LSU Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Florida Game
LSU has struggled over the past couple of weeks, and everyone who follows the Tigers football team knew that they needed to get it together before Saturday's game against Florida.
That never happened, and the Tigers suffered their first loss of the season because of it.
Florida used a solid rushing attack and a smothering defense to defeat LSU, 14-6, on Saturday in the swamp.
Let's go ahead and hand out grades to all 22 starters on LSU.
Bleacher Report Style!
1. Zach Mettenberger
After starting 3-for-3 on LSU's opening drive of the game, Mettenberger was simply ineffective in the loss.
He completed just 11 of 25 passes for 158 yards and an interception.
Mettenberger's receivers certainly didn't help him, as there were several drops in the game, but the majority of those incompletions were missed opportunities on Mettenberger's behalf. He overthrew receivers and really just struggled to find any type of rhythm in this game.
2. Spencer Ware
Ware got the start today, and he was the best of the LSU backs, but that's not saying much.
Ware looked good on the first drive, but failed to get anything going after that.
He rushed for a team-high 21 yards, which lets you know how pathetic this LSU rushing attack was today. This is normally a strong suit for this LSU football team, but it definitely wasn't today, that's for sure.
3. J.C. Copeland
Copeland had a nice seven-yard reception early on in the game where he steamrolled a defender in order to pick up some needed additional yards.
But really, a fullback's job is to block for the running game, and considering LSU only gained 42 total yards on the ground today, it would be fair to say that Copeland didn't do great at his one job.
This is an LSU team that has been rushing for 150-plus yards with ease, but it didn't even top the 50-yard mark today.
Some of that blame has to go to the lead blocker.
4. Odell Beckham Jr.
If you had to pick a star on this offense today as far as statistics go, it would probably be Odell Beckham Jr.
But the stats don't tell the whole story.
Beckham Jr. dropped multiple passes in this one, at least two coming late in the game on big-time drives.
Beckham hauled in four grabs for 78 yards, but 56 of those yards came on one play in the fourth quarter, which he ended up fumbling. That was a huge momentum swing in this one.
This is a guy who needs to have big games in a game like this, and while he was solid, he was far from great.
5. Kardon Boone
If you're looking at the stat sheet, you would have no idea that Boone even played in this contest.
Early on, LSU made an effort to get Boone the ball, but he dropped two passes in the first half and wasn't targeted much after that.
Boone didn't record a single catch in this game and was nearly invisible throughout the second half, when this team needed a big play in the passing game.
Boone might not be starting much longer after a performance like this.
6. Chase Clement
Let's face it, Chase Clement is not a viable replacement for Deangelo Peterson.
Clement has also been nearly invisible, not just in this game, but throughout the entire season.
Through six games this season, Clement has totaled four catches for 44 yards and no touchdowns. He had one catch for a lousy seven yards in this contest.
Not the numbers LSU is accustomed to seeing from a starting tight end.
Will LSU play in the SEC Championship this year?
7. Alex Hurst
Hurst had to make the move from right tackle to left tackle in this game.
He was solid for the most part, but Florida simply got too much pressure on Mettenberger and really shut down this LSU run game.
This just doesn't seem like a permanent solution.
8. La'el Collins
Collins was a huge recruit who took over a starting spot at guard this season for the Tigers.
Truth is, it's tough to judge the guards' play throughout the game. But the guards are the ones who are asked to pave the way for the running game.
Consider that LSU only had 42 yards on 25 carries, a pathetic average of less than two yards per carry.
Collins is good, but the stats don't add up here.
9. P.J. Lonergan
Lonergan is a solid center, but he went down late in the second quarter and just didn't seem like himself after that.
LSU could not establish the run in this game. A lot of that is on the guards, but to say that Lonergan was perfect in this game would be far from accurate.
10. Josh Williford
LSU's starting right guard, Josh Williford, left the game in the second quarter with an undisclosed head injury.
He was playing fine early on, but he did not return after the injury.
Instead, the Tigers had to go with freshman Trai Turner, who was not ready to play in a game of this caliber.
LSU better hope Williford makes a quick recovery or, if it was a concussion, that he gets cleared to play in the upcoming weeks.
11. Vadal Alexander
Alexander was the Tigers' prized offensive line recruit this season, and he looked pretty average in this game.
The pass protection for Mettenberger was alright, but not great.
Alexander is one of the young prospects who should continue to get better each and every week.
12. Barkevious Mingo
Mingo was one of the bright spots for LSU in this game.
He was a force off the end and recovered a fumble, but the Tigers offense failed to capitalize on it with a touchdown.
Mingo put pressure on Driskel, but it wasn't Driskel who beat this LSU team, it was the running game.
Mingo was solid.
13. Bennie Logan
Logan was a beast in this game, making several big plays.
The problem was that it seemed like he got worn down, and those big plays weren't there late in the game when LSU needed him most.
Florida RB Mike Gillislee ran through and around this LSU defense in the second half, and part of the blame has to go to the defensive tackles for failing to clog the middle of the line.
14. Anthony Johnson
Much like Logan, Anthony Johnson had a huge first half.
He recorded a big sack in the first quarter and did a nice job stopping the run early on.
Then Gillislee got going, Driskel began scrambling and this LSU defensive line couldn't stop the Gators rushing attack.
LSU's defensive tackles are partly to blame.
15. Sam Montgomery
Montgomery is an All-American candidate, but he really didn't play like one today.
Montgomery wasn't bad. In fact, he was alright for the most part, but he just really didn't have any big, game-changing plays like we are used to seeing from this guy.
I almost want to give him an incomplete grade because I just didn't hear or see much of him throughout the game.
16. Kevin Minter
Despite the loss, Minter was an absolute stud in this game.
He recorded double-digit tackles, had two sacks and also recovered a fumble.
This is a kid who has been really good for the Tigers thus far as the leader of this linebacker unit. He was special here tonight.
17. Lamin Barrow
Barrow is another guy who has been asked to step up in this linebacking core with the loss of several seniors, and he has done so for the most part.
Barrow was solid in this game, but he got banged up in the second quarter.
Barrow had several big tackles, but the LSU rushers got past the linebackers several times, which stops Barrow from getting an A.
18. Kwon Alexander
Alexander started off the game great.
He was quick to get the ball and he made a few tackles, but then he left with an injury midway through the third quarter, which turned out to be a broken ankle. ESPN reports he is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
Alexander finished the game with two tackles, one of which was for a loss and a fumble recovery.
This is a tough blow for a guy who was ready to become an impact freshman.
19. Tharold Simon
Simon is the best cornerback on this team, and he was brilliant in this game.
LSU's secondary held the Florida passing game in check, not allowing one Gator wide receiver to catch more than three balls.
The Gators' leading receiver was Jordan Reed, who caught three catches for 30 yards, and he is actually a tight end.
As a whole, Simon and this LSU secondary held Florida to just eight catches for 61 yards.
20. Jalen Mills
Mills was also great in this game.
Much of what was said of Simon can be said of Mills.
It would be nice to see this LSU defense force a big turnover, but other than that, Mills and this group were very good.
21. Craig Loston
Loston has been hit-or-miss this season, and really, throughout his entire LSU career.
But we saw Loston flying to the ball today and making plays on the defensive side of the ball.
Florida's biggest pass play through the air was 14 yards, which is pretty darn good for Loston and this secondary.
22. Eric Reid
This kid is an absolute stud and arguably the top playmaker on this LSU defensive unit.
Reid was flying to the ball today as well.
He didn't make any big plays and didn't have any of the true signature hits that we are used to seeing, but he was impressive as always.
LSU is going to need him to make more big plays if it is going to win these types of games.
Reid was great.
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