The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

LSU's win over McNeese State had a little bit of it all. Go inside for's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

-      - The complaints on starting Jordan Jefferson might be warranted, but there’s no denying that Jarrett Lee has been flat-out impressive in his recent role coming off the bench for the third series of the game. Against Tennessee he hit on 4-of-6 passes to set up a field goal attempt. Against Florida he led a 13-play, 77-yard drive that ended in six points. On Saturday against McNeese State, he used a short field to go 40 yards in six plays for the touchdown.

-      - Josh Jasper is probably having a little more fun than most specialists in college football. One week after his fake field goal helped push LSU past Florida in Gainesville, Jasper struck again – this time as a punter. Faced with a 4th-and-8 on the McNeese 45-yard line, Jasper took the punt and – well – waited. When all 11 defenders bailed to block downfield, Jasper kept the ball on the delay and ran 11 yards to move the chains.

-      - Call off the missing persons search; Russell Shepard is still on the team. After he scored three touchdowns in the first two games of the season, the sophomore wide receiver went out of sight, out of mind. After a five-carry game against Mississippi State, he touched it only twice on the ground in each of the next three games. A combined seven catches in that time netted only 31 yards. Against McNeese on Saturday, Shepard became an early target by design. By half, he had a team-high six catches for 53 yards. In the third quarter, he picked up 43 yards on a reception and run, but LSU was flagged for an ineligible receiver downfield. Through four quarters, the sophomore had a career-high night 78 yards on 10 touches.

-      - Stevan Ridley needed a break from carrying the workload, but the rest didn’t before the junior back could do a little damage. By halftime Ridley had carried the ball 13 times for 43 yards and both of LSU’s touchdowns. The next best runner: Jasper with his 11-yard fake punt.

-      - In the second half the game belonged to Michael Ford. The redshirt freshman finished the night with career highs across the board: 10 carries for 88 yards and two touchdowns. With Alfred Blue sidelined with injury and Ridley looking for rest, the emergence of Ford couldn’t have been more timely.

-      - Linebacker Ryan Baker finished with nine tackles, second-best on the team. Just as important were his two sacks, one of which came on a third-down in the second quarter. Between Baker and Kelvin Sheppard, two of LSU’s linebacker recorded 19 of the defense’s tackles.

-      - Morris Claiborne now leads the team in picks, having nabbed four of the team’s eight interceptions on the year. Of course, the sophomore seems to find a way to get underneath the throws on busted routes, often coming out on the receiving end of a ball that could be confused for a pop fly. “I’ve been getting made fun of all night for that,” laughed Claiborne after the game.


The Bad

-      - The fumble was credited to the team, but it was freshman running back Spencer Ware who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time on an early-second quarter punt by McNeese. Off a short bounce, the ball hit Ware and was recovered by the Cowboys. The turnover cost LSU three points by way of a 23-yard field goal. It could have hurt even more… The third-down pass from Cody Stroud to Wes Briscoe was dropped in the endzone.

-      - Lavar Edwards is getting big snaps these days at defensive end, but in the absence of Sam Montgomery, the sophomore isn’t coming up big. In the past three games he has a combined five tackles, three of which came in the same game. Against Tennessee he recorded a sack, which was the only stop he was in on all night. On Saturday night against an undersized McNeese front, his only stop came on a five-yard pickup at the end of the third quarter. In the wake up Montgomery’s season-ending injury, Edwards leaves much to be desired.

-      - In a week where LSU expected to dominate the competition in all phases, it was the Cowboys who won the time of possession battle. It was close (30:50 to 29:10), but the reality is that LSU planned to be able to keep McNeese off the field and Jefferson/Lee on.  

-      - The first-half rushing attack brought two touchdowns, just what you ask of Stevan Ridley when the Tigers get to the goalline. But the overall play was poor. After two quarters, LSU had rushed 21 times for just 44 yards.

-      - Jasper was on the cover of the evening’s media guide with the “can’t miss” label. The Madden Curse of game programs? The senior kicker went out to botch a 32-yard field goal just before halftime and miss an extra point, the first of his career. Jasper had been 56-of-56 on extra points prior to the miss.


The Ugly

-      - Jordan Jefferson threw for just 28 yards. As for his ground game, the team’s “option” quarterback finished at minus-24 yards. The team’s starter was in on 12 total snaps, where he netted four yards and no points.

-      - Jefferson wasn’t alone. LSU’s passing tandem went for 104 total yards on 22 attempts. That’s an average of 4.7 yards a pass, modest numbers given LSU’s talent at receiver. It was a game where fans hoped to see big results from the unit, even if the offensive gameplan was purposefully vanilla. Instead, it was another head-scratcher from the passing attack.

-     -  With the score at 9-3 and halftime drawing near, LSU looked to move to a double-digit advantage – but a penalty from a senior leader cost the Tigers their shot at points. Jefferson rushed for three yards and the first down on a keeper play at the McNeese 10-yard line, but an illegal motion penalty on Terrance Toliver brought the third-down play back. Jarrett Lee went to Toliver on the redo, and pass was nearly pick-sixed. Miles settled for the field goal, which Josh Jasper missed. McNeese kneeled out the quarter from there.

-      - LSU finished 3-of-13 on third downs. To take it a step further, one of the three conversions came on a drive deep in the fourth quarter. When the game was still somewhat in contention, neither quarterback seemed to have an answer as to how to move the chains on third down.

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