LSU Review: Improvements…But Still A Loss
This game didn’t go exactly like I expected, but that’s a good thing. Auburn was confident they could play with LSU. Actions certainly spoke loud in this one.
The game started in a sloppy manner. Auburn was getting gashed defensively, and it seemed an impossible task to get off the field on third down. It seemed the same old story, just a different game. Auburn then capitalised off a Zach Mettenburger mistake, where they recovered a fumbled snap deep in their own territory. Auburn seemed confident, but were still very far back. What then proceeded was a combination of poor running and poor blocking. Mason took a little too long to make his move and was swallowed in the end-zone, resulting in a safety.
Auburn continued to get abused defensively, and couldn’t move the ball offensively. LSU strolled down the field and made it 9-0. At this point, I figured another beat-down was coming. Boy was I wrong.
Auburn suddenly stepped up defensively, not so much offensively, except the one successful drive where McCalebb scored on an outside run. Auburn made it 9-7, and we were very much back in the game.
The game continued to be a defensive slugfest. Auburn played GREAT defensively, only allowing one field goal the rest of the game by LSU. They snagged a few turnovers and did very well on third down. Auburn finished the game allowing LSU to only convert 6 of 18 third downs. Auburn defence was back. We got to see the first extensive action of Florence, Holsey and Therezie, and I was impressed with all three. Florence got into a mouth-match against JC Copeland, Therezie was solid, and Holsey made an important pass break-up in the endzone. The secondary was impressive, and Auburn may have found it’s winning formula in Davis – Therezie – Whitehead/McNeal – Florence.
Auburn went in the half 10-9, and I came away impressed. It was the best half of football we’ve seen all season. We didn’t play great offence, because believe it or not LSU are actually quite good defensively. The rest of the game was a defensive battle, until LSU made a FG to make it 12-10. Auburn needed a score.
The offence struggled the rest of the way, and if it weren’t for the bright defensive effort, Auburn would have been out of this game early. Frazier looked good and bad at times, he made some nice throws but also had his good share of mistakes. The blocking on the line was impressive, they gave him plenty of time to throw and also did well with the run.
Near the end, Auburn had a third and 13, and everyone pretty much expected Frazier to try and make a pass. Instead, we handed it off the Mason who was just shy of the first down mark. Fourth down — wouldn’t you expect them to go for it? Instead, Auburn punted and it’s only now that we see that as a bad call. Granted, Auburn was playing great defensively, and at this point the coaches and fans expected to get the ball back and have one last try. Auburn was close to doing so, a missed tackle by Evans – that would have surely brought a fourth down – ended up being a scamper for a first down. The game seemed over.
LSU missed their field goal attempt, and all of a sudden, the game wasn’t over. Auburn had one last try to make the impossible happen and beat LSU. LSU played good deep defence, picked off a Frazier pass, and the game ended.
Overall, it was good to see Auburn fight the fight and show up defensively. I haven’t seen a performance like that in a while, the only one in Chizik’s era that comes close to it is the BCS National Championship game against Oregon. BVG had them ready, playing in the base 4-3 scheme most of the night, Auburn was successful and had a chance to win the game. I won’t lie, this loss hurt me, just because I thought we should have been a bit more dangerous on fourth down. But what’s done is done. I really hope this is our breakout game, defensively. But we have to prove we can stop the spread as well. We still face teams that do run it, but this was definitely an encouraging performance.
This is a good loss to build on, believe it or not. Auburn gets a bye next week, before getting a visit from Arkansas. This October stretch is going to be HUGE in terms of how this season will end. At this point, I don’t see this team beating either Georgia or Alabama, but the other 6 games are winnable.
This was a good step forward, but consistency now has to be the main focus.