Earlier today I wrote about watching LSU’s win over Texas A&M at Legends Sports Bar in Manhattan. It was a pins and needles affair. Then again, that’s the way all the Tigers’ SEC games are this season.
Here are five thoughts on LSU’s win over Texas A&M:
1. The past few years I’ve defended LSU when others denigrated the dullness of its games. Oregon fans, in particular, slammed the Tigers’ offense, even though LSU scored 40 against the Ducks. This season, I agree with those who say LSU is boring to watch (sort of). The Tigers’ offense is painful. It’s not just quarterback Zach Mettenberger. The play-calling has been beyond conservative. For example, LSU’s decision to run a wildcat play on 3rd and goal from the 12-yard-line in the fourth quarter resulted in groans inside Legends. I understand wanting to grab a five-point lead but it looked like a gaffe when A&M returned the ensuing kickoff inside LSU’s 20. Even though A&M failed to score and LSU hung on for the win I disagree with the conservative nature of the call.
2. Speaking of awful, Mettenberger has completed under 50 percent of his passes in his last three games. On Saturday, he completed 37 percent, a regression from his suspect performances against Florida and South Carolina. What’s particularly disconcerting about Mettenberger is it appears the threat of pressure is causing him to overthrowing receivers, as he did twice on the first possession of the third quarter. This is ironic because he doesn’t feel the blitz when it is actually coming. LSU has a 0 percent chance of winning against Alabama if Mettenberger completes 11 of 29 passes in that game, as he did against Texas A&M.
3. I love how the defense did not panic after giving up back-to-back penalties late in the fourth. A heavy pass rush flushed A&M QB Johnny Manziel out of the pocket and forced an errant throw to LSU corner Tharold Simon, a microcosm of the game itself. Manziel threw three interceptions. Also vital, the Tigers held Manziel, the SEC’s leading rusher, to 27 yards on 17 carries.
4. I know Drew Alleman has a leg but why attempt a 54-yard field goal? Les Miles’ third quarter decision with his team leading by 2 points made little sense. Instead of pinning A&M back with punter Brad Wing, the Tigers gave the Aggies solid field position. A head-scratching decision given how well LSU’s defense was playing at the time.
5. One thing I like about the running game is how it appears the coaches are using Spencer Ware early in games to soften the defense then coming with a fresher Jeremy Hill in the second half. Hill has proven a difference-maker with back-to-back 100-yard games against South Carolina and Texas A&M. His emergence, coupled with more efficient play from Mettenberger, could land LSU in the SEC Championship Game. I realize, though, Mettenberger has shown little this season to suggest he would play well, or even moderately well, against Alabama in two weeks. At 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC, Tiger fans have reason to dream.