Mistakes doom LSU in 50-30 loss to top-ranked Georgia
The season has gotten a little long for LSU.
Brian Kelly and his staff have done a simply outstanding job in year one, all things considered. They inherited a painfully low number of scholarship players.
The program was splintered.
Through the transfer portal and recruiting, along with mostly good coaching throughout, Kelly coaxed nine wins out of the 2022 Tigers.
As recently as a week ago, LSU was perhaps poised to even make the College Football Playoff.
That dream was erased at College Station a week ago. The final dream of coming to New Orleans for the Allstate Sugar Bowl was erased Saturday in Atlanta.
The good news is that LSU scored 30 points on perhaps the best defense in the country. The bad news is that LSU allowed 50 points to Georgia.
The Tigers needed a near perfect performance to have a shot as a 17.5 point underdog but did not come close to that mark, allowing a special teams touchdown and turning the ball over twice in the 50-30 defeat.
Once again, LSU’s anything but special group known as special teams failed miserably.
With the Tigers getting the better of things early, LSU allowed a Damian Ramos field goal attempt to be blocked by Nazia Stackhouseon poor inside protection and then compounded the problem by not knowing the rules. Christopher Smith let the ball roll dead, picked it up and ran uncontested for a touchdown.
That can be pinned on players but it must also be pinned on coaching.
You have to know the rules. It was not an extra point but a field goal attempt and a live ball.
You have to be prepared.
The Tigers failed on both fronts and the game changed.
Then, it changed further on an unfortunate bounce off the helmet of Jack Bech for an interception which allowed Georgia to distance itself from the Tigers.
LSU never quite recovered, though the Tigers continued competing hard.
Jayden Daniels showed tremendous courage to even play in the game on virtually one leg.
He threw the ball well but just had no pop to be able to run the football, which is the best part of his game.
He went as long as he could.
Garrett Nussmeier came on and did an excellent job, showing his outstanding arm strength.
Consider the fact that LSU scored 30 points on perhaps the best defense in the country.
Amazingly, LSU passed for 502 yards, a season high and by far the most against Georgia this season.
Daniels finished 16 of 24 for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Nussmeier finished 15 of 27 for 294 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The Tigers amassed 549 yards.
The problem was that LSU gave up 529 yards and the defense could not get off the field, allowing Georgia to convert 7 of 13 third down attempts. Georgia dominated time of possession, keeping the ball for 35:58, wearing down the LSU defense.
The previous high against the Bulldogs this season was 22 points.
The LSU defense simply could not hold up, as was the case against Texas A&M.
Kelly cannot ignore the continuous failures of his special teams. This must be addressed in the offseason in substantive fashion. It was a big problem at the start of the season against Florida State and it is still a huge problem at the end of the season.
Still, it has been a highly successful season with nine wins and with a bowl game to come, likely in the state of Florida.
That cannot be taken lightly.
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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…