The Louisiana State Tigers earned their fifth victory of the season Saturday night, but defeating the Towson Tigers 38-22 was way more difficult than it should have been.
If it's possible to have an embarrassing win, this was it.
Towson hails from the Colonial Athletic Association. This was essentially a scrimmage for LSU, or at least it was supposed to be. Instead, the LSU Tigers found themselves in a game.
This game was closer than expected for multiple reasons. Let's take a look at three holes that Towson managed to expose in Death Valley.
Getting Beat in the Trenches
Towson ran for 188 yards on Saturday. That's right; the daunting LSU defense allowed nearly 200 yards to Towson.
Quarterback Grant Enders ran the ball 12 times for 86 yards. That's over seven yards per carry. LSU's front seven couldn't contain him due to poor focus, missed assignments and shoddy tackling at the point of attack.
On top of that, running back Terrance West was able to grind out 22 carries for 79 yards and two scores.
This comes down to toughness, something you never thought you'd consider a problem for LSU. The team was constantly pushed around on the line of scrimmage, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Offensively, the LSU Tigers ran for 158 yards, but they were still outgained by an inferior opponent.
Turn the ball over three times against Towson, and you can get away with it. Other teams may not be so lenient.
Zach Mettenberger didn't throw an interception, so that's a plus, but his team did fumble the ball four times (including one by him). They lost three of those, adding to the eerily slim margin in this game.
When LSU enters the heart of SEC play, this kind of stuff is unacceptable. It's the most unforgiving conference in college football; beating yourself is not an option.
Ball security is extremely important in any game, but it managed to keep Towson in this game. You can bet Les Miles will have a few choice words for his team, and that they won't cough it up this much next week.
All in all, the Tigers were extremely undisciplined Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. They fell asleep at the wheel, obviously looking ahead to their game with Florida next week.
The team missed assignments, turned the ball over and had 10 penalties to boot. Key players made key mistakes, something that cannot happen against the upstart Gators program.
If it does, the Tigers will no longer be undefeated. It's not like their road gets any easier. After Florida, LSU must face South Carolina.
It's easy for an elite team to overlook a measly opponent, and that's exactly what LSU did. It did the same thing against Auburn last week, eventually escaping with a 12-10 victory. It cost the Tigers one spot in the polls, and this game should as well.
Just because this is a "trap" game doesn't excuse LSU's play on Saturday. Miles is an experienced coach, and his team is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. They have to get their heads in it if they want to challenge Alabama for the SEC crown.
Until they figure out the mental things, and the little things, LSU fans should be very nervous.