Final score: Ole Miss 55 – LSU Football 49. Game over and the Tigers’ hopes for the College Football Playoff over. Here’s my instant reaction.
The tone of this article changed multiple times as I documented my thoughts throughout the final minutes of LSU Football vs. Ole Miss. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot to unpack as I watch Ole Miss students rush the field.
The Tigers seemed prime for a game-winning drive with 39 seconds remaining in Oxford. Such was destined to include Jayden Daniels’ Heisman moment. However, a pair of bonehead false start penalties moved LSU in the wrong direction. A lengthy final pass into the back of a crowded end zone signaled the end of an awful game.
LSU fans are not happy right now.
The Ole Miss defense was especially bad on Saturday night in Oxford, Mississippi. Lucky for Lane Kiffin’s squad, the LSU Football defense was worse. It’s fair to say that both teams played defense so putrid that it made Pac-12 teams blush.
Conversely, Daniels was outstanding on the night. The graduate signal-caller led LSU Football to 49-points via 414 passing yards, 99 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns. Indeed, Daniels’ performance is good enough to earn SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second-straight week.
Last week, I criticized Daniels’ cold start against Arkansas and said that LSU Football cannot afford such against the better SEC opposition. The SEC’s leading quarterback made very few mistakes tonight, but LSU’s total performance against Ole MIss supports my perspective.
The 2023 LSU Tigers are a team that is reliant on offensive shootouts to win some of their bigger games. Thus, the pressure is on Jayden to be as electric as he was this Saturday evening.
Sadly, as good as Daniels was against Ole MIss, it was not enough. It’s not fair, but it is what it is.
I mentioned at halftime that Brian Kelly admitted in the preseason that he did not feel his team was ready to compete for a national title. At the time, I thought Kelly’s comments were something that a coach says to stave off hype and maintain an underdog mentality with his squad. However, the more games LSU plays, the more it feels like their head coach knew what was coming.
Kelly’s defense is especially bad and it goes beyond some poor scheming. Their linebackers don’t cover the intermediate areas of the field well and the Tigers’ secondary is full of lesser-talented players.
All night, the LSU Football defenders looked slow and confused while blowing zone coverage opportunities. We saw more man coverage looks in the second half, but the size of Ole Miss’s receivers was a constant problem.
What’s worse is that a lot of LSU players were banged up tonight. We saw some limp off the field in defeat. This doesn’t feel great as a fan. I can only image the Tigers’ coaches and players are feeling their hearts ripped from their chests.