For LSU junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Saturday's loss to No. 1 Alabama was a learning experience. He learned what could happen when everyone on the field is working toward the same goal. Saturday, Mettenberger provided the best performance of his college career, going 24-of-35 for 298 yards and one touchdown, something he says every member of the team was able to accomplish against the Crimson Tide.
"We thought we had the athletes and the play up front that could match them," said Mettenberger on Monday. "When it came down to it we just went out there and executed the best that we have all season. All eleven guys were out there doing the right things every time. That's something that we should have had all year. It is just amazing when everyone does the right job. It's contagious and everyone on offense starts feeling it. When things start clicking and rolling it's hard to stop any offense. I feel like we got the breaks we needed and were in rhythm."
While the Tigers fell 21-17 on Saturday night, Mettenberger feels that LSU won the game in all aspects other than the final score. He also believes that there are many positives to be taken from the game.
"I think we all feel like we won the game for sure, except for on the score board," said the 6-5, 222-pound quarterback. "We watched the film and we were more physical than them and we executed very well. We had all of our assignments down. A lot of good things happened and hopefully we can build off of it. Unfortunately, we just didn't come out with the win."
Even with all of the success that the Tiger offense enjoyed against Alabama, Mettenberger explained that there are several plays that he would like to have back. He also feels that fun and success should be sacrificed for victory.
"The penalty when we were on the 13 yard line was a tough one," said Mettenberger. "It wasn't necessarily just things like that, though. There were a lot of plays that I wish we had back. But, at the end of the day Alabama came out with the win and that's all I can really say about it. We would take all of our fun and success on offense back to have that win because that's the most important thing."
With many Tiger fans questioning the decision to play for a field goal on the last drive, Mettenberger said that while he wanted the ball in his hands, he understood why a running play was called.
"I feel like I was clicking with the receivers," said Mettenberger. "We had converted a lot of third downs in the game up to that point, which is tough because I know coach wanted to get a few extra yards and set up for a field goal. We were just trying to erase the risk of throwing an interception in that situation. We drove the field and lined it up and, unfortunately, just missed it."
Mettenberger also added that he expects the team to carry the same mentality into their matchup with Mississippi State that they showed on Saturday night against Alabama.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I did last week," said Mettenberger. "Mississippi State is going to be a new challenge this week. We just need to stay focused and continue to execute on all facets of the offense. We are all going to have to contribute like last week, and we know that."