It’s been a very long time since so little has been expected of LSU in terms of being a factor in the SEC title debate. And yet with a young defense and Zach Metternberger fighting the doubters at quarterback, Les Miles came out smiling, happy, and victorious after Jarvis Landry made his quarterback look better than he actually was during the game.
Everyone expected defense and physicality from the TCU – LSU Cowboys Classic, and it didn’t disappoint. Maybe the defenses weren’t as sharp as they should be, but in week 1, who is, especially against a top 25 rival?
LSU didn’t play a great game; Mettenberger finished with 16-of-32 for 251 yards and one touchdown pass that came only six minutes from the end, as he found Jarvis Landry, who made somewhat of a basketball post up move to get the best of the man covering him, and finishing the game with a 20-yard touchdown that gave LSU a 37-27 win, and Les Miles a 42nd consecutive non-conference win.
So LSU left with the win, keeping up the pace with the rest of the SEC West and playing a much more difficult rival, and yet there will be plenty of question marks down the road. Alfred Blue had one huge fumble that could have been a lot more costly if not for a defense that held it’s own despite the young age an inexperience, and Mettenberger is still not the quarterback that causes blind faith in him.
And Miles was still happy with his quarterback. He’s not used to winning through a play from his QB, and throwing so much. LSU probably enjoyed its most dominant advantage through third-down conversions, keeping the wary TCU defense on the field, while converting 13-of-19 of those third down situations. Cam Cameron is only one game in to his career as an offensive coordinator of the Tigers, but Miles is already happy with the hiring he made.
We’re throwing the ball for bigger plays. We’re being able to convert on third downs. I think that’s one of the real successes of the offense at this point. Coach Cameron has done a great job with the offense, and he has a game plan to make sure that we get our playmakers the ball.
Mettenberger had the second-worst quarterback rating in the red zone in the country last season, but that didn’t stop him from having the precision in his decisive throw to Landry on third-and-5. Or maybe it had to do with the LSU running game carving up the field earlier on, as Terrence Magee ran for a couple of touchdowns and the running game overall got 197 yards on 48 carries.
LSU will face tougher tests on both ends of the field when they begin their SEC road, which is always the most difficult conference schedule anyone has to make. But maybe offensive and especially passing game problems won’t be talked about so much this season, and if anyone will be blamed for things not working out, aside from Miles who is always under rapid fire, will be the young defense that needs more time before becoming another dominant on a national level unit for LSU.