LSU’s dream season turns into nightmare at College Station
The basics of football are blocking and tackling.
Texas A&M blocked and tackled LSU players Saturday night.
LSU players did not block well enough (overall) and did not tackle well enough (all night).
The game analysis of a 38-23 loss to Texas A&M is not that simple.
The overall analysis includes kickoffs out of bounds, dropped passes, a crucial lost fumble resulting in a touchdown, bad reads and missed throws as well.
Did I mention another slow start?
Did I miss anything?
In the SEC, if you do not show up to play at an optimum level, you are most likely going to lose.
If you do not show up against an opponent going nowhere, who’s entire season is bent on one game, you are most likely going to lose.
That LSU would show up literally but not physically or mentally in a game that meant so much is perplexing, if not stunning.
It has been a simply outstanding season for LSU, beyond virtually all expectations under first-year coach Brian Kelly.
On this night, Kelly was outcoached by a beleaguered coach in Jimbo Fisher who has done an awful job overall this season with what was deemed to be talent earning the No. 6 spot in the nation in preseason national rankings.
Kelly and his staff had an awful night.
So did their players.
It does not dampen an otherwise superb job and season by Kelly and his players but it dampens, actually douses the fire that was building for a team on the verge of needing one win to virtually assure a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Now, LSU is relegated to trying to overcome the defending national champion, an unbeaten team, in its home state, close to home. Georgia will be a prohibitive favorite in that game.
Compounding the problem was the injury to Jayden Daniels in the fourth quarter.
You live by the run, you could die by the run.
Daniels has made so many big plays with his legs this season. LSU would be nowhere near nine wins without his big plays.
On a few too many occasions, Daniels holds the ball too long, will not throw the ball and takes off.
At some point, you take one too many hits.
That was the case Saturday night.
Daniels was taken down but would return with his ankle taped up.
Again, he held the ball too long.
Again, he was taken down, hurt again, but he kept competing.
LSU was taken down.
As a 10-point favorite, LSU was beaten badly, beaten down by the Aggies.
Revenge was sweet for Fisher and his team.
A year ago, LSU, with nothing to play for and with a lame duck coach, upset the 14th-ranked Aggies 27-24 at Tiger Stadium.
The memory lingered.
Texas A&M took out its frustration on LSU. This was a bowl game for the Aggies, who gashed the Tigers for 274 yards rushing.
It has been a good season for a good but not outstanding LSU team.
It was a bad night for a good but not outstanding LSU team.
It came at the wrong time.
Perhaps it will be a learning experience for Kelly and for his players moving forward.
This is the SEC.
There are no nights off, no soft touches, no automatic wins.
LSU was on automatic pilot from start to finish, cruising at a low altitude, tried to flip the switch to steer the vehicle and the Tigers were driven off course in demonstrative fashion, driving into the ground.
The flight of a dream season has been grounded on a nightmarish night in Texas.
LSU spit the bit at College Station.
The Tigers not only got beat, they got whipped by a four-win team.
Perhaps that memory will linger for guys wearing white.
Still, let us not lose sight of how good a season LSU has fashioned, beyond all expectations, in 2022.
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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…