. To make matters worse, Williams protested, understandably, and got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Then, Mond hit Kendrick Rogers for the winner.
On the other side of the ball, kudos to Joe Burrow.
Where would LSU be without him this season?
He played his best game of the season, completing 25-of-38 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns and he rushed 29 times for 100 yards and three touchdowns in a brilliant effort. Incidentally, he had four passes dropped and one or two others that could have been caught. Ja’Marr Chase is a talented player with a very good future but he has to catch the ball better.
By the way, isn’t it time for the whole Gatorade/Powerade bath thing to be put to rest?
Like The Wave in the stands, it was cute, initially.
How embarrassing was it to have your head coach soaked with sticky liquid from head to toe with a game basically just starting?
Additionally, the concept of pouring the substance on a coach is a bit much. Water would be the preferred substance. If you don’t think so, try pouring the other liquid on yourself and see how it feels. On some level, you have to think that some players enjoy this process to get back at their coach in some fashion.
Speaking of the head coach, Ed Orgeron has done an outstanding job with this team. They have won nine games. How many had them doing so? For what it is worth, I picked them to win eight and people thought I was crazy.
LSU will have a chance to get back at A&M next season. It will be a long wait.
Speaking of long waits, now LSU has to wait for its bowl assignment, which just got reduced significantly. Does any LSU fan really want to go back to the Citrus Bowl for a third straight year? Does the Outback Bowl excite you?
There will be no Allstate Sugar Bowl for the Tigers but the Peach Bowl is not out of the question. The quest for its first 10-win season since 2012 escaped the Tigers in excruciating fashion. They will get one more shot at that number. Hopefully, Orgeron and his Tigers will use the dreadful experience at College Station as motivation against whomever they face next.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…