As the chants of LSU and SEC filled Cowboy Stadium in the closing minutes of LSU’s 40-27 victory over Oregon Saturday night, the Tigers already proved five things in its season opener that will lead them to a memorable season.
We’re only two days out from the heavily hyped season opener, and I’m still buzzing over the performance I saw in person at Jerry’s Palace.
Don’t let the score of the game fool you. Oregon has a great football team and will be just fine this year, but the LSU Tigers proved once again that the SEC is still king when it comes to college football.
Oregon’s offense battling LSU’s defense defined what I love about college football. Superior athletes on both sides, flying to the football and making athletic plays.
This LSU team is one of the best teams in the country, and here are five things the Tigers proved in their victory Saturday night.
It bothers me that Jarrett Lee is not getting the credit that he deserves. He kept the safeties at bay with his deep passes, delivered on point passes throughout the game, and most importantly, took care of the ball.
That’s all every LSU fan should want the quarterback to do. Did you see the athletes on the field that LSU has on offense, defense and special teams?
LSU’s starting quarterback doesn’t have to be Superman, and he doesn’t have to throw for more than 300 yards either. All he has to do is take care of the football, manage the game well and make the big plays when needed.
I thought that was exactly what Lee did. His touchdown pass to Rueben Randle was a beautiful read and really showed his progression and maturity as a quarterback.
Oregon had a cornerback and a safety covering Rueben Randle early in the game, and on the touchdown pass late in the second quarter, Oregon had two guys on Randle again.
One of them showed blitz, and Lee read the play beautifully. Lee knew he had Randle one-on-one with a redshirt freshman, and Randle will win that matchup every time.
Lee missed a few throws here or there, and his stats were affected by all the dropped balls LSU had as well. With that in mind, I thought Lee played exceptional, and if he can continue to play like that, the Tigers will be just fine on offense.
I watched LSU games last year at Tiger Stadium, I watched the spring game and I watched the game against Oregon at Cowboy Stadium, and it’s safe to say that this defense has the ability to shut down any offense in the country.
I don’t think LSU will face a much better offense than Oregon as Chip Kelly has a magnificent offensive mind that benefits Darron Thomas, Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James really well. The Tigers defensive front got in the face of Thomas, shut down James throughout the game and held Barner at bay.
I said the entire offseason that I thought LSU had the second-best secondary in the nation behind Alabama, and after watching that performance Saturday night, I think Tyrann Mathieu and company can give Mark Barron and company a run for their money.
LSU has had a lot of memorable secondaries over the past decade, but I think this is the best secondary LSU has had since the 2003 season.
I thought Kevin Minter and Ryan Baker played great at the linebacker position for the Tigers, and I thought Sam Montgomery, Barkevious “KeKe” Mingo and Bennie Logan had great performances on the defensive line as well.
I think the performance these Tigers made on defense has put the SEC on notice when conference play rolls around.
All last year and early in the second quarter, I complained about the lack of playing time that Michael Ford was receiving. Well, the Tigers gave him an opportunity to shine Saturday night, and Ford took the ball and ran with it—literally.
Spencer Ware had his coming out party last year in the Cotton Bowl in Cowboy Stadium, and Ford had his nine months later in the same venue.
I was pleased to see them take Alfred Blue out and let Ford get multiple carries because I believe he is the second-best running back LSU has.
As for Ware, I thought he had a great performance besides the fumble early in the game. Ware is a hoss that drags opponents with him as he falls forward for extra yards, and he also posseses that breakaway speed to go along with those elusive moves.
It put a smile on my face to see the Tigers beat the Ducks in good ol’ SEC fashion. They played outstanding on defense and played hard-nose football by pounding the rock over and over again.
If they can stay healthy, Ware and Ford will have monstrous seasons for the Tigers this year.
How about the performance Deangelo Peterson had against the Ducks? He blocked well and led the Tigers in receiving.
Peterson gained most of his receiving yards on a long play-action pass from Lee after the Ducks safeties started creeping up to stop the run.
As for Randle, well he didn’t get the ball too many times, but he kept Oregon’s defense from stacking the box because they knew they couldn’t risk a one-on-one matchup with him on the outside.
Both players can be electrifying when given the ball, and they will make opposing defenses respect the pass all year long.
To put it simply, Mathieu is not only the Tigers’ best player, but he is one of the best players in the country. He has what you can’t teach, and that’s football instincts.
When the Tigers are on defense, everywhere you look, Mathieu is right there either making a play or closing in on an already-tackled opponent. He not only is an amazing athlete and outstanding player, but he gives that Tiger defense the swagger it needs.
Mathieu is never shy to let his opponent know they just got dominated and has the aggressiveness that LaRon Landry showed for so many years with the Tigers.
He is a playmaker, better yet, he is the playmaker. T-Rex was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, and I think that’s the first of many this season.