LSU-Auburn: 6 Reasons Why LSU Lost the Game
The LSU Tigers ran into a buzzsaw yesterday afternoon in their game in Auburn, Alabama, against an extremely talented and explosive Auburn team that's led by the greatest player in college football.
Cam Newton certainly proved to be everything we heard and much more, as he and the Auburn offense proved to be was much more than LSU's No. 1 ranked defense could handle.
LSU came into this game as the top rated defense in the SEC and they were ranked in the top five of all of college football. But, in the game's end, it was an embarrassing and humbling loss to Auburn.
Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers gashed and sliced up LSU's defense all day as they rushed for more yards than any team has ever rushed for against LSU in the history of the school.
Coming into this game both teams were undefeated and the game will go a long way in deciding who will win the SEC West and then play for the SEC championship.
As a result of this game LSU is all but out of the SEC race and it is now Auburn's championship to lose.
The question for LSU is simple : How Did LSU Allow This To Happen To Them?
To answer that question, I have offered six reasons for this devastating LSU loss. I want to say LSU fought hard, but they were like a fighter swinging at the air. They just were not very effective at doing much to stop the Auburn offensive onslaught, especially in the second half.
But the Auburn Tigers are not just a one dimensional team that revolves totally around Cam Newton. Newton also has a talented backfield that he can to also devastate any defense.
Cam Newton is all he is advertised to be and much much more. This guy comes as close to being the real live superman as college football has ever seen. I know Tim Tebow was given that title, but not even the great Tim Tebow could do the many things that Cam Newton can do.
Just think how sick the Florida Gator fans must be to see their former quarterback excelling and starring for another SEC Rival. And boy, how much could the Gators use that guy this year to help their struggling offense?
But it looks like Auburn will be the beneficiary of Cam Newtons immense talents that could vault them right into the BCS Championship game.
1. The Offensive Game Plan Was Flawed
All week leading up to the Auburn game, Coach Les Miles and his staff were very well aware that Auburn was ranked 11th in pass defense in the SEC and they were especially weak in the secondary.
In fact, Auburn gave up over 500 yards to Arkansas last week and most of those yards came from the back up quarterback for Arkansas.
Knowing how vulnerable this Auburn pass defense is, you would think it would be a no brainer to start your passing quarterback and begin to try to exploit that weakness while mixing in some runs to seize the momentum and score first.
But, Les Miles still chose to make no changes and keep on starting Jordan Jefferson at quarterback, in spite of the fact that Jefferson had thrown seven interceptions and has not thrown a touchdown pass since the first game of the season.
Miles has consistently turned a deaf ear to the angry LSU fan's demands that he change quarterbacks and go with Jarrett Lee to help give LSU a passing attack.
Had Les Miles followed the logical scouting report on Arkansas and made the change to start Jarrett Lee and present a passing threat mixed with the run, I think LSU may have gotten off to a first drive score that would allowed them to gain the early momentum.
So,by Les Miles' refusal to make change with his standard offensive starter, he stayed predictable and as one Auburn defensive player said after the game, "We figured out their game plan in the second half and we just went after them."
LSU has the talent at wide receiver and Lee is a capable quarterback, but they have failed to use Lee and these weapons to help jump start this anemic LSU offense.
I am not saying the LSU receivers didn't drop their share of passes, but the poor decision to start Jordan Jefferson, your running quarterback, instead of Jarrett Lee, your passing quarterback, against a well known weak pass defense was the main reason for LSU's ineffective offense output.
2. Two Quarterback System and Limited Play Calling
From the first game of the year against the University of North Carolina, Jordan Jefferson's passing has been so pathetic that LSU was forced to consider itself a one dimensional running team.
In order to get a passing attack in the offense Les Miles chose to go to a two quarterback system rather than just replace Jefferson with Jarrett Lee as passer.
Since the beginning of the so called two quarterback system in the Tennessee game, Lee has performed well and both of the LSU victories against Tennessee and Florida are the result of his passing arm.
Even in the Auburn game when the scouting report called for a passing quarterback, Miles still resisted starting Lee and he continued to stick with Jordan Jefferson and he also continued to get the same old poor results.
Jefferson and the team were moving down the field on the first drive and then as if it was scripted, he threw the ball high and it was intercepted and Auburn ran the ball back 35 yards. Shortly afterward, Cam Newton and the Auburn offense moved the ball down for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
On LSU's next possession you would think that Miles now would go to Lee, but not Les Miles, he just went right back to Jordan Jefferson. Again the offense stalled out.
By the time the 3rd possession came Miles choose to insert Jarrett Lee, but by this time Auburn was up to speed on LSU's game plan and their strong defensive line pressure was able to live in the LSU backfield to harass Lee and he was unable to go down field to attack the defense.
Even though the LSU wide receivers did drop several well thrown passes, the starting of Jefferson over Lee helped doom the LSU offense as it was very basic and Auburn just jumped on everything LSU tried from then on.
I'd be remiss if I did not credit Auburn for having a lot to do with stopping the LSU offense, as their front line with guys like Fairley were whipping the LSU Offensive line and living in the backfield.
3. Offensive Line Play
LSU's Steven Ridley had been the leading rusher in the SEC until the last two weeks, but he has just not had much running room or any holes to run through lately.
It is somewhat disturbing to see the LSU offensive line being beaten the way it was by Auburn's front defensive line. Either Auburn was out scheming them a lot, or their line was just overpowering the LSU offensive linemen.
I find it hard to believe LSU would allow their line to get pushed around physically, but then Nick Fairley is not your everyday defensive lineman.
Even Steven Ridley gave Fairley a lot of credit saying that as soon as he got the ball Fairley was pushing our lineman back on him and Fairley had him before he could get started.
LSU's run blocking had been good earlier in the year as Ridley was finding running room, but he found nothing in the Auburn game.
Not only was the LSU offensive line not doing a good job of run blocking, but they were not able to hold the Auburn pass rushers either when LSU tried to pass.
Again, it was Fairley that slammed Jarrett Lee down to sprain his wrist and then he was seen body slamming Jordan Jefferson as well. This man played a great game and he single-handedly disrupted everything LSU wanted to do.
Now that the Auburn game is over, LSU will need to work on their offensive line play with the likes of Alabama coming in to BR with a purpose on their minds in two weeks.
4. Defensive Game Plan Was Not Aggressive Enough
Going into the Auburn game LSU's defensive coordinator, John Chavis, was keenly aware of the difficulty he would be facing against Cam Newton and the Auburn offense. But he knew he had the No. 1 rated defense in the SEC with lots of speed.
But, sometimes you can become overly concerned with what a guy like Cam Newton can do and you approach him very cautious and conservatively. In other words, you become scared of what he can do and you change things you have been doing in the past to not be vulnerable.
But, I think that goes directly against the type defense you have and it's personality. It makes sense to me to keep your defense just like you have it and let them go. For heaven's sake, a guy like Newton will get his yards, and if you go get him you may slow him down or force a mistake.
I am not sure that is exactly what Chavis did, but I did not see the same defense I have been seeing all year.
Maybe Auburn had a lot to do with that, but Auburn's last TD run by McCaleb exposed a side I had not seen with LSU. They just could not seem to get to their spots fast enough to make the play.
I know Cam Newton is very elusive, but I also did not see LSU come with many blitzes to try and disrupt his plans or his timing. Without pressure it gives a guy like Newton too many opportunities to make decisions.
Missing from LSU's defense was the well know rushing capability of Drake Nevis, as I don''t remember hearing about him that much, and that is alarming. Nobody has been able to nullify Drake all year, so I was surprised to see Auburn do that.
Apparently Auburn was able to take Nevis out of the game but unfortunately LSU was not able to do the same thing to Fairley of Auburn.
However, one guy that is always around the ball making plays is Kelvin Sheppard and He was one of LSU's few bright spots on defense.
I would like to have seen LSU bringing more pressure on Newton rather than sitting back in zones.Maybe the tried, but I guess I don't remember seeing them pressuring him much.
5. Poor Tackling
One of the hardest things to do with Cam Newton is finding a way to tackle him. He is, of course, a big guy at 6'6" and 250 lbs, plus the guy can run like a deer.
If you do get a chance to tackle him, he can still elude you just as easily, and stopping him once he is past the line of scrimmage is an even more daunting task to say the least.
But, LSU's problem was not just tackling Cam Newton but it was tackling the other guys in the Auburn offense.
Michael Dye,r for instance, is a guy that is also very difficult to bring down and he broke several LSU tackles in his quest to gain 100 yards against that LSU defense.
In fact, LSU gave up 440 yards of rushing to Auburn with their stable of running backs and that is more than any other team has rushed for in LSU school history.
Their overall defensive plan just did not seem to have the usual aggressive approach you normally see from an LSU defense and there were many missed tackles that account for Auburn's success.
In fact, on his long 40-yard run, Newton sited missed tackles as one of the reasons he was able to take it all the way in for a touchdown.
It will be necessary for LSU to spend extra time on tackling drills during their bye week before Alabama comes to Tiger Stadium.
LSU's defense is wounded at this point, and they will have to work to return to their previous form just to stay with Alabama and Nick Saban. Poor tackling will not be acceptable against the Crimson Tide.
6. Cam Newton and The Auburn Offense
Cam Newton is all he is advertised to be and much much more. This guy comes as close to being the real live superman as college football has ever seen.
I know Tim Tebow was given that title, but not even the great Tim Tebow could do the many things that Cam Newton can do
But the Auburn Tigers are not just a one dimensional team that revolves totally around Cam Newton. Newton also has a talented backfield that he can use to devastate any defense.
If by chance you stop the rushing offense, then there is the passing attack to contend with.
Before the Auburn game, I thought maybe Newton has just not see a defense like LSU No. 1 rated SEC defense.
However, by game's end he made them look like just another rag tag defense as he and his offensive backfield gashed LSU's defense for over 500 yards with 440 yards on the ground.
I don't see anybody beating this team in this conference or in the country. As far as I can tell, Cam Newton is unstoppable. He may somehow stop himself, but I don't see anyone stopping him or the Auburn offense.
LSU could have played all day and never beat that team with the talent they have. As much as I hate to admit this, Auburn is just a better team than LSU this year and I think they are better than anyone in the conference.
Auburn and Cam Newton will make believers out of Alabama and coach Nick Saban in this years Iron Bowl.