2007 BCS Champions

2007 BCS
National Champions

2003 BCS National Champions

2003 BCS
National Champions

1958 National Champions

1958
National Champions

NCAA Baseball Championships:

1991
1993
1996
1997
2000
2009

 

DandyDon is proud to recognize David Toms as a great ambassador of the Tiger Nation.

9/2/14 5:55 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

It was great hearing from many of you yesterday about our Monday Morning Rewind. Glad you liked it. Today I’ve got another similar feature for you (but one you’re more familiar with since I’ve been doing this for the last two seasons) – our weekly grades by position. But before I give you these grades, which may seem a little harsh, let me say that I am very proud of the way the Tigers played, and very proud of the win. As I wrote before the game, I expected the contest to be very close, and as I stated to several close friends, starting the season against a quality opponent like Wisconsin really scared me. Make no mistake about it, this was a big win, and I believe it was exactly what the doctor ordered for the young Tiger team finding its legs. With that said, here are my grades by position.

QB: C
Anthony Jennings got off to a really rough start but showed a lot of poise and improved as the game went on. He ended the night with 239 passing yards which is pretty good, although his completion rate was only 42.9% (9-21-0). The most encouraging thing to notice in that stat is the zero, meaning no interceptions. Considering first-game jitters and the fact that he was under duress much of the game, I think that number is significant. Jennings made a few bad reads in the read-option and struggled mightily with screen passes, and that has to improve, but he looked good on the deep routes. As for Brandon Harris, he just looked flat out green in his one series, but it’s hard to know how much of that was him and how much was due to missed blocking assignments.

OL: C+
I was expecting LSU’s big and experienced O-line to dominate Wisconsin’s inexperienced D-line, but that was not nearly the case, at least not in the first half. In the second half, they looked as dominant as expected, but I have to wonder how much of that was due to adjustments made at half time and how much was due to two Badger injuries in their defensive line. I suspect it had more to do with the latter, but only time will tell.

RB: C+
Kenny Hilliard lived up to all the hype that Miles heaped on him during the summer and ran for 110 yards on 18 carries (6.1 ypc). That’s the good news. The bad news is that Terrance Magee and Leonard Fournette only combined for 26 yards on 14 carries. Now, to be fair, I suspect that Fournette and Magee’s numbers would have been much better had they been fed the ball more late in the game when the O-line was finally opening up gaping holes against the decimated Wisconsin defensive front, but I understand why the staff stuck with Hilliard considering he had the hot hand and is known to provide great ball security.

TE: D
As mentioned in our Monday Rewind, the tight ends struggled in the blocking game. Unfortunately, they struggled in the passing game too. DeSean Smith dropped a very catchable ball that would have been a nice gain, and Travis Dickson turned the ball over on a costly fumble that led to a quick Badger touchdown. This unit will improve, but last Saturday was not their night.

WR: A
I was very impressed with this unit. The speed and experience of Dural, the polished technique and sticky hands of Trey Quinn, and the strength of John Diarse combine to make a very strong unit. Quinn’s one-handed grab on his first reception as a Tiger was a remarkable catch that he made look ordinary, and I think that was a sign of many great things to come from him. And how bout the strength and determination of Diarse as he broke through two tackles on his 36-yard TD reception!

DL: C-
This group represented a big question mark on this team heading into the season, and they still do. In fact, at this point they present even more questions than ever as it is unclear why tackle Maquedious Bain didn’t travel with the team and why fellow tackles Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore did not play. The four tackles that played were Quintin Thomas (who’s fresh off an injury), Christian LaCouture, Davon Godchaux and Lewis Neal. LaCouture had the most productive night of the tackles with three stops, while Godchaux and Thomas were each credited with one tackle. As for the ends, Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter lost containment on Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon on a few big plays in the first half, but looked much better in the second half. (But, of course, Gordon barely played in the second half.) Another mystery related to the D-line is the status of signee Travonte Valentine. Last I heard he was still being held up by the SEC.

LB: C
Kwon Alexander played aggressively and had a good game, notching a team-best 8 tackles. DJ Welter had five tackles in the game and a pretty good second half, but there were times in the first half when his lack of speed was apparent. Lamar Louis was credited with two tackles. Kendell Beckwith, Deion Jones and Duke Riley each saw playing time, and I think each made a strong case for increased roles, especially Beckwith. Worth noting is that there was a play in the first half – Wisconsin’s 45-yard TD on a jet sweep - that made all three linebackers look silly.

DB: A+
We knew going into the season that this would be LSU’s strongest defensive unit, and it clearly was in Game 1. This unit allowed only eight pass completions for 50 yards and came away with two interceptions, one by Jalen Mills and one by Ronald Martin. As mentioned in yesterday’s report, Jalen Mills would get my vote for defensive MVP. His fourth quarter interception was a thing of beauty and probably the most significant single play of the game, but he also had a couple of nice pass breakups and several solid hits. Jalen Collins, who started in place of Rashard Robinson, also had a spectacular game. You may recall that it was Collins who, at the start of the second half, chased down Melvin Gordon on his long 63-yard run to save a touchdown.

Special teams: A-
It’s easy to take for granted a field goal kicker like Colby Delahoussaye because he’s so doggone dependable. He made both of his field goals in the game - a 47-yarder and a 30-yarder – and considering the game came down to four points, those were huge. In the punting department, Jamie Keehn was inconsistent, as he was much of last season, but he still ended with a 42.5-yard average on three punts thanks to a beauty of a 64-yarder. One thing I found particularly encouraging about special teams was the strong leg of Cameron Gamble on kickoffs. Three of his five kickoffs went for touchbacks, and even after a five-yard setback for the delay of game penalty to start the second half, he still booted it into the endzone. As for the return game, Leonard Fournette averaged 23.4 yards per return on kickoffs, which is good, and had one that went for 33 yards. TréDavious White had three punt returns for 16 yards, which is nothing spectacular, and he made one foolish play when he dove for a ball among several Wisconsin defenders instead of letting it roll dead. But the biggest play on special teams was the fake punt that was well executed by Kendell Beckwith for a momentum changing first down, and that’s what pushed an otherwise B performance for special teams to an A-.

Later today Coach Miles will be meeting with the media for his weekly press luncheon. I’m hoping that he will answer a few lingering questions about the status of several players. These include Travonte Valentine, who as far as I know still hasn’t been cleared by the SEC, the five players who did not make the trip to Houston (Malachi Dupre, Rashard Robinson, Maquedious Bain, Elliot Porter, and Ronnie Feist), as well as Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore who did not play in the game.

In closing, I’d like to point out that I’ve updated our ticket exchange by removing all of the Wisconsin game tickets and adding a few new listings.

Reader Comments: Scott, really enjoyed your Monday Morning Rewind. Here’s something similar to share with your readers. It’s a film study by nola.com.

9/1/14 6:15 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

It was great hearing from so many of you yesterday about LSU’s 28-24 come-from-behind win over a very good Wisconsin team. After having a little time to let the initial emotions of that roller-coaster of a game sink in, I went back and re-watched much of the game, and asked my friend (and part-time assistant), Jake Martin, to do the same so that we could give you a little something we’ll call our Monday Morning Rewind. In it are a few tidbits that you may have missed, or things that I just didn’t include in my initial Sunday morning report. Here we go…

Monday Morning Rewind:

• LSU’s running game was virtually nonexistent in the half, and at first I thought this was all about the offensive line getting pushed around in the trenches. Upon closer review, we realized that the tight end blocking was a big part of it. Dillon Gordon was beat several times and was also responsible for the sack given up in the second quarter. The tight ends also had problems in the receiving game. DeSean Smith had a drop on what would have been a nice gain, and Travis Dickson recorded a fumble that was recovered by the Badgers and quickly converted to seven points.

• Another factor that contributed to LSU’s struggles in the first three quarters was the slow start by Anthony Jennings, although he really improved as the game progressed. In the first half, Jennings failed to complete multiple running back screens, which were set up beautifully to Leonard Fournette. Jennings also made a few bad reads in the option-based offense. To Jennings’ credit, his deep ball looked much improved from the bowl game against Iowa. Whether the ball was knocked away or Travin Dural came up with the catch, Jennings’ long ball was on the money for most of the game. Jennings put forth a much better second half than he did in the first, and let’s hope he builds off of that moving forward.

• Brandon Harris received playing time for one series, and it's a series he would like to soon forget. Harris, like Jennings before him, misread an option play, which forced a third-and-long situation. The team had to call timeout before the down because Harris seemed confused, and once the Tigers played the down, Harris' only series ended in a sack. Don't buy too much into this series. Harris entered the game cold, and he's still learning as a young quarterback. I have a lot of confidence in the true freshman from Parkway and I'm expecting a rebound performance against Sam Houston State. 


• The defensive MVP has to go to Jalen Mills. Mills had an athletic interception, a few beautiful pass breakups and several solid hits on backs and receivers. Mills also provided the pressure on Wisconsin quarterback Tanner McEvoy on McEvoy’s second interception, which was caught by Ronald Martin. More importantly, Mills provided the type of swagger Tyrann Mathieu and others used to showcase when they made a big play. Sounds simple, but that swagger goes a long way in terms of firing up the team and swinging momentum.


• The most improved performer was easily Jalen Collins. Last season, Collins lost his starting corner job, but against Wisconsin he provided great run support and ran stride for stride with Wisconsin receivers in coverage, batting away balls.


• It was good to see defensive tackle Quintin Thomas play as much as he did considering his recent injury, but he had some rough moments. On Melvin Gordon’s long run to start the third quarter, Thomas shot through the inside gap, while Kwon Alexander peeled off of his tail and went outside. Thomas was picked up easily and Gordon bursted through the second level with Alexander blitzing to the outside. That long run set up a score and put LSU down 24-7. 


• Speaking of the defensive tackle position, I found it interesting that Greg Gilmore and Frank Herron, who were presumably the number 2s on the depth chart behind Thomas and Christian LaCouture, did not play, although they did make the trip. The young DTs who played as reserves instead were redshirt freshman Lewis Neal and true freshman Davon Godchaux. I was particularly impressed with Godchaux.

• The momentum changer in the game was obviously the fake punt executed by Kendell Beckwith. Credit Coach Les Miles for going for it and getting another score on the board, refusing to cede momentum to Wisconsin. After they successfully converted that down, the Tigers capped the drive with three points on a 30-yard field goal, and those turned out to be the first of 21 unanswered points.

• Something to take note of is LSU’s exceptional depth and talent in the secondary. The Tigers played a run-first team in Wisconsin, but Jalen Mills, Tre’Davious White, Rickey Jefferson, Jalen Collins, Dwayne Thomas and Jamal Adams proved they can provide great coverage as well as strong run defense. Imagine what this defensive backfield will look like when Rashard Robinson returns and Adams gets more experience.

• Turning back to the offense, although Kenny Hilliard and Travin Dural lit up the box score with great stats and provided thrilling touchdown scores, another offensive player who deserves major props is center Ethan Pocic. In the first start of his LSU career, Pocic played phenomenally, dominating the line of scrimmage. He, along with Fehoko Fanaika, opened gaping holes for Hilliard to make his long second half runs. 


Speaking of Pocic, he was starting in place of Elliot Porter who was one of at least four Tigers who did not make the trip to Houston. Others included Malachi Dupre, Maquedious Bain, and Ronnie Feist. Last night, I was told that Jonah Austin did not make the trip either, though I have not been able to confirm that yet. Of the five players mentioned above, the only one who we know was injured is Malchi Dupre. I’m hoping we will learn more about the others’ suspensions/absences in Coach Miles’ next press conference. Normally Coach Miles meets with the media every monday for a press luncheon, but since today is Labor Day this week’s luncheon has been pushed back until tomorrow.

Reader Comments: Hey Scott, it is a great time in LSU football. But here is a great article on how some former LSU Tigers are doing great things in other sports.

8/31/14 6:00 am CT

Good morning Tiger Fans,

Whoa, what a game! In what was a classic tale of two halves, the Tigers struggled mightily in the first half but rallied with 21 unanswered points in the second to come away with a huge 28-24 win. With the victory, LSU improved to 88‐28‐5 in season‐openers, won its school record 12th straight season‐opener and moved to 10‐0 under Les Miles in season openers.

The first two quarters were hard to watch as nothing was going LSU’s way and the Tigers’ highly-touted offensive line was getting pushed around by the Badgers’ relatively young defensive line, but hats off to the Tigers’ coaching staff and players for settling down, making the needed adjustments, never giving up, and turning things around in the second half. If there’s any of you who still question the LSU coaching staff’s ability to make adjustments after that turnaround, I ask that you consider this stat: LSU now has a winning record (22-21) under Les Miles when trailing in the 4th quarter, and they’re the only FBS team in all of football that can stake that claim.

We’ll have lots of time to talk about the problems we saw in the first half, but for today I’d rather focus on the positives, starting with the offense.

I still have some concerns about LSU’s quarterback play, but Anthony Jennings really made big strides in the second half and showed a lot of resiliency, ending with 239 passing yards and two TDs. And while LSU’s wide receivers were a big question mark heading into the contest, I was very encouraged by what I saw of Travin Dural, Trey Quinn and John Diarse. And how ’bout the running of Kenny Hilliard! All summer Miles praised Hilliard and spoke of his great improvement, and that was certainly on display last night as he ended with 110 rushing yards on 18 carries, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter for 92 yards. As for the offensive line, they played like a completely different group in the second half, opening gaping holes for Hilliard to run through, but it’s hard to know at this point how much of that was due to adjustments and how much was due to Wisconsin injuries and lack of depth in their D-line.

As for LSU’s defense, I thought the secondary looked great and lived up to their billing, and I was very impressed with the play of linebacker Kwon Alexander. I was also proud of the way the young defensive line stepped up in the second half and shut down the Badger’s running game. With that said, I’m puzzled as to why Wisconsin didn’t continue to feed Melvin Gordon the ball in the second half after he had such success in the first.

On special teams, I thought Jamie Keehn settled in after badly shanking one punt, and how ’bout the leg of Cameron Gamble! In the return game, I was glad to see Leonard Fournette out there, and although he didn’t live up to the impossible expectations placed upon him, I still think his time will come and he’ll be a very, very special player. 

You know there’s an old adage that says a team improves the most between game one and game two, and considering all of the youth on this year’s team I think that will probably hold true. Eight true freshmen made their debuts last night – Jamal Adams, Donnie Alexander, Deondre Clark, Leonard Fournette, Davon Godchaux, Brandon Harris, Ed Paris and Trey Quinn - and four players made their first career start: Travin Dural, Hoko Fanaika, Christian LaCouture and Quinn.

We’ll have much more on the game in tomorrow’s report, but today I’ll leave you with the following stats and these video highlights provided by LSUSports.net. (Note: The video is in Flash format and therefore it is not viewable on iPhones and iPads without special software.)

LSU-Wisc-Stats

 

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