Problems in the Past
For the typical college football fan, there was nothing remarkable about this win. It was an easy win against an inferior opponent. But, for an LSU fan, this was an eye opening experience.
It may have been a methodical and even boring game, but this win offered something new—relaxation.
For while Miles Era LSU teams did have easy wins that put fans minds at rest, there were terrifying and/or close contests against inferior squads like Towson, Troy, Washington, North Carolina, Louisiana Tech (2009), Mississippi State (2009), West Virginia (2010), Ole Miss (2010), and others.
Sometimes inferior teams crept back into the game (West Virginia), other times they stormed ahead (Troy) or kept it close for too long (Towson).
And some were genuine conference rivals (Mississippi State) while others were supposed to be opening day fodder (Washington and North Carolina).
But all of these teams were inferior to LSU. And instead of squashing them, Les and his Tigers haphazardly engaged them, turning cupcake games into nail biting ordeals.
LSU did thankfully win these games, but it was always a labor for fans. This labor was a pain to say the least.
Easy, double-digit wins are always valuable in college football, as they provide breaks from the grinding and tense SEC schedule. Without such breaks, the football season can become a series of interminably frustrating and tense contests.
An Easy Win
What was so irregular about Saturday night’s game against BYU was that this tenseness never appeared as the game was never in doubt. If anything, the game was downright dull due to dominance.
LSU mauled the Cougars, a gutting achieved with one tiger paw behind LSU’s back as many players were absent due to injury or suspension.
The players who could make it on the field did plenty, though. LSU had 20 more first downs than BYU, 81 more passing yards, and 301 more rushing yards.
BYU ran only 38 plays, 12 of which were incompletions (including one interception), 2 of which were sacks, and 3 of which were run plays that resulted in no gain.
In total, this produced 17 plays resulted in 0 or negative yardage (or a turnover).
So about 45% of BYU’s plays went really poorly, something that made sustaining a drive essentially impossible.
LSU on the other hand routinely gained yards with its new offensive. Canada’s game plan appeared to be run the ball a good bit and then pass the ball at opportune times. In one respect, it was a more effective and diverse version of the old offense.
The only thing that slowed it down were penalties and the red zone.
In short, LSU easily won a game it should have easily won.
That is something worth celebrating, and hopefully such wins will become increasingly common. We could all use some relaxation after seasons of tense, frustrating contests.
- LSU has had entirely antithetical performances in its last two Superdome appearances—getting destroyed by Bama in 2011 and destroying BYU in 2017.
- Guice needs to go down sooner; he shares Fournette’s spiritedness but should learn that health is more importance than an extra yard here and there.
- While Etling lacks much arm strength, he can throw a decent over the shoulder pass. LSU has tall and fast receivers who can take advantage of these kinds of pass plays, which they did against BYU on a few occasions.
- Brian Fremeau’s college football model had LSU at about an 80% favorite over BYU. ESPN’s Football Power Index, or whatever it’s called, favored LSU at a 90% clip. Bill Connelly’s model had LSU at about an 87% favorite, and Vegas put the line around 14 points or so. On all fronts, LSU beat modeled expectations, I’d say.
- But, BYU may be very bad—they apparently looked bad against Portland State. They also lost their running backs during this game.