REPORT CARD: LSU 58, La. Tech 10

After what amounted to four straight finals in organic chemistry, LSU was finally given a reprieve with a test in underwater basket weaving. Following the gauntlet of Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, and Alabama, a get-well game against Louisiana Tech was exactly what the Tigers needed.

It's sort of odd to refer to LSU's 58-10 whipping of its northern neighbors as a get-well game when the Tigers lost only one of those four previous contests, but the heart-stopping, nerve-racking, finishes of those games turned last Saturday night into just that.

Shortly after the start, the game was never in doubt. LSU dominated on both sides of the ball for the most part, broke big plays, and had the starters on the sideline by the end of the third quarter. That, more than anything else, was what the Tigers needed - a game where they put an opponent away early and didn't have to look up at a deficit or over their shoulder at an upstart trying to ruin a shot at a national championship.

The fans probably needed it, too.

LSU is now 17-1 against Louisiana Tech all-time, and the Bulldogs have never scored more than 10 points against the Tigers. Even in their only victory, they managed just a 6-0 win. Only two of the games versus Louisiana Tech have taken place in the modern era and, prior to the Tigers 2003 win over the Bulldogs, they had not faced them since 1941.

In those two most recent games, LSU has outscored Louisiana Tech, 107-20.

OFFENSE

LSU racked up nearly 600 yards of offense, scored more points than it has all season, and refused to take its foot off of the pedal.

Matt Flynn looked phenomenal at times and not-so-much at others when he was throwing interceptions or over the heads of open receivers. He finished by completing 14-of-26 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns.

Brandon LaFell got well, or better if you look at it as a continuation of his performance against Alabama, especially on a three-play drive where he constituted the entirety of the offense. Terrance Toliver showed his blazing speed off as well.

On the ground, Trindon Holliday made Bulldogs look silly, and Jacob Hester was his old reliable self. He did throw in an 87-yard touchdown run for good measure though.

GRADE: B

DEFENSE

The Tigers held their opponent to less than two yards per rush (35 for 67), caused five turnovers, held their foes to 2-of-16 on third down conversion attempts, and 1-of-5 on fourth down conversion attempts.

For the most part, LSU looked like a team that was at ease and ready to tee-off against an inferior opponent. For the most part, that's exactly what they did, and it was good to see them do so with second string players in the bulk of the second half.

There were a few blown coverages and a few mishaps with missed tackle. LSU allowed less than 24 points for the first time since September and finally stopped an opponent from scoring after reaching the red zone.

GRADE: B

SPECIAL TEAMS

Colt David connected on all three of his field goal attempts and nailed all of his PAT attempts. In doing so, David tied David Browndyke's single-season record of 19 field goals and moved into second place on LSU's single-season points total list.

Patrick Fisher averaged 42.7 yards per punt and, on the receiving end, Chad Jones successfully fielded all punts without a muff. He also started calling fair catches, but made the mistake of fielding one kick at the Tigers five yard line.

Now the bad.

Louisiana Tech averaged 31.8 yards per return on kickoffs, accounting for 218 yards. A 76-yard kickoff return was in that mix, and the Bulldogs rarely began a drive inside of their own 20 yardline after a score from the Tigers.

Thankfully for LSU, they were not faced with an opponent who could take advantage of excellent field position.

GRADE: C-

COACHING

The Tigers came in as focused as possible against Louisiana Tech, let loose on offense, and had the opportunity to let a lot of backups into the game. That's what everyone expected, and that's exactly what happened. Perhaps the only question mark to be taken away was why the starters, particularly on offense, were in for as long as they were.

LSU managed to cut down on the penalties but, even with only eight penalties, some of them were headscrathers – late hit out of bounds, too many men on the field. The most telling thing, however, is that we are now referring to eight penalties as "only" eight.

With all of the improbable upsets that have taken place this season, the Tigers established themselves early and reestablished themselves on top of the collegiate football world in the eyes of many.

GRADE: B


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