What went wrong for LSU Football in first half against UCLA?

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

LSU football is trailing UCLA 14-10 at the half.

This wasn’t quite the start we were expecting from the Tigers.

I didn’t think Ed Orgeron’s squad was going to run away with the game, but I at least thought they’d be leading at halftime.

So what went wrong for LSU in the first half?

LSU football’s first half struggles

The most glaring issue for LSU in the first half was offensive line play. Quarterback Max Johnson looked like he was running for his life at times in the first half, which caused some major issues in the passing game (we’ll get to that in a minute).

LSU’s running game was essentially non-existent in the first half.

Tyrion Davis-Price rushed for seven yards on seven carries. That’s obviously not a recipe for success.

With the run game unable to get going, and the offensive line not providing reliable pass protection, it meant LSU was having to rely on Johnson to carry the offense.

Unfortunately, the Bruins were able to get to Johnson often, forcing some errant throws that were catchable, but slightly off target.

At one point, Johnson threw just behind Kayshon Boutte in the end zone. Boutte probably should’ve caught the ball (he got both hands on it, but his body was completely turned), but a better-placed ball likely would’ve resulted in a touchdown.

Johnson didn’t look nearly as confident as he did in the final two games of the 2020 season when he led the Tigers to wins over Florida and Ole Miss.

Defensively, I thought LSU was pretty solid (except for the one explosive play they gave up that resulted in a 75-yard touchdown by UCLA’s Greg Dulcich).

The Tigers’ defensive line looked really good, which isn’t a surprise. We heard all fall how good the defensive line will be this season. They delivered on the hype in the first half.

Cornerback Eli Ricks also added a well-timed interception.

LSU needs to get the run game going and find a way to get Max Johnson comfortable in the second half, otherwise it’s going to be a long week listening to the national media slam Coach O.