CFN Instant Analysis
LSU 41, Washington 3
If Washington QB Keith Price was a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy two weeks ago, those hopes were put to sleep by the LSU defense this evening.
Price is a terrific quarterback, who’ll make a ton of big plays this season once the Pac-12 schedule begins. However, navigating the Tigers defense, regardless of the venue, was just not going to happen in Week 2. For those on the West Coast who scoff at all of the attention the SEC gets, LSU’s lopsided, never-in-doubt victory was Exhibit A why the league remains the toughest in the country. The Huskies have a pretty good offense, led by a darn good quarterback-coach combination. Yet, U-Dub never reached the end zone, managed just three plays of at least 10 yards and generally looked lost in the face of the Tigers’ incessant pressure.
LSU brings the defensive heat in waves. The front schooled an overmatched Washington line, the linebackers closed fast on the ball and the defensive backs stuck to WR Kasen Williams and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins all night. The Tigers defense is in a league of their own, even as Tyrann Mathieu watched from the stands instead of the sidelines. So, too, for that matter is the one in Tuscaloosa. Apples to oranges, I know, but tonight could be a harbinger of what’s to come in January if USC faces the SEC champ in the BCS National Championship Game.
By Matt Zemek
On a wild, cluttered and clamorous second Saturday of the 2012 college football season, this was a rare species of "footballanicus universitatus." Sorry for the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon reference, but LSU's straightforward thumping of Washington made complete sense. Many of the day's other notable national matchups did not.
The Baton Rouge beatdown leveled by the unofficial defending national champions of college football (Alabama is the official defending champ) flowed from its superiority and depth in the trenches. This figured to be the storyline before kickoff, and it's exactly what turned out to be the foremost point of distinction between the Bayou Bengals and the overwhelmed, outmanned Huskies.
LSU's defensive line knew it would enjoy a pronounced advantage against Washington's banged-up and decidedly thin offensive front. The ensuing 60 minutes in Red Stick merely confirmed the Tigers' expectations and hopes. Washington was never able to attain any appreciable leverage at the point of attack. Quarterback Keith Price was running for his life for most of the night… and when he wasn't, he was getting pounded on backside sacks that he couldn't sense or see. This was the country whipping most football pundits expected, and in a sport that so often delivers unpredictability, Tigers-Huskies represented a rarity on Saturday.
No Florida road comeback. No USC mini-scare in New Jersey. No Auburn drubbing at the hands of Dan Mullen. For once, a little sanity entered the college football cosmos on Sept. 8.
By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb
LSU fumbled the opening kickoff. Washington recovered it in the red zone, went three and out and kicked a field goal. That was it. LSU 41, UDub 3.
At one point late in this game, Washington had zero yards rushing, despite a concerted effort to get a running game going. LSU ended up with 242 rushing yards to UW’s 26 (on 24 carries).
UW had only 12 first downs…seven of them in the second half after LSU put the game away 27-3. Perhaps it's just me, but it seems as if LSU’s defense plays with 15 men on the field.
On offense, LSU ran the ball 52 times, with four different bruising running backs that pounded the heart out of the Huskies defense.
If that’s not enough, and if you’re a non-LSU SEC fan, look the other way. LSU’s quarterback Zach Mettenberger looked fantastic. He was 12/18, but had five drops, for 195 yards and a touchdown. However, it was more than that.
Mettenberger showed good poised and touch, managed his progressions well, and really made almost no mistakes to speak of.
Mark your calendars for November 3 – that’s when Alabama comes down to Red Stick to play the Bayou Bengals.
By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN
In a week of uninspired play by almost everyone, you’ve got to give kudos to LSU. First and foremost, the Tigers ventured out of conference to play a fringe top 25 team. Most important of all though, the Tigers laid the wood to Washington--just a speed bump.
Advantage LSU in the polls. Or at least it should be.
Look, if USC jumped the Bayou Tigers by sending Hawaii over the rainbow last week, then LSU must get the benefit of the doubt after it swash-buckled its way into the stadium and stole the show in every possible angle you could think of.
And speaking of doubt, there shouldn’t be much when it comes to the Tigers chances of making it to Miami for another shot at a national title. It’s early, but Zach Mettenberger appears to be solid enough under center to compliment a deep backfield, very talented defense, and athleticism all the way down to the equipment manager.
While the middle to bottom of the SEC seems to have its warts, Alabama and LSU continue to strut their stuff on every stage imaginable. There’s still some very good teams still to play for both, but many are going to start fixing their eyes on November 3rd for a game of athletic endeavors in Baton Rouge.
By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball
Coming into 2012, everyone knew that LSU had a great team.
After tonight's game, we still don't know precisely how good it is.
Make no mistake about it: LSU was simply better than Washington in every facet of the game. The Bayou Bengals merely lined up, and did whatever they wanted to do.
Unfortunately, this convincing win doesn't help assess where the team is right now. The Tigers should have won this game convincingly. Even though the Huskies had a great offense last year, they lost star RB Chris Polk, as well as their top two receivers from a year ago. The new starters struggled last week, as UW only scored 21 points against a mediocre San Diego State team.
Shutting out an offense with those types of problems is hardly a measuring stick for what's to come during conference play.
With that said, Les Miles still has to feel good about the improvement of the offense. The Tigers lost the national championship game last year because they lacked a decent passing game. New QB Zach Mettenberger has completed almost 70% of his passes, and has thrown only one interception. That's a significant improvement over the tandem of Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee.
What does the improvement in the passing game mean for the 2012 LSU team? It's tough to say. The Tigers won't face a real test until they visit Florida on October 6.
By Bart Doan
Follow me @Bart_CFN
Someone give Les Miles a hand. He lost his best player and his quarterback, and somehow it’s debatable whether his team is actually improved. Early signs say yes. After a quick Washington field goal, the assault was on, with 41 straight points, LSU asserted itself again as a team to beat in the SEC, with Tyrann Matheiu in the stands. A solid 58 rushes, highlighted by Alfred Blue’s 101 yards showed the talent down the roster and the commitment to running it down the opponent’s throat. Zach Mettenberger showed spice on the ball, and honestly made the viewer wonder what might have been last year. His stats won’t necessarily have you running to buy his jersey, but his variety of throws in addition to his demeanor on the sideline speaks to the leader he has become for this team at the most needed position. And Washington is not a bad football team. This was a wake-up call to the rest of the SEC. LSU isn’t back. They never left. And they might be better.