LSU gets revenge, Orgeron gets reprieve in The Swamp

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LSU at Florida 2017

LSU called out Florida and then Florida called out LSU. The Gators celebrated at Tiger Stadium after a huge road win a year ago. This time around, Florida was cocky enough to schedule Homecoming against LSU. Bad idea.

The Tigers came in wounded, embarrassed and seemingly in disarray. The Gators were licking their chops, ready to feast on the Tigers again in their quest to “punish” LSU for last year’s hurricane fiasco. With a hurricane bearing down on the Louisiana coast, The Louisiana State University blew away the storm surrounding its football program with a hurricane force effort Saturday.

In the end, the Tigers celebrated at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with a thrilling 17-16 victory.

It was a game of survival.

LSU’s chopped up fronts on both sides of the ball got chopped up again with players starting, leaving, returning and leaving again. It was next man up to the utmost.

Somehow, LSU survived.

The Tigers parlayed a strong first half performance on offense with a slew of motion and jet sweeps and an aggressive defense into a convincing 17-3 lead after scoring on its opening possession of the second half. Then, it was simply a matter of holding on for dear life, and they did so.

It was a gut-check win for a young, inexperienced team.

Both Derrius Guice and Darrell Williams played hurt and at less than 100 percent. LSU rushed for 216 yards against Florida. Danny Etling completed all of one pass to a wide receiver and on that one, D.J. Chark took it away from a defensive back for a simultaneous possession reception. Etling passed for just 125 yards but one-time LSU commit Felipe Franks passed for just 108 yards.

It was a game of attrition with players going down on both sides because of injury, and LSU lost wide receiver Derrick Dillon in the first half when he was flagged for targeting.

Considering where LSU has been recently, with its blowout loss to Mississippi State and an embarrassing loss to Troy in games that they were favored in, this was a monumental win against a ranked team on the road.

Despite being in just his first year as permanent head coach, Ed Orgeron’s future was always being questioned and justifiably so. The same is true of Joe Alleva and his future.

Orgeron did not handle the post-Troy loss very well, calling out Nick Brossette, calling out his kickers, questioning coaches and telling the public about a private meeting with his boss and two coordinators. His leadership skills were clearly in question.

Everyone in Louisiana (mostly everyone) wants to see Orgeron succeed. He is a homegrown, hometown hero who loves the state and loves LSU. This would clearly be his last job. He wants to make it a long stay. That possibility increased dramatically after what happened Saturday.

His players responded in splendid fashion, a sign that they still had the back of their coach.

While Orgeron’s first full season as head coach has been less than stellar, he can hardly be blamed for the players on hand.

LSU has had a rash of injuries up front. LSU has clearly intensified its disciplinary measures, resulting in several key players being suspended, who would have been integral parts of the current team. Then, there is the matter of missing on recruits, even those who were highly rated.

Some are just not that good while others did not fit or did not like what they experienced and transferred out of LSU. Orgeron is playing with the hand he was dealt. This is not an overly talented LSU team. That is obvious.

Additionally, its two elite players have not been elite. Guice is injured and far less than at optimism level. Arden Key has been largely invisible since returning to the starting lineup.

Next up, LSU faces a better football team in Auburn. It was Auburn that ended the career of Les Miles as the Tiger boss a year ago. It will not end the LSU career of Orgeron anytime soon, regardless of the outcome. That was assured Saturday.

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

Chief Executive Officer

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE 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 Sports Media Association, National Football…

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