The Tiger derby of the SEC West used to be a bigger event on the College Football national calendar, but times change. What hasn’t changed is LSU being a major part of the SEC championship picture, even if they aren’t often mentioned along with the others, and have the defense and ground game, especially with Jeremy Hill, to prove the doubters wrong.
In the 35-21 win over Auburn, Jeremy Hill took off for a historic performance, running for 183 yards, scoring three touchdowns. He opened the game with a 49 touchdown run to put LSU on top, and also had another big run for 54 yards, ending up averaging 7.3 yards per carry. His 183 are the most for an LSU player since Alley Broussard set the school record with 250 against Ole Miss in 2004. He is also the first LSU player in the last 10 seasons to run for 150 yards or more in a half.
One thing about it is that we’re capable of a lot more. We just need to make sure we don’t let off the gas. You’ve got to do that for four quarters, the way we came out to start the game. That’s what it’s going to take to keep this thing going.
Hill Ran for 152 yards in the first half, but LSU, having a 21-0 lead in the first half, ended up having to worry about their win security at some point, as turnovers (two) ended up giving Auburn a chance to pull the game wide open until Jarvis Landry caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Zach Metternberger at the beginning for the fourth quarter to quietly end the hopes of Auburn to win the game.
Mettenberger might be better than he was last season, but he isn’t the quarterback that makes Les Miles feel comfortable and confident in games. He threw one interception, finishing with 229 yards on 14-of-22, continuing to look pretty good under the guidance of a new offensive coordinator, and yet it doesn’t feel like when Alabama will show up, Mettenberger will have what it takes to follow through on his improvement.
LSU didn’t exactly stop the Auburn running game (gaining 213 yards), but they did an excellent job on third-downs, forcing Auburn to only 35.2% conversion rate, while squeezing three turnovers out of the visitors as well, including two interceptions by quarterback Nick Marshall, as the Junior is having his struggles, as expected, during his first year on the job for the rebuilding Tigers.
We have shown flashes of breaking the mold of that old LSU team. We do have explosive playmakers on offense, and we can make plays. We just need to learn to focus on every play and for four quarters. We’ve shown that we can still be a very effective offense even when we’re not playing our best. I’m just really anxious to see what this offense can be when we play four quarters and execute on every play.
The Tigers see themselves as natural candidates to win the SEC and challenge for the national title. The only way that’s happening is if mistakes and entire half-lapses against much weaker teams disappear, and they start producing consistently, while cutting on the turnovers that Mettenberger’s limited ability is a big part of.