Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Day After: Kentucky

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.


uberschuck said...

I think there were lots of questionable calls, but I think they cut both ways (we got a gift of a pass interference against Kentucky on a 4th down play in the first half). We can't claim that the officiating cost us the game--it was bad, but then so was Matt Flynn's accuracy.

After we went up 27-14 it seemed like Kentucky wanted to win more than we did. We both had chances, but they made use of more of theirs. Kentucky earned it--congratulations.

The good news is that regardless of the outcome of that game, our mission remains the same--win every remaining game. If that happens, we'll still probably be #1 or #2 in the BCS in December. We've fallen to #5 in the AP, which I think is fair.

Anonymous said...

A few reasons why LSU lost

1. Too many LSU penalties at critical times.
2. Very good Kentucky offensive line.
3. Kentucky never gave up. They never lost sight of what they needed to do to win.
4. Several LSU key players hurt or playing hurt.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with "Anonymous"'s comment. Too many injuries. It seems like Flynn takes too long to throw the ball. He has people open then decides to throw and the guy's covered at that point.


Hope Muntz said...

So I'm the conspiracist, huh? ;)

Speaking of which, check out the number of penalties called against both Kentucky and Florida compared to their season average per game. But hey, I won't offend your sensibilities any further.

Maybe we can agree that Crowton was a bad hire (based on one of the worst 4th quarter playsets I've ever seen in my life), that Perilloux should have been moved into the starting Tebow-role QB after the MT game (with Flynn as the backup Leak), and that the otherwise brilliant Pellini was too brilliant or something to bother studying how the Auburn defense stuffed Florida or how SC stuffed UK the week before. Or maybe he was too busy watching his kids play soccer. Or taking phone calls, whatever.

To make any realistic run at a national title now IMHO Miles is gonna have to start calling offensive plays himself like he did last year. Except maybe not 57-yard FGs? Just a thought. That was actually the most heartbreaking and painful Tigers game I've ever watched. Because Kentucky just isn't that good. And the Tigers players definitely deserved better big-game coaching.

Richard Pittman said...

If you think coaching cost us that game, you are absolutely wrong. Did the coaches make Keith Zinger drop that pass? Did the coaches make Terrance Toliver line up in an illegal formation? Did the coaches make Tyson Jackson whack Woodson on the head twice in one play?

Yes, I think there were some bad calls by the officials, and perhaps some questionable coaching decisions, but more than anything there was poor execution by the players.

gerry dorsey said...

lsu has been performing well below their talent level for damn near a month (stretches of florida game, stretches of usc game, and the whole first half of the tulane game). they came out playing that way again, but this time they met a team who came to play for 60 minutes. blaming officials only makes you look bitter.

besides...if the tigahs take care of business they can still easily get to the mnc game. ohio st., usf, and bc are all likely to lose. of one loss teams lsu will get the most respect.

Richard Pittman said...

I think I send a great deal of blame to our players. Really, I only complain about 2 calls, the Toliver interference penalty and the Byrd reversal. Everything else was a dumb play on our part.

Hope Muntz said...

And those players would be coached by who, exactly? Am I to believe you stand by Crowton's play-calling in that absymal 4th quarter? Plus the weird benching of Perilloux? Or the running play to set up a 57 yard FG attempt?

Come on.