The Good, Bad and Ugly in LSU's 41-14 win over N. Texas
Jeff Palermo Reporting
LSU's Running Game
The Tigers new and improved passing game was not hitting on all cylinders in Saturday night's victory against North Texas. But it's good to know, the Tigers can rely on their ground game. Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard each rushed for over 100 yards. Hilliard is known as a bruiser, but he showed the ability to break off long runs. Running backs coach Frank Wilson credits Hilliard's work in the offseason, which made him leaner and more athletic. Look for LSU to have more success on the ground this Saturday against Washington. The Huskies gave up 199 rushing yards to San Diego State last weekend.
LSU's passing game was pedestrian on Saturday night, but sophomore wide out Jarvis Landry had two highlight reel catches, a one-handed grab in the 1st quarter and a diving reception in the 4th quarter. Landry caught eight passes for 82 yards and also had a nice block on Hilliard's 60-yard run.
It's been awhile since LSU's linebackers have been listed in the "Good" section of this column. But it's hard not to ignore the fact that Lamin Barrow and Kevin Minter were very active. Barrow was credited with eight tackles and Minter was in on six stops. Freshman Deion Jones also made his presence known with a tackle that resulted in a seven-yard loss.
If Quarterback Zack Mettenberger keeps getting hit like he did Saturday night, he won't last the season. Part of the blame is on Mettenberger, who didn't see a blitzing North Texas defender, and he got his clock cleaned. But other times, LSU running backs failed to pick up blitzes and sometimes the problem was with the offensive line. Wilson says North Texas didn't do anything they didn't expect. He blames miscommunication for some of their problems.
Penalties and Special Teams
LSU was hit with ten penalties. Two of the flags took away touchdowns. Miles called the game sloppy, but the mistakes are correctable. There were three penalties on special teams, which didn't have a great night. Drew Alleman missed a makeable field goal and there was a high snap on LSU's first punt of the season.
LSU raced out to a 24-0 lead and had over 500 total yards of offense, but some of the post game shows on the radio sounded like the Tigers lost, because they didn't win 52-0. I must admit, I thought LSU would look sharper in the passing game. But I'll give Mettenberger a pass on this one. It was the first game he's ever started on the division one college level and there's a learning curve that must occur. The passing game will come along as the season goes. It's only one game and no one is perfect one game into the season, not even Alabama.