Posted on September 8, 2019, by Travis Pulver
When the 2019 college football season began, there were high hopes for the LSU Tigers—which was evident in their No. 6 preseason ranking. But, like every other college team in the country, we didn’t really know anything about them. Until teams actually play football, it is impossible to truly know anything.
Now, two games into the season, it appears like we can say one thing about the Tigers. Look out, Alabama– because the Tigers are coming for you.
The message doesn’t really stem from their Week One win over Georgia Southern (55-3). LSU should beat a team like the Eagles by that kind of margin. However, their win over Texas Saturday night—now that game sends a message.
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Texas came into the game ranked No. 9 in the nation with a win over Louisiana Tech in Week One 45-14). After their first ten-win season in years last season and with Heisman hopeful Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, they are considered a team to watch this season. But the Tigers were considered the better team and entered the game favored by 6.5-7.5 points (depending on the sportsbook).
Despite the touchdown spread, it was expected to be a tough, hard-fought game—and it was. LSU led 2-7 at the half. But then Texas came roaring back to start the second half and closed the gap to 23-21 heading into the fourth.
While the Longhorns were able to score on every second-half possession (four of five were touchdowns), LSU was able to answer with scoring drives on four of five possessions (three touchdowns and a field goal; not including the final possession of the game).
The difference-maker for the Tigers was their quarterback, Joe Burrow, who had an incredible day completing 31 of 39 attempts for 471 yards and four touchdowns (with one interception).
“That was awesome,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said after the game, via ESPN. “Man, he was fired up. The kid is a baller. He lives for that moment, and I’ll tell you what, those were some tough plays. It was loud out there, and he got it done.”
LSU has traditionally been a running school, but with the hiring of former Saints assistant Joe Brady as the receivers coach/passing game coordinator, they are switching gears. So far, so good.
But why should Alabama be worried? The Tigers defense did, after all, get shredded by Ehlinger in the second half. Ehlinger ended the game having completed 31 of 47 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns with another 60 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
If Ehlinger can do that, then Tua Tagovailoa should not have too much trouble carving up the LSU defense either—and he has a better group of receivers than Ehlinger.
But the trick to beating Alabama is not to stop the offense. Yes, the LSU defense will need to play better when they face Alabama. However, the trick to beating Alabama is not to let them dictate the flow of the game on offense. If you can control it, like Clemson did last season in the title game, and can force Alabama to have to keep up with you, you can beat the Crimson Tide.
With how LSU’s offense looks so far, it appears that they might be able to do just that. LSU will face the Northwestern State Demons next week. They will not see Alabama until November 9.