But LSU's 24-7 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday resembled another typical performance by these Tigers as of late. Saturday's 17-point victory cannot be categorized as another ugly win because the Tigers played very well in some spots.
Just to mention the bright spots in the game:
The Tigers ground game, which was anemic last week against
- The special teams produced its first touchdown of the season when Skyler Green brought back a punt 65 yards for a third quarter touchdown.
- The defense produced five sacks and 11 tackles for losses led by Claude Wroten's two sacks and three tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Wideout Craig Davis made one of the more impressive catches
these eyes have seen in Tiger Stadium in quite some and ESPN thought so as well
With highlights like those, why the glum, hangover type feeling after a double-digit victory?
Well first of all, this could possibly be the worst home schedule any LSU football team has played in the 109-year history of the program. It is bad enough the home slate includes the likes of Troy, Arkansas State and Mississippi State, but to sandwich games against the Trojans and Vanderbilt with a pair of open dates in the thick of the college football season, a season in which LSU is the defending national champions quickly becomes almost an afterthought.
While referring to the season as an afterthought may be a bit brash and insulting to the players and coaches who dedicate so much time to the program, but for those folks who did bother to show up on campus Saturday, no one will argue with the fact the atmosphere, which is regarded as the bets in college football, is absolutely dead this season.
Tailgaters are out in record-low numbers this season. The atmosphere around campus is glaringly lacking and by the look of the empty seats in the stadium, you could almost mistake the crowd as one from the Curley Hallman era – not from the defending national champions. Saturday's announced crowd of 90,825 brought giggles in the press box as a rough estimate brought guesses of no more than 85,000 in attendance.
Empty seats dotted the grandstands in every area of the stadium, not to mention three giant-sized gaping holes in the top of the north end zone student section.
While the play of the team might
have something to do with the lack of enthusiasm, it is understandable by the
level of competition which the Tigers are facing in this midseason slot. Toss in
the fact LSU was out of the SEC title picture after a loss to
As we mentioned above, there were some good things that came from Saturday's game. But for every optimistic aspect there can be a negative slant as well. Yes, LSU did rush for 273 yards, but Tiger quarterbacks attempted just 11 passes, completing six, for 102 yards.
Oh yes, the defense sacked Vanderbilt quarterbacks five times (knocking starter Jay Cutler from the game in the third quarter) and 11 times stopped a Commodore for a loss of yardage, but in the meantime, the Tiger defense surrendered 289 yards of total offense to Vandy.
Toss in the fact players, coaches
and fans looked as senior center Ben Wilkerson's career at LSU came to an abrupt
end on the last play of the game. The 6-4, 300-pound
And if losing Wilkerson wasn't bad enough, freshman speedster Xavier Carter will miss 4-6 weeks (possibly the rest of the season) with a broken clavicle (collar bone). Carter was hit hard on a first half kick return and left the field not to return.
As the Tigers head into their
second and final open date of the season, fans can look forward to two much
better home games (against
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org