A Different Path

When Alabama defeated LSU in 2008, the Tigers went into a tailspin. Despite Saturday's loss to the Tide in Tuscaloosa, coach Les Miles is certain that 2009 doesn't hold the same fate.

LSU coach Les Miles was short with his discussion of Patrick Peterson’s interception turned incompletion in Saturday’s game in Tuscaloosa, which made the Southeastern Conference officials the central players in a responsibility-gone-awry scenario once more.

“I’ve had phone conversations with the [SEC] Commissioner and the head of officials, and I can tell you that they looked at it long and hard,” Miles said. “I looked at the television feed, and I do not know what the instant replay officials are looking at. I defer, and I am going to understand that these guys are doing everything they can to get it right.”

The message Miles became more vocal with was that had the call gone LSU’s way, the game was not handed over in the same motion.

From pre-snap penalties to failed drives late, mainly three, fourth-quarter possessions that culminated in nine total yards, there were plenty of mistakes that hindered the Tigers shot at knocking off the unbeaten Tide.

At the same time, there was no questioning the heart that LSU took to the field. As veterans and leaders from both sides of the ball dropped to injuries, the Tigers kept plugging along.

By the start of the fourth quarter, without their starting quarterback and running back, LSU still held a five-point lead over one of the most talented, well-schooled college football teams in the land.

“My team played their heart out,” Miles said. “There were examples of great play early and late. It’s an interesting fact that we go up in the BCS standings beyond a game that we finished second. It kind of speaks to the strength that our team sees week-in and week-out.”

So, understand that LSU took something home from Tuscaloosa outside of the injuries and second check in the loss column. But, don’t call that something a moral victory.

“I don’t believe in moral victories,” Miles said. “Those guys that gave everything they had – came off the field exhausted – they have a comfort in their heart they did everything they could. That’s a consolation. There’s no victory in that. It’s just a consolation.”

Turning to Louisiana Tech is the first step to getting past the loss.

Despite being a non-conference opponent, be certain that LSU will give the Bulldogs their full focus in game week preparation.

After last November’s loss to then undefeated Alabama, LSU walked into a home game with Troy that hadn’t left the minds of any Tigers that suited up that night.

In the waning minutes of the third quarter, Troy led LSU 31-3.

16 minutes later, the Tigers had scored 37 points to secure the 40-31 win – the largest comeback in team history.

Back-to-back losses to Ole Miss and Arkansas followed. Most figured that when the Tigers were downed in overtime by coach Nick Saban’s side, the passion was lost.

After another emotional roller coaster game with Alabama that resulted in another LSU loss, will the Tigers stumble down the same path of uninspired play?

Don’t count on it.

“Our football team is understandably disappointed,” Miles said. “But, I’ve seen these men handle disappointment before. I think that they’ll very quickly turn their attentions to their opponent and go to preparing.

“I think they understand that there is an opportunity to be a great team … an opportunity to put ourselves in position for a very substantial bowl. It’s hard for me to believe that our guys, especially this team, won’t see that and look forward to preparing.”

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