LSU is a gutsy team. Few squads would be able to give up 3 interceptions (two deep in their own territory), a punt return for a touchdown, and FOURTEEN penalties, against a ranked and well coached opponent - and win. Unbelievable.
I think what we know now is that LSU won't be beaten this year. They may, however, beat themselves. They nearly did so yesterday.
The game stats are mostly lopsided in favor of LSU (except for first downs and penalties). And that reflects LSU's defensive domination of the Tide. Bama was unable to run against the Tigers and the defensive line pressured Wilson, forcing lots of poor throws, knocking down numerous throws, and of course Craig Steltz's hit in the waning minutes that knocked the ball out of the Bama receiver's hands.
The great equalizer in this game was LSU mistakes and a couple of big plays by Bama, specifically the DJ Hall TD and the Arenas punt return for a TD.
To be fair, LSU got a huge break when the replay officials overturned an apparent catch, calling it incomplete. The diving attempt was extremely close, and after watching it over and over, I still can't call it. In my mind, the receiver should get the benefit of the doubt in those situations.
However, the ball bounces both ways. LSU had numerous very questionable penalties called against them that kept Bama drives alive and resulted in scores. Not least of these was the Tyson Jackson hit on Wilson that, I think, was called as helmet to helmet. Regardless, it was neither helmet to helmet or a late hit. And the penalty kept a stalled drive alive and resulted in DJ Hall's reception one play later.
I'll go with a GOOD, BAD, and UGLY format again this week.
LSU receiving corps. Specifically, Demetrius Byrd, Early Doucet, and Brandon LaFell. The receivers dropped far fewer passes yesterday than in previous games, and Byrd and Doucet had some huge receptions. I think Tolliver is also a very good receiver, and Richard Dickson is looking very strong as well.
LSU offensive line. Bama does not have a strong pass rush, but the LSU offensive line has not protected Flynn very well most of the season. Yesterday, they did much better, giving up only 3 sacks.
LSU defense. Seven sacks, three QB hurries, 8 passes broken up, at least 3 or 4 blocked passes, and only 20 yards rushing. Glenn Dorsey played as well hurt as any of the healthy linemen on the field. What a warrior and a leader! I just hope he's not so selfless that he ruins what is certainly a lucrative career ahead of him. The defensive line played so well that Craig Steltz only had 4 tackles. He had sixteen against Florida. And CHAD JONES! Look out for Chad Jones, a true freshman who claims to be more interested in baseball - we'll see. He's having a fantastic freshman year so far. I could go on.
Where was LSU's running game? I think it was available, especially up the middle. Maybe we might not have had 3 interceptions if the Tigers had pounded the ball up the middle a bit more.
Fourteen penalties. According to Jordy Hultberg on LSU Sunday Night Live, Coach Miles told his team that the next player to get a personal foul would no longer be on the team. I'm not sure he'll be able to stand up to that, but I like the sentiment and the emphasis.
Three interceptions. Matt Flynn forced some passes. Two of the interceptions were nice plays by Bama, one was just a bad pass. But Flynn appeared to be pushing too hard.
LSU wins! Matt Flynn deserves more credit than crap - he kept his wits and drove the team to tie the game. Demetrius Byrd and Early Doucet were pivotal. And the entire defense, led by Mr. Dorsey and Derry Beckwith, played tough, tough football.
If the Tigers can cut the penalties down to a reasonable number (five anyone?) and reign in the interceptions, they'll be scary good in the final weeks of the season.
We're number two across the board. Once again, the Tigers' destiny is in their own hands.