LSU players, coaching combine to capture key moment, victory at Texas

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Justin Jefferson at Texas

It was a phrase that Ed Orgeron repeated the week of the Texas game.

The LSU head coach did so again after a 45-38 win over the Longhorns.

“This isn’t about me,” said Orgeron. “This is about LSU.”

The game featuring the fourth-year Tigers boss against the Texas coach that LSU pursued mightily almost three years ago made for some added pre-game intrigue.

Once the game began, however, it was about the players on both sides and the coaching staffs as wholes. In some key moments, Texas coach Tom Herman and his staff simply made inferior choices in Austin.

Late in the first half, LSU had erased a 7-3 deficit with a pair of scoring drives for a touchdown and a field goal. When the Longhorns took over at their 25-yard line, 1:41 remained and LSU had one timeout at its disposal.

After a three and out including a third-down sack, LSU got the ball back at its 42. Joe Burrow proceeded to complete three straight passes for 19, 18 and 21 yards with the last connecting with Justin Jefferson for a touchdown.

With Texas trailing 37-28 in the fourth quarter, the Horns were playing a second and 22 at the LSU 42. Instead of trying to get some of those yards back and make third down more manageable, quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw long and incomplete. Ehlinger ran 13 yards on third down to set up Texas kicker Cameron Dicker’s 47-yard field goal. Perhaps the drive yields more otherwise.

The key play of the game featured a huge and unnecessary gamble by the Texas defense.

With LSU leading by six and facing a third and 17 at its 39, the Longhorns came with six pass rushers off the snap and then a seventh when running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire stayed in the pocket to protect.

Burrow then found junior Justin Jefferson over the middle. One dodged tackler later, Jefferson was free down the sideline and into the end zone.

At that point in a pass-happy shootout, Texas had scored 24 second half points against LSU’s defense. The visitors had several players cramping and defenders unable to generate much pass rush in the final minutes.

If Texas forces a punt and gets the ball back, they may have re-taken the lead for good. We’ll never know. Even though the personality of the Texas defense is to blitz, their total inability to cover LSU receivers – three of whom had over 100 yards in the game – merited a different defensive call. The aforementioned Jefferson and a pair of sophomores, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall, dominated the Longhorns secondary.

From year one to year two, Chase and Marshall have made huge improvements. Jefferson has gone from a quality wideout to one of the best in the nation.

In a victory over a Top 10 team on the road, Orgeron also told all how he plans to approach big games in the future, especially those on the road. The 58-year old coach valued experience. LSU carries in the game were handled by two seniors, Joe Burrow and Lanard Fournette, and junior Clyde Edwards-Helaire on 27 of their 29 attempts.

LSU players deserve tremendous credit for their efforts in Austin. Orgeron and his staff deserve kudos as well for pushing the correct button more than their counterparts.

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Ed Daniels

Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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