2007 BCS Champions

2007 BCS
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2003 BCS National Champions

2003 BCS
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1958 National Champions

National Champions

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

9/17/14 5:45 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU football team is busy preparing for what will be its most important game of the season so far when they take on SEC West foe, Mississippi State.

After three games this season, it’s hard to know just how good this LSU team is, but we should have a much better idea after Saturday’s game. At this point in time, LSU’s defense looks to be dominant and is ranked among the nation’s best in several categories. These include a No. 2 ranking in scoring defense at 8.3 points per game, and a No. 3 ranking in three categories: yards per play (3.53), total defense (205.7 ypg), and pass defense (94.3 ypg). In addition, LSU is one of just eight schools nationally that has yet to allow a passing touchdown. Those numbers are impressive anyway you look at them, but it’s hard to know just how significant they are considering that LSU hasn’t yet faced SEC competition or a quarterback like MSU’s Dak Prescott. Likewise, it’s hard to know how good Mississippi State is considering they’ve played Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama.

Even though stats never tell the whole story, and they tell even less this early in the season, I thought it would be interesting to compare the two teams’ stats. This is something we’ll do for every game this season, and as the season progresses the stats should be more and more telling. Here we go…

LSU - MSU Stats

A few observations about the stats:

• MSU holds a moderate advantage in most offensive stats, while LSU holds a significant advantage in the defensive stats, as you would expect after reading the first paragraph of this report. On special teams, both teams have excellent punters, while LSU has the advantage in the return game and in field goals (MSU has missed their only attempt).

• LSU and MSU both utilize a run-heavy offense, although MSU is slightly more balanced. While MSU generally runs it a little less often than LSU, they average more yards per carry (5.3 vs. 4.3) and more yards per game. Of course, they haven’t faced the same caliber of run defenses that LSU has faced.

• On paper, MSU would appear to have an advantage in defending the run, but again these numbers are skewed because of the quality of opponent the two teams have played. Still, there’s no denying that the Bulldogs’ big and experienced defensive line will be a challenge to LSU’s offensive line that has yet to live up to its preseason expectations.

• One of the most impressive things about last year’s LSU offense was their success rate on 3rd down conversions. In fact, the 2013 Tigers led the nation in this category with a 57.14% success rate. This year’s Tiger team has taken a pretty big step backward in that regard and is 31st in the nation at 48.84%, but that’s still considerably higher than MSU’s (42%).

• The one stat that really jumps out at me is “opponents’ passing yards per game.” LSU’s pass defense is among the best in the nation (3rd, behind Standford and Clemson), whereas MSU’s is near the bottom of the pack (118th).

• Another thing not shown on my chart but worth noting is that MSU leads the SEC in giving up plays of 20+ yards (12), 30+ yards (6), 40+(5), 50+(4), 60+(3), 70+(3), 80+(2). This could make for a big night from LSU deep-threat receiver Travin Dural.

Speaking of Dural, yesterday he was named as one of 12 receivers on the watch list for the 2014 Biletnikoff Award, which is presented to college football’s most outstanding receiver. Dural has 12 receptions on the year for 370 yards and four touchdowns, which makes him tied for first in the SEC in scores and second in receiving yards. Dural is also eighth in the nation in yards per catch (30.83) and has touchdown receptions of 94 and 80 yards.

A few of tid-bits in closing:

• I know a lot of you like to follow former Tigers in the NFL, so I’m sharing with you this link to stats on former LSU players currently on NFL rosters, as published by LSUSports.net.

• Searching for tickets for this week’s game and beyond? Check out our Ticket Exchange which was updated yesterday. 

• Looking to watch this weekend’s game with like-minded Tiger Fans? Check out our page of LSU Alumni Association View-Ins.

• According to LSU SID Michael Bonnette, LSU football legend YA Title will be attending this weekend’s game in Tiger Stadium, exactly 50 years after the historic photo featured in this touching story about Title’s battle with dementia was taken.

9/16/14 5:50 am CT

Good morning, Tiger Fans,

The LSU football team is gearing up to open conference play this Saturday when the No. 8 Tigers host undefeated Mississippi State at 6:06 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN with Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst), and Holly Rowe (sideline) on the call. LSU opened the season with a come-from-behind win over a good Wisconsin team (ranked 19th/17th in the latest polls) and is coming off back-to-back shutouts against Sam Houston State and UL-Monroe. Mississippi State, on the other hand, is coming off a 35-3 win over South Alabama last week and won its first two games against Southern Miss and UAB.

Considering the three opponents they’ve played, it’s hard to get a read on just how good Mississippi State is, but one thing for sure is they’ve got a dynamic quarterback in Dak Prescott. Last week, Prescott threw for 201 yards and a touchdown, ran for 139 yards and a score, and caught a 24-yard touchdown pass after a lateral.

Yesterday one of my readers emailed to remind me that NFL and College Football Analyst Mike Detiller, whom I’ve interviewed several times on this site, predicted before the season that this would be the year that LSU loses to Mississippi State (LSU hasn’t lost to them since 1999). After receiving that email, I decided to reach out to Mike to see if he was sticking to that prediction. Here’s what he had to say:

Mike Detillier’s Response: That’s true, I said that before the season and I don’t change unless there is a major injury, and I have had good success with this. LSU is a young team that is still developing what they do good and what they don't do. On offense they concentrate on Dural and you can rotate coverage in his direction, although MSU's secondary is not good. MSU's strong front seven can slow down LSU's run, and I’ve been really surprised about the inconsistent play of the Tigers’ O-line.  LSU’s QBs have played better than I thought, but the O-line hasn't played as well. I think if LSU can throw they can continue their long streak of wins against State since 1999. If MSU doesn't win Saturday, it may be a while before they do with the young talent on this LSU team.

Like in the NFL, you can get caught with a gunslinger. Dak Prescott is a really good football player and he can beat you with his speed and his arm. If MSU wins, Prescott will be the difference. I predict a very close game, as this is a real test for LSU across the board. And the law of averages sometimes catches up with you in matchup games. It is one of three games I think LSU loses this year before the bowl game.

For what it’s worth, I have great respect for Mike’s opinion and I agree that the game will be a close one, but I see the Tigers coming out on top. I’ll give my prediction Thursday when I post my weekly picks.

Yesterday Coach Les Miles met with the media for his weekly press luncheon and I’ve posted a full transcript of the conference (as provided by LSU). Below are the key points from it:

• Miles said he feels like his team is improving and playing dominant football in all three phases at times.

• As for Anthony Jennings, Miles said he is doing a good job handling the responsibilities of quarterback and is giving the team some advantages.  He added that Jennings threw the ball well, although he can do it better, and that the throw‑away that led to a turnover is something they cannot do.

• Miles pointed out that each of his running backs had “about 10 carries” and that anytime you can do that you can have the advantage of fresh legs.

• Miles said he looks forward to Elliott Porter getting his second start this Saturday and that in Porter’s first start he was “less than he is normally.”  He also said Ethan Pocic (ankle) will return to action this week.

• Although first-team linebackers Kwon Alexander and Lamar Louis didn’t play any last week because of being nicked, Miles said both could have played if needed, and that Deion Jones and Duke Riley did very well in their places. 

• Commenting on special teams, Miles pointed out that Jamie Keehn averaged 47.8 yards per punt last week and downed two inside the 20.  He also praised his special teams units for their great speed on kick‑off and punt coverage.

• As for upcoming opponent Mississippi State, Miles said Dak Prescott is as good of a quarterback as there is in the SEC. Prescott is running for about 100 yards and throwing for a little over 200 yards per game and has accounted for nine passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns. 

• Miles also pointed out that MSU running back Josh Robinson is a “100 yards per game running back.”

• As for MSU’s defense, Miles said they're allowing 80 yards per game and have five interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Miles said their defensive linemen, Preston Smith among others, are big, strong, mobile guys who will present a great challenge.

For more on what was said in the press luncheon, including Miles’ response to the media’s questions, please click here.

In other news, it was announced yesterday that LSU’s September 27th home contest against New Mexico State will kickoff at 6 p.m. and will be televised by the SEC Network. You might recall that before the start of the season Athletic Director Joe Alleva promised that there would be more night games in Tiger Stadium this year, and it looks like that is coming to fruition. The New Mexico State game will be the fourth straight night home game for the Tigers, and I think that’s great. There’s nothing like a Saturday night in Tiger Stadium!

For those of you looking for tickets to any of the upcoming games, please note that our Ticket Exchange was updated yesterday with lots of new listings. 

And lastly, a few words on our LA High School Football Pickem: 

• Yesterday I mentioned that last week’s winner was someone who goes by the user name “mrr.” Yesterday I heard from this gentleman and here’s what he had to say: “Hello Scott, I am Bob and also the MRR in your High School Pickem game. I am 63 years old, am semi-retired, live in Logansport, La. and am a big LSU Tiger fan.  If you wonder where the MRR originates, the letters are my daughter's initials.  I really like participating in your contest and I love your Daily Dose of LSU news. Thank you for this great service.”

• Please note that that you can view this week’s compete LA High School Football Schedule here (whether you are participating in the pickem or not), and that the voting for this week’s games is now open. Remember, it’s never too late to join as we’ll be announcing a winner each week.

9/15/14 5:50 am CST

Good morning, Tiger Fans. I hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed the nearly fall-like weather. How many of you turned down the air conditioner a couple of degrees and cooked up a big pot of gumbo?

After defeating UL-M 31-0 and advancing to 3-0 on the season, LSU climbed two spots in the AP poll and one spot in the Coaches poll to come in at No. 8 in each. As a testament to what a power conference the Southeastern Conference is, five SEC teams are in the top-10 of at least one of the polls, including Alabama (3/2), Auburn (5/5), Texas A&M (6/7), LSU (8/8), and Ole Miss (10/12). Georgia dropped to 13/14 after their upset loss to South Carolina, and the Gamecocks climbed to 14/16. Missouri came in at 18/19. LSU’s next opponent, Mississippi State, was just outside the top-25 at 28/27.

While the Tigers’ defense has looked like an exceptionally strong unit since the 3rd quarter of the season opener, we’ll find out a lot more about just how good they are when they face what appears to be a potent Bulldog offense this weekend. In our Monday Morning Rewind, below, we’ll talk about what has contributed to the Tigers defensive dominance so far, and also touch on a few things that the Tigers need to improve on offensively to make some noise throughout the remainder of the season. Here we go…

Monday Morning Rewind:

• There are a combination of factors that have made the LSU defense so dominant in the last nine quarters, with the greatest of them being team depth. The Tigers’ depth of talent and overall athletic prowess throughout the defense, especially at linebacker and in the defensive backfield, allows LSU to constantly rotate defenders in and benefit from fresh legs. The Tigers pose a great starting unit, but the backups are arguably just as athletic and proficient in running John Chavis’ scheme. Duke Riley, Jamal Adams, Sione Teuhema and Rashard Robinson have all played extremely well in reserve roles the past few weeks.

• Because D.J. Welter, Deion Jones, Lamar Louis, Kwon Alexander, Danielle Hunter, Jermauria Rasco, Jalen Mills, Jalen Collins, Dwayne Thomas and Tre’Davious White each have at least one year of experience under their belt, Chavis is able to mix and match schemes without confusion on defense. From the Mustang package we talked about in last week’s MMR to the 4-2-5 to a basic 4-3, Chavis mixes his packages with the best of them, and the Tigers have played in perfect position in the past nine quarters.

• Now let’s get a little more specific, starting with the defensive line. Against UL-Monroe, Davon Godchaux started alongside Christian LaCouture and made an immediate impact by batting down a third down pass at the line of scrimmage. Godchaux and LaCouture set an unrelenting wall from the get-go, while Hunter and Rasco sealed off the edge and forced the Tigers’ opponent to attack the interior of the defense.

• Though Duke Riley led the team in tackles with eight, I was most impressed by Deion Jones at linebacker against UL-Monroe. Jones’ consistent pressure proved difficult for the Warhawks to block, as Jones disrupted play after play in the backfield, whether he recorded the tackle or not. This is yet another shining example of LSU swapping one playmaker on the field for another, and the Tigers are seven deep at linebacker.

• ULM knew better than to challenge LSU vertically. Because the Tigers’ secondary is so athletic and experienced, ULM tried to nickel and dime their way down the field with a multitude of designed check-down passes. With Mills and Thomas threatening to blitz off the edge in the Mustang package, one or both players would drop back into zone coverage and nullify any of those short passes for minimum or no gain. Again, this is what is making LSU’s defense so successful right now. Every player is playing their based assignment (not trying to be the hero like Kwon Alexander and many others did a year ago). This makes every offensive player on the field accounted for and defended. When defenses play with this type of discipline, gaining a first down can be troublesome, which is why the Warhawks ultimately ended the night with only six first downs.

• Switching over to offense, the Tigers were far less impressive than they were defensively. One of the biggest reasons for that was mentioned in yesterday’s report – Elliott Porter’s rust. Indeed, Ethan Pocic’s absence was noticeable early on. In fact, it was ULM’s nose guard’s penetration on the first two plays of the game that led to a 3rd-and-10 on the Tigers’ opening drive. Porter would get chip help from the Tigers’ guards throughout the rest of the game, and Porter eventually started to assert his dominance later in the game.

• Onto the quarterbacks, Anthony Jennings didn’t have a bad game, but it was his weakest thus far and he threw his first interception of the season by trying to make a play instead of throwing the ball away. I view that as a great opportunity for a young quarterback to learn when to give up on a play.

• What concerned me most about Jennings’ performance wasn’t his completion ratio (there were three dropped passes early on that would have made his number much better), but rather his tendency to stare down his primary target. More often that not against ULM, Jennings locked his eyes on one target, and if that target wasn’t open, Jennings would tuck the ball and make a play with his legs, which he did exceptionally well on a few occasions including his 22 yard run in the second quarter. What I would like to see is Jennings progressing through his reads more. Staring down receivers won’t hurt you to much against teams like ULM and Sam Houston State, but with SEC play approaching Saturday, Jennings will have to shake that bad habit. Of course, progressing through reads comes with comfortability that is gained by game time experience. Unfortunately for Jennings, the tuneup games are now in the rearview mirror.

• Despite that one aforementioned bad habit, both Jennings and Brandon Harris have earned enough respect from Cam Cameron to run multiple packages. Against ULM, the Tigers ran plays from two-halfback, shotgun sets and pistol sets, which featured some creative ways to get Leonard Fournette the ball on the perimeter (a pass in the flats out of the pistol set). I look forward to seeing more creativity from Cameron and the offense in the future.

• Another thing I hope to see in the future is an improved short passing game. In Saturday’s game I was hoping to see improvement from Jennings on short routes and screens that require a soft touch, but so far I haven’t seen that. 

• I also would like to see the tight ends better utilized in the passing game. In the last two games, the TEs haven’t accounted for a single reception. I’m hoping that there is a strategic reason for this (not wanting to show too much), but only time will tell. 

• Much like the defense, the Tigers’ special teams dominated. From Riley’s coverage on kicking units to Tre’Davious White’s nice returns to Jamie Kheen’s exceptional punting, the Tigers have looked every bit as good on special teams as they have on defense. It’s also good to see Leonard Fournette getting more comfortable returning kicks, although he won’t have many opportunities to do so as long as the defense keeps dominating. In Saturday’s game his only opportunity was on the opening kickoff which he returned out to the LSU 40.

• We’ll conclude our Monday Morning Rewind with another tip of the hat to LSU’s stable of running backs. It’s so fun to sit back and watch young Leonard Fournette and Darrell Williams come into their own and gain confidence and experience with every passing week. It looks like Williams has accepted the role Kenny Hilliard had in previous years, as the power fullback in goal line and short yardage sets. Speaking of Hilliard, he and Terrance Magee had solid outings with a dozen carries each against ULM. Each of LSU’s four backs has the potential to have a breakout game, and all four will be needed in SEC play.

Later this week we’ll take a close look at LSUs next opponent, Mississippi State, and their quarterback Dak Prescott who some are now calling a dark-horse contender for the Heisman Trophy after his very impressive outing Saturday. LSU hasn’t lost to Mississippi State since 1999, but this game will present a big challenge for LSU when the Tigers kickoff their conference schedule Saturday. By the way, LSU opened as a 7-point favorite in the game and the line has since climbed to 9.5.

Speaking of LSU’s upcoming schedule, LSU Sports Information Director Michael Bonnette tweeted yesterday that the combined record of LSU’s nine future opponents is 23-3, and six of the nine remain unbeaten, including 3-0 Mississippi State.

Before closing out for the day, I want to announce that the last two scores from this weekend’s Louisiana high School football games are in and we’ve processed the picks in our pickem. Our Week 2 winner is someone who goes by the username “mmr” who correctly picked 117 of 146 games. I hope to hear from “mmr” today so that I can introduce him to you tomorrow. Please note that it’s never too late to join our Pickem Contest as we’ll be announcing each week’s winner. Voting for this week’s games is now open and hope many of you will decide to join in the action.

Lastly, I’d like to point out that I’ve updated I’ll be updating our Ticket Exchange page later this morning.


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