An Optimists’ Guide To LSU’s Loss To Alabama
by Dylan Brossette (Special to ESPN 1420)
Out coached, out played, but not defeated. Well, the scoreboard will show a 20-13 loss for LSU against hated Alabama after last night, but my heart doesn’t feel like we lost.
Those final 57 seconds were hard to swallow and still don’t seem real, but outside of that final drive and overtime I was swelling with pride as if I myself were responsible for the 13-10 lead LSU held late in the game.
I find it ironic that it was the defense who crumpled as ‘Bama systematically marched down the field, with Blake Sims finding wide open targets with ease. Was it a case of the moment being too big for the young Tiger defenders? Unfortunately, I think so.
LOCAL BOY DONE GOOD: Lamar Louis, the Breaux Bridge linebacking-product, made the play of the game for his side when he caused T.J. Yeldon to fumble with minutes left in the game after clasping onto the running back’s leg and causing him to fumble in pain. That injury was reminiscent of Bo Jackson’s career-ending hip injury, the way Yeldon’s full weight all settled on his right leg as his momentum propelled him forward.
KEEP YOUR HEAD: You have to wonder what LSU’s Vadal Alexander was thinking as he watched that yellow tissue sail through the air after picking up the personal foul one play after that miracle fumble. If there was ever a time to keep your cool, I think it’s obvious that inside the 5-yard line is the place. I hate to say it, but it just pervades the idea that Les Miles does a poor job instilling discipline in his players. Miles was upset with the call after the game (duh) saying it totally changed “the complexion of the game.” Yea, thanks for that enlightening tidbit, coach. Tell us something we don’t know.
FAULTY EQUIPMENT? Not that this changed the outcome of the game at all, but have you ever seen two players on the same team have defective facemasks rip off their helmet’s in the same season? I think the LSU equipment staff needs to do a better job screwing those guards onto the helmets. Jennings’ mask ripped off after a far less violent incident than proceeded Leonard Fournette’s incident against Florida.
BUTTERFINGERS: Trey Quinn and Melvin Jones are probably bleary-eyed from lack of sleep after both dropped vital passes in the game. Quinn had two potential third down conversions slip through his hands, while the big fullback Jones bobbled the bootleg play-action in overtime. Again, I’m not saying that either of these plays was the ultimate deciding factor in the game, but all three go a long, long way in swaying the outcome in the Tigers’ favor – Quinn’s drops especially.
THE NEXT BIG THING: Malachi Dupre is going to be good. Actually, he is a star in the making. It seemed for a while the freshman wide out’s uncanny ability to haul in fade routes for scores was limited to garbage time glory with backup quarterback Brandon Harris, but Dupre has consistently proven himself to be THE target in the red zone. If both he and Travin Dural continue to evolve and LSU can find a capable quarterback to feed them the ball, the Tigers have another legitimate passing trio on their hands.
KICKING HIMSELF: Oh, Trent Domingue, how could you break our hearts that way? I hearken back to the internet meme, “You had one job.” You have got, I repeat, got to make sure you keep that kickoff in bounds at all cost. Yet again, the product of the moment overwhelming an untested player I think. This moment just happened to come in the biggest game of the season for the Tigers. Furthermore, what is the deal with Alabama kickers? You mean to tell me the premiere program in the country cannot recruit one reliable leg to go out there and make field goals. Sure, he made the kick when it counted, but the fact that ‘Bama game-tying field goal was in question at that point speaks to dire need Alabama has at that position. Lest we forgot the issues ‘Bama had in the 2011 version of the “Game of the Century.”
So, where do we go from here? There were a lot of positives and even more negatives to take away from this game. Is Anthony Jennings starting to find his niche 10 games into the season? Sort of looks that way. Is the LSU defense capable of playing a complete game against top talent? Yes and no, it seems. For 4 and ¾ of that game the defense did everything right, but couldn’t execute when it mattered most. These kids aren’t machines immune to emotions, but there has to come a time when they can block out the extracurricular stuff and take care of business.
I’m not feeling upset after this game. It was everything and more I could have hoped for from the Tigers. They gave themselves a chance to win and couldn’t seal the deal. It hurts, but it’s far better than the blowout I foresaw coming in. Maybe, just maybe, a team capable of being extremely special is there next year. I’ve said this many times in my pieces for this website, but we all just have to grit our teeth and wait. Our time is coming.