LSU vs. Wisconsin: Game Grades, Analysis for Tigers, Badgers

Jason FrayCorrespondent IAugust 31, 2014

Melvin Gordon rushing versus the Tigers defense
Melvin Gordon rushing versus the Tigers defenseDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

In a true tale of two halves, the LSU Tigers came from behind and defeated the Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 28-24. 

It was shocking early on as to how dominating the Badgers' rush attack truly was. Wisconsin finished the first half with nearly 200 yards on the ground. It was the first time in over a decade in which an LSU team has relinquished that many yards in one half. 

However, the tide turned on the fake punt call by Les Miles. LSU got the momentum and never looked back. Wisconsin curiously abandoned the run game in favor of Tanner McEvoy throwing the football. This didn't turn out to be such a good decision, as he finished 8-of-24 for 50 yards on the night. He also threw two bad interceptions. 

Final stats from the game can be found here at 

Check out first-half and final grades for both the Tigers and Badgers. Additional analysis for different position units will also be addressed.

LSU Tigers Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseCB
Run OffenseFC-
Pass DefenseAA
Run DefenseDD+
Special TeamsAA
Aug. 30 in Houston

LSU Tigers Game Grades

Pass Offense: It was initially a slow start for Jennings and the Tigers' offense. He looked out of sync with his wide receiver corps. However, he flashed a big arm on multiple occasions. His ability to throw the ball down the field with accuracy helps to give LSU's offense an added dimension.

Huge plays to Dural and Diarse ultimately got the Tigers over the hump for the victory. Jennings hasn't done anything to lose his starting spot. As the game progressed, he settled down and looked comfortable. Although his accuracy wasn't great (9-of-21), he did throw for 239 yards and two touchdowns. 


Run Offense: LSU's rushing attack was stifled in the first half. It managed 16 yards on 15 carries. Much of the credit does go to Wisconsin's quick front, but LSU simply wasn't opening up any holes. 

In the second half, the loss of Konrad Zagzebski and Warren Herring helped the Tigers get on track. Kenny Hilliard led the charge with 112 yards on 18 carries. Leonard Fournette had a quiet start to his collegiate career, totaling only 17 yards on eight carries.


Pass Defense: LSU blanketed the Wisconsin wide receivers corps all night long. The Badgers wide outs weren't able to gain any separation. 

Jalen Mills and Ronald Martin both came away with interceptions. It was a dominating performance for a unit allowing only 50 yards through the air. 


Run Defense: This unit was absolutely gashed all night long. LSU allowed 268 yards on the ground. Wisconsin backs ran to the tune of 6.9 yards per carry. McEvoy's mobility neutralized the pass-rushing abilities somewhat, but it was a porous effort all the way around.


Special Teams: The Mad Hatter pulled out another trick with the fake punt in the third quarter. This call ultimately changed the momentum of the game. LSU ended up driving down the field and scoring after the genius call. 

Colby Delahoussaye also connected on both field goal attempts. It was a flawless effort by the special teams unit. 


Coaching: The defense definitely did not play up to the usual LSU standards. Wisconsin made its living on the ground, and there was little resistance. 

The call for the fake punt was paramount. As the game progressed, Jennings also became more comfortable. LSU started to roll him out and got him easy throws. This in turn helped him gain confidence. 

Wisconsin Badgers Game Grades
Position UnitsFirst-Half GradesFinal Grade
Pass OffenseC-F
Run OffenseAA
Pass DefenseC+C-
Run DefenseA+B
Special TeamsAB
Aug. 30 in Houston

Wisconsin Badgers Game Grades

Pass Offense: The pass attack by Wisconsin was absolutely abysmal. McEvoy completed a third of his attempted passes on the night. He looked tentative on a majority of his throws, and also primarily threw the ball off of his back foot when pressured. 

If Wisconsin is to contend for a B1G title, play at the position has to get markedly better. 


Run Offense: This was a vintage Wisconsin performance tonight. The duo of Gordon and Corey Clement was phenomenal against a good SEC defense. The OL opened up holes all night for their backs. In total, the unit rushed for 268 yards on 39 carries. 

Reggie Love's 45-yard jet sweep score also helped to open the game up early. The Badgers were able to break off big chunks of yardage with the ground game (something that couldn't be said with the passing game).  


Pass Defense: The pass defense didn't play overly well. Aside from a few pass interference penalties, the unit was victimized by two long touchdown throws of 80 and 36 yards, respectively. A 44-yard completion from Jennings to Dural also led to a touchdown score by the Tigers. 

The secondary did allow only 239 yards through the air, but there were multiple big plays.  


Run Defense: Wisconsin's unit up front held stout for the majority of the game. In the first half, they held a strong LSU rushing attack to only 16 yards on 15 carries. 

Unfortunately for the Badgers, the loss of two starters on the defensive line hurt them in the second half. LSU did finish with 130 yards rushing, but it came on 47 carries. It was a valiant effort by the group. 


Special Teams: Freshman kicker Rafael Gaglianone connected impressively on a 51-yard kick. It was the first attempted kick of his collegiate career. LSU also did not break any huge returns, and thus the coverage team played well. 

The minor flub was defending against the fake punt. It was a 4th-and-2 attempt near midfield, and LSU managed to execute it effectively. The fake ultimately led to points, and helped to flip momentum over to the Tigers. 


Coaching: Gary Andersen will have to answer some tough questions this upcoming week...

Is Tanner McEvoy still the starting quarterback? Why did he virtually abandon the run game in favor of throwing the football in the second half? Why did Melvin Gordon play sporadically in the third and fourth quarters? 

This statistic truly says it all about the play-calling in the third and fourth quarters...