LSU football report card: Midseason grades

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Oct 17, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers place kicker Trent Domingue (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown on a fake field goal against the Florida Gators during the fourth quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Florida 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams: D+

The biggest weakness of the LSU football team this season continues to be special teams, something that becomes more apparent each and every week.

The much-maligned unit has allowed opponents to keep games much closer than they should. As the Tigers move into a crucial stretch of the season with games against the likes of Alabama, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M, this must change.

While the third phase of the game is often overlooked, its impact cannot be overstated.

LSU nearly learned a costly lesson in this one week ago against Florida, as a muffed punt by Tre’Davious White inside the 15-yard line and a punt return for a touchdown gave the Gators 14 points in a game determined by just one touchdown.

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Statistically, this year’s special teams unit has been by far the worst of the Les Miles era.

On kickoffs, the Tigers rank 103rd in the nation in opponent return average, 107th in percentage of returns for 30-plus yards and 119th in average opponent starting field position.

Their punt coverage has been even worse, ranking 121st in net punting average.

The only thing that prevents LSU from earning an “F” in this category is the play of kicker Trent Domingue, whose 16-yard touchdown run on a fake field goal proved to be the winning touchdown in the Tigers’ 35-28 victory over Florida last week.

Domingue has also been perfect on field goal (7-of-7) and extra-point attempts (29-of-29).