LSU fans shared the same shock but in a much different manner as Tiger followers basked in the glow of an unexpected lopsided victory.
While the 40-3 score, the worst
postseason loss in
Coming into the game,
Let's just say those numbers will be a bit different in the final statistical rankings.
LSU's offense, which mustered a
paltry 230 yards of total offense versus
As dominant as LSU's offense was against the heralded Hurricane defensive unit, the Tigers' defense stole the show.
This was a team that was ranked third in the BCS in early November.
Some other eye-popping stats:
- LSU nearly outdistanced the Canes by 19 minutes in time of possession with a 39:08 to 20:52 advantage.
Tigers ran 32 more offensive plays than
punted just once in the game, offset by eight
averaged almost five yards per carry rushing 55 times for 272 yards, an average
of 4.9 yards per rush.
Throughout the course of the season, it has been said time and again this team is loaded with talent, but time swill tell how good they can really be only when they put it all together. Fans waited 12 games for LSU to get it together and not once did the Tigers play a complete game; play 100-percent for 60 minutes.
There is no question LSU played their best in this game. Maybe it took lucky No. 13 to get it right.
The biggest X-factor of this Peach Bowl was the insertion of backup quarterback Matt Flynn into the starting lineup.
Starter JaMarcus Russell was injured in the SEC Championship Game and did not even make the trip. Flynn came to LSU highly regarded but had seen very limited times at quarterback. Heading into the Peach Bowl, Flynn had just 33 pass attempts in his career.
The redshirt sophomore showed very little signs of being a rookie and took command of the LSU offense in a way few thought possible.
Senior offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth said Flynn commanded the huddle like no other quarterback he had seen before showing firm leadership, which carried over to his play on the field.
Flynn completed just one of his first five pass attempts, but connected on 12 of his final 17 passes to finish with 196 yards on 13 of 22 passing and two touchdowns. Flynn's 49-yard bomb to Craig Davis was perfectly thrown and allowed the Tigers to take a 10-3 lead.
Just before halftime, Flynn tossed his second scoring pass, a four yard bootleg pass to Joseph Addai, to carry a 20-3 lead into the halftime break.
Flynn looked much like former quarter Matt Mauck in the way he led the offense completing high percentage passes and using his legs as a weapon when necessary. Flynn rushed five times for 39 yards, an average of 7.8 yards per carry. Flynn was named the Peach Bowl's Most Valuable Player.
While Flynn's play was a pleasant surprise to Tiger fans, it was no surprise what Addai was able to accomplish on the ground. However, since injuring his ankle in the North Texas game, Addai drifted into obscurity down the stretch carrying the ball only twice in the SEC title game loss to Georgia.
But against the Canes, a healthy and rejuvenated Addai ran wild collecting 130 yards on 24 carries with rushing and receiving touchdowns.
The LSU offensive line had its best
game of the year as a talented
Jacob Hester, a seldom used fullback, racked up 70 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. On the Tigers last drive of the third quarter, Hester touched the ball seven (one catch, six rushes) times on a nine play drive and bounded into the end zone on a 1-yard scoring run for a 34-3 lead.
Some new contact lenses may have
been the difference for Dwayne Bowe, who hauled in a game high five catches for
99 yards. Bowe, who had been criticized for dropping several pass during the
season, including the sure game clinching touchdowns versus
Coker managed to do so in the early
stages of the game. Hester ran for big gain after big gain lining up at running
back, receiver even quarterback on
But the Tiger defense stiffened,
Wright managed just 100 yards
passing completing just 10 of 21 passes. Coming into the Peach Bowl, Wright was
sacked 16 times in
No player had more than five
tackles in the game, but the entire collective effort of the defense and the
To think, 13 games ago the Tigers
gave up 561 yards of offense to
Sure Chris Jackson missed an early
field goal and a couple of Skyler Green punt returns were called back due to
penalty, but the Tigers put together arguably its best special teams effort of
the year against
Jackson and Colt David combined to
go four of five on field goals, including a career long 35 for David and a
While LSU was criticized after the game for faking two kicks, the Tigers faked a punt and a field goal to perfection in the second half leading to two field goals.
Green finally got his hands on a couple of punt returns and looked much more dangerous in the open field than Hester. Green also showed some flashes of brilliance from the quarterback position rushing five times for 15 yards.
It will be interesting to see if Miles if given a vote of confidence by the fans after winning 11 games, finishing ranked in the top 10 and handing one of the most storied programs in college football history its worst bowl loss ever.
Time will tell that tale, but Miles
should be commended for having his team to ready to play, especially after the
Tigers had a month to stew in getting drilled by
Overall, the rookie LSU coach made some mistakes this season, but in the end, gets a great big thumbs up for keeping this team together through a period of great adversity, bouncing back from a gut wrenching defeat to go on and run the table.
Miles finds himself in pretty elite company in terms of wins. The victory was the team's 11th of the year, only the third time in the history of the program a team won 11 or more games. Paul Dietzel's 1958 Tigers were the first to achieve more than 10 victories going 11-0 en route to a national title.
In 2003, Nick Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record, the most wins in school history, and the school's second ever national championship.
Since 2001, LSU has reached double digits in wins three times in five seasons and are averaging 10.3 wins per season.
Heading into the offseason, Miles
has a chance to strengthen his foothold in