We lost. We could have won. Perhaps we should have won. But we lost.
We can look at the plays that could have gone another way. Terrance Toliver's questionable pass interference call that negated a big play that would have likely set up a touchdown. Terrance Toliver's unquestionable illegal touching penalty that negated a big play that would have likely set up a touchdown. The colossally dumb roughing the passer penalty on Tyson Jackson where he hit Woodson in the head not once, but twice, letting Kentucky out of a 2nd and long situation in overtime. The defensive holding call that was not captured by the cameras, so cannot be evaluated. The pass to Demetrius Byrd that would have given LSU a first down, but was overturned on replay despite, in my opinion, there being no definitive replay showing the ball hit the ground. The bad throw by Flynn resulting in an interception when Lafell was streaking alone to the end zone. The bad throw by Flynn combined with the drop by Lafell that would have put LSU in relatively easy field goal range on the last possession of regulation. The tipped pass that improbably went right into the hands of the Kentucky tight end for a touchdown.
Any of those plays could have gone differently, and we'd likely be celebrating a win right now. But let's give Kentucky credit. There were two points in that game where I thought Kentucky had given up, or would soon do so. When we went ahead by 10 points late in the first half, and had the prospect of getting the ball first in the 2nd half, I thought Kentucky was finished. Instead, they got a quick strike for a touchdown, and kept playing. When we were ahead by 10 points in the second half and Chad Jones made a spectacular play for an interception, I thought we'd drive for a touchdown to go up by 3 scores, and Kentucky would fold the tents. We couldn't get the touchdown, and Kentucky came alive.
There's one other observation to make about this game. That observation is that this game is the culmination of several consecutive weeks where, in retrospect, you can see that we were not playing all that well. Starting with the South Carolina game, our vaunted defense has dominated only at times and at other times has looked very beatable. Starting with the South Carolina game, our offense has had problems getting passing yards, due to a combination of poor blocking, poor throwing, and poor catching. Not all at once, mind you, but something frequently goes wrong on particularly pass plays to result in a negative play. Either the protection will collapse, Flynn will throw an off-target ball, or a receiver will drop it.
We lost because we'd been building towards a loss for the last several weeks. We've made too many mistakes in the form of penalties, dropped balls, missed coverages, and missed tackles. Last night, it finally got to us.
The good news is that we can still reach all of our goals on the season. We still control our destiny in the SEC, and we still have a shot at reaching the National Championship game, but we have to play better. We have to figure out why receivers can get open in the middle of the field. We have to figure out why we're not getting it done in the passing game. We have to figure out why we're getting dumb penalties. If we do that, and get back to the level of play we saw against Virginia Tech, we'll go back to being unbeatable.