2007 LSU Tigers

Posted Dec 31, 2007

2007 LSU Tigers Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2007 LSU Tigers

Recap: The Tigers won a second national championship in five years the hard way, losing twice in triple-overtime as the No. 1 team, and navigating a minefield of close games to get to New Orleans.  An enigma from the moment it lost to Kentucky on Oct. 13, LSU fancied itself a team of destiny, needing some divine intervention from Pittsburgh and Oklahoma on Dec. 1 in order to even get a crack at Ohio State for the BCS title.  Lacking offensive firepower when WR Early Doucet was injured, the Tigers leaned heavily on RB Jacob Hester, an icon in the region, who came through repeatedly when the team needed him most.            

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Jacob Hester

Defensive Player of the Year: DT Glenn Dorsey

Biggest Surprise: True to his word, head coach Les Miles will be coaching LSU, not Michigan, in 2008.  Once Lloyd Carr announced his resignation at the end of the regular season, it was a foregone conclusion that Miles would be headed back to his alma mater.  Rumors got so hot before the SEC Championship game, Miles was forced to call an impromptu press conference before kickoff, an odd turn of events with an even stranger outcome.        

Biggest Disappointment: In Dorsey's final season in Baton Rouge, it was unfortunate for everyone that he wasn't able to play it at full strength.  The country's most disruptive defensive player basically played the second half of the year on one good leg, courtesy of a cheap shot from Auburn G Chaz Ramsey to Dorsey's right knee.       

Looking Ahead: Although a lack of talent hasn't been an issue at LSU in years, a lack of senior leadership could be as the program attempts to repeat in 2008.  At long last, the offense gets turned over to junior QB Ryan Perrilloux, who gets his first real chance to fulfill all of his high school hype. 

- 2007 LSU Preview
2006 LSU Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Aug. 30 at Mississippi St W 45-0
Sept. 8 Virginia Tech W 48-7
Sept. 15 Middle Tenn W 44-0
Sept. 22 South Carolina W 28-16
Sept. 29 at Tulane W 34-9
Oct. 6 Florida W 28-24
Oct. 13 at Kentucky L 45-37 3OT
Oct. 20 Auburn W 30-24
Nov. 3 at Alabama W 41-34
Nov. 10
Louisiana Tech W 58-10
Nov. 17 at Ole Miss W 41-24
Nov. 24 Arkansas L 50-48 3OT
SEC Championship
Dec. 1 Tennessee W 21-14
BCS Championship
Jan. 7 Ohio State W 38-24

Jan. 7
2008 BCS Championship
LSU 38 ... Ohio State 24

Ohio State jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a 65-yard Chris Wells touchdown run and a 25-yard Ryan Pretorius field goal, and then it was all LSU with 31 straight points helped by three Matt Flynn touchdown passes and a one-yard Jacob Hester plunge for a score. The Buckeyes had their chances, but got a field goal blocked by Ricky Jean-Francois, dropped a touchdown pass, got sacked by Ali Highsmith on a key fourth down, and lost momentum on a roughing the punter penalty, to go along with other missed opportunities. Even so, they pulled within 14 going into the fourth quarter on a five-yard Brian Robiskie touchdown catch, but LSU held on time and again before finally putting things well out of reach with a TE Richard Dickson's second touchdown catch of the game. OSU outgained LSU 353 yards to 326.
Offensive Player of the Game: LSU QB Matt Flynn completed 19 of 27 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns win an interception
Defensive Player of the Game: LSU DT Ricky Jean-Francois made six tackles, half a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, and blocked a field goal
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 19-27, 174 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 21-86, 1 TD. Receiving: Early Doucet, 7-51, 1 TD
Ohio State - Passing: Todd Boeckman, 15-26, 208 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Chris Wells, 20-146, 1 TD. Receiving: Brian Hartline, 6-75, 1 TD

Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the BCS Championship | BCS Championship Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes ... The key to the game was third down conversions. LSU was 11 of 18 getting just about every third and short opportunity, while Ohio State converted three of 13 chances. ... The Buckeyes played a slightly better game than history will give them credit for. All anyone will remember is another national title loss to an SEC team, but they had several chances to turn the game around on both sides of the ball and didn't come through. ... LSU was known as the team that commits penalties, but it only committed four for 36 yards while OSU committed seven for 83 yards including five key personal fouls. ... OSU LB James Laurinaitis made 18 tackles, Marcus Freeman made 14.

Dec. 1
SEC Championship
LSU 21 ... Tennessee 14

LSU outgained Tennessee 464 yards to 343, but needed a bid play from the defense to win the SEC championship. Jonathan Zenon took a long Erik Ainge out pattern throw the other way 18 yards for an LSU touchdown for the winning score. The Vols had one last big chance, but a fourth and four pass on the LSU 21 was dropped by Denarius Moore. Their final drive ended with an interception. The Tigers got two Colt David field goals and a 27-yard Demetrius Byrd touchdown catch from Ryan Perrilloux, who injured his finger, but stay in for most of the game. Tennessee played well with two Erik Ainge touchdown passes with an 11-yarder to Chris Brown and a six-yard play to Josh Briscoe.
Player of the game: LSU CB Jonathan Zenon made six tackles, broke up a pass, and picked off a pass for the game-winning touchdown. Tennessee's Jerod Mayo made 15 tackles and a tackle for loss.
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Ryan Perrilloux, 20-30, 243 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 23-120. Receiving: Early Doucet, 5-29
Tennessee - Passing: Erik Ainge, 20-40, 249 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Arian Foster, 21-55. Receiving: Josh Briscoe, 8-79, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Through all the wackiness with the coaches and all the drama with the injuries, the LSU players managed to fight through and pull off the SEC championship. It would be nice to have seen what the team could've done with a full team, but it goes to show just how strong the talent level is on the Tigers to have pulled off a win like this despite all the problems. The defense came through with the stops it had to late, while the offense did just enough, thanks to the power of Jacob Hester, to grind out 212 rushing yards. Ryan Perrilloux had a defining game, not just because he pulled off the SEC title, but because he did it with an injured finger. Unfortunately, the team, with several weeks to get healthy, might be the best in America, but won't be able to show it.

Nov. 23
Arkansas 50 ... LSU 48 3OT
In the third overtime, Arkansas scored first on a three-yard Peyton Hillis touchdown run with Felix Jones taking it in for the two-point conversion. LSU answered with a nine-yard Brandon LaFell touchdown catch, but the two-point conversion attempt was picked off by
Matterral Richardson to seal the win for the Hogs and ruin LSU's national title dreams. Darren McFadden ran for touchdowns from 16, 73 and nine yards out, and threw a 24-yard touchdown to Hillis, who also ran for a 65-yard touchdown and caught a ten-yard scoring pass in the first overtime. The Tigers had to fight just to get to overtime with Demetrius Boyd catching a two-yard touchdown pass with 57 seconds to play. LSU scored first on a 12-yard Matt Flynn run, but Arkansas answered with a Hillis's ten-yard catch. McFadden's nine-yard scamper gave the Hogs the lead, but Hester helped tie it up with a two-yard run. Arkansas finished with 385 rushing yards and 513 yards of total offense to LSU's 413 yards.
Player of the game: Arkansas RB Darren McFadden ran 32 times for 206 yards and three touchdowns, and completed three of six passes for 34 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 22-47, 209 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 28-126, 2 TD. Receiving: Early Doucet, 7-52
Arkansas - Passing: Casey Dick, 10-18, 94 yds, 1 TD
Darren McFadden, 32-206, 3 TD. Receiving: Peyton Hillis, 5-62, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Arkansas might have an all-timer of a running game, but a No. 1 team pushing for the national title doesn't give up 50 points and 394 rushing yards at home. Lost in the crushing defeat was a gamer of a performance from Matt Flynn who overcame a rough game to step up late, up until the final interception, and kept his cool when everything around him was breaking down. Now it'll be interesting to see how the fan base reacts to Les Miles. Was the Michigan situation a distraction, or did he and his coaching staff not plan his more talented team correctly? This one will be dissected for a long, long time.

Nov. 17
LSU 41 ... Ole Miss 24
LSU took control of the game when Trindon Holliday answered a 44-yard Marshay Green punt return for a score with a  98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but Ole Miss battled within ten in the fourth quarter on a 38-yard Brent Schaeffer dash, and again on a 33-yard Shay Hodge catch with less than three minutes to play. The Tigers finally put the game away on a 29-yard Charles Scott run on the ensuing drive. Ole Miss outgained LSU 466 yards to 396, but turned the ball over four times, while not forcing any takeaways.
Player of the game: LSU S Craig Steltz made five tackles and intercepted two passes
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 17-25, 168 yds
Rushing: Charles Scott, 3-66, 1 TD. Receiving: Early Doucet, 8-58
Ole Miss - Passing: Brent Schaeffer, 13-28, 208 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Brent Schaeffer, 8-94, 1 TD. Receiving: Dexter McCluster, 5-73

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... :LSU continues to put up big numbers, continues to turn it on when it has to, and continues to win, but even through it's the No. 1 team in the country and things are going well, it still hasn't played a complete game since mid-September. The run defense gave up 201 yards, and while most were to running quarterback Brent Schaeffer, there has to be some concern going into the Arkansas game. Offensively, Matt Flynn led an efficient attack, but it could use more pop out of Early Doucet and the rest of the receiving corps. There's too much explosion to not put a team like Ole Miss away right off the bat.

Nov. 10
LSU 58 ... Louisiana Tech 10
LSU had few problems with the Bulldogs as Terrance Toliver scored on a 71-yard pass play soon after the defense recovered a fumble, Brandon LaFell caught a 37-yard touchdown pass, and Jacob Hester tore off an 87-yard run. Tech got on the board early in the second quarter on a 37-yardBrian Jackson catch to make it 10-7, but LSU answered with 34-straight points helped by two Matt Flynn touchdown passes. The Tigers rolled up 595 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: LSU RB Jacob Hester ran 11 times for 115 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 14-26, 237 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 11-115, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 5-80, 1 TD
Louisiana Tech - Passing: Zac Champion, 20-39, 189 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Patrick Jackson, 9-42. Receiving:
Dustin Mitchell, 5-29
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... :LSU didn't exactly go through the motions against Louisiana Tech, but it wasn't the team's sharpest game of the year. Of course it's hard to argue with a 48 point win, but the offense wasn't clicking on third downs and there weren't enough sacks after only coming up with two. That's nitpicking. Obviously the team didn't have to come up with its full intensity, but with the world watching more than ever, and with many thinking Oregon deserves a shot in the national title game over the Tigers, style points count now. Lost in the win was how LSU clinched the West without playing an SEC game.

Nov. 3
LSU 41 ... Alabama 34
Down seven late in the fourth quarter, LSU got a 32-yard touchdown catch from Early Doucet on fourth and four. On Alabama's ensuing drive, QB John Parker Wilson was sacked and spun around causing a fumble that eventually led to a one-yard Jacob Hester touchdown run with 1:26 to play. With one final drive, Wilson appeared to have completed a fourth and ten pass, but LSU's Craig Steltz separated Keith Brown from the ball to seal the Tiger win. Penalties and three Matt Flynn interceptions hurt the Tigers throughout, and the Tide took advantage of mistakes with Brown catching touchdown passes from 29 and 14 yards out, and D.J. Hall taking a pass for a 67-yard score. LSU, despite all the problems, stayed in it with Doucet making a ten-yard grab and Demtrius Byrd taking a pass for a 61-yard score, but the Tide appeared to take control late with a 61-yard Javier Arenas punt return for a touchdown. That's when Flynn took over, leading the way to an 84-yard drive in ten plays for the tie. The Tigers came up with seven sacks.
Player of the game: LSU QB Matt Flynn completed 24 of 44 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions, and he ran for 19 yards
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 24-44, 353 yds, 3 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 16-47, 2 TD. Receiving: Demetrius Byrd, 6-144, 1 TD
Alabama - Passing: John Parker Wilson, 14-40, 234 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Jonathan Lowe, 10-31. Receiving: Matt Caddell, 3-55

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Tigers continue to play with no fear. Alabama had all the momentum and everything appearing to go its way after the big Javier Arenas punt return for a score, but Matt Flynn and the LSU offense came up with the march they needed to have, and Early Doucet showed why he's a weapon to make the already strong offense that much better. While the offense did a great job of overcoming Flynn's mistakes, overall, there were too make errors, with 14 penalties for 130 yards, and more struggles on defense to hold after the turnovers. When all is said and done, this was a big emotional win, the SEC West has been decided, and now the Tigers can take two weeks off against Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss before dealing with Arkansas.

Oct. 20
LSU 30 ... Auburn 24
Down one with time ticking down, and time out left, and within range for a 40-yard field goal LSU gambled and it paid off, as Matt Flynn connected with Demetrius Byrd for a 22-yard touchdown with one second to play to stun Auburn. The AU Tigers took the lead on a three-yard touchdown catch from Rod Smith for their only points of the second half, as LSU, down 17-7 at halftime, moved the ball time and again, but came up with three second half Colt David field goals and a five-yard Jacob Hester score. Auburn took the lead into halftime helped by a 17-yard Montez Billings catch and a one-yard Carl Stewart run, but LSU got on the board with a 46-yard pass play to Keiland Williams.
Player of the game: LSU QB Matt Flynn completed 22 of 34 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and ran ten times for 34 yards
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 22-34, 319 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 9-50. Receiving: Early Doucet, 7-93
Auburn - Passing: Brandon Cox, 18-28, 199 yds, 2 TD
Brad Lester, 16-68. Receiving: Montez Billings,
6-78, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
It was still a bad play. LSU might have pulled out an all-timer of a throw to beat Auburn, but it was an unnecessary chance the coaching staff took, and while it might be seen as gutsy, that's the type of mismanagement, not knowing exactly what's happing with the clock, that down the road could get the Tigers beat. That's not a great Auburn offense that moved the ball on the supposedly great LSU defense that now has to worry about an injured Glenn Dorsey. This is an LSU team that looks like it needs two weeks off.

Oct. 13
Kentucky 45 ... LSU 37 3OT
In the third overtime, Kentucky scored on a seven-yard Steve Johnson touchdown catch. LSU had its turn, but ran it four straight times, getting stuffed by Braxton Kelly on fourth and two, and UK sealed the improbable win. LSU held a 27-14 lead late in the third quarter, but Kentucky scored the final 13 points of the half on two Lones Seiber field goals and an eight-yard Jacob Tamme touchdown grab. The Tigers had their shot at the end of regulation, but Colt David pushed a 57-yard field goal attempt wide left to force overtime. Derrick Locke ran for a one-yard touchdown on UK's first overtime possession, but LSU quickly answered with a two-yard Richard Murphy scoring run. The two teams traded field goals in the second overtime, with David nailing a 38-yarder and Seiber connecting from 43 yards out. The two teams combined for 19 penalties, with LSU hurt most by a roughing the passer call in the third overtime.
Player of the game: Kentucky LB Wesley Woodyard made 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and broke up a pass
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 17-35, 130 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Charles Scott, 7-94, 2 TD. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 4-42
Kentucky - Passing: Andre Woodson, 21-38, 250 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Derrick Locke, 20-64, 1 TD. Receiving: Steve Johnson, 7-134, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Four straight runs in the third overtime? That'll be what LSU fans will scratch their head about in the loss to Kentucky, even if the ground game pounded its way to 261 yards and was physical all game long. The 12 penalties for 103 yards proved to be a killer, but the inability to get the offense on the board for most of the second half was how the game slipped away. UK kept hanging around and hanging around, and then had it won. A defense supposedly as good as LSU's is should've come up with stops in the overtime and not allowed the touchdowns. It's important to remember that the season isn't over. Win out. Win the SEC title. Have a shot at the title game.

Oct. 6
LSU 28 ... Florida 24
In one of the year's most thrilling games, LSU chose to go for it on fourth down deep in Florida territory, rather than kick the field goal that would've tied it, got it, and finished off the drive with a two-yard Jacob Hester touchdown run with just over a minute to play. Tim Tebow's last gasp Hail Mary was batted down in the end zone. Florida jumped out to a 10-0 lead on a 31-yard field goal and a two-yard touchdown catch from Kestahn Moore, and took a 17-7 lead into halftime on a one-yard Tebow run. LSU dominated the second half, controlling things on the ground, with Keiland Williams scoring from four yards out and Demetrius Byrd catching a four-yard scoring pass, but a 37-yard Cornelius Ingram scoring play helped Florida stay ahead until the final moments.
Player of the game: LSU S Craig Steltz made 16 tackles, and Florida DE/LB Jermaine Cunninghman made 17 tackles and broke up two passes
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 14-27, 144 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jacob Hester, 23-106, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 6-73
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 12-26, 158 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kestahn Moore, 12-79. Receiving: Percy Harvin, 4-58

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... LSU was already in a driver's seat to get to the national title game, and now it has cemented its spot as the number one team in the nation with a tough, gutty win over Florida. The passing game wasn't really working, and the defense didn't dominate, but the offensive line came through when it had to, and Jacob Hester did a fantastic job of getting the hard yards. Holding on to the ball for 12:09 in the fourth quarter, and close to 22 minutes of the second half, helped keep the defense off the field. That's what great power teams do, and that's what teams who aren't afraid of going for it on fourth down in key situations can come up with.

Sept. 29
LSU 34 ... Tulane 9
LSU went through the motions, but were never truly threatened as Jacob Hester ran for two short scores, Charles Scott ran for touchdown from 35 and three yards out, and Colt David connected on field goals form 36 and 33 yards out. Tulane took a 9-7 first half lead on a five-yard Andre Anderson touchdown run, but the Tigers took the lead at the end of the first half on a David field goal on the way to scoring the final 27 points of the game.
Player of the game: LSU RB Charles Scott ran six times for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 16-29, 258 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Charles Scott, 6-53, 2 TDs. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 4-76
Tulane - Passing: Anthony Scelfo, 11-26, 117 yds, 1 INT
Matt Forte, 16-73. Receiving: Gabe Ratcliff, 4-55

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Talk about not showing up and getting a win. LSU turned it on against Tulane when it had to, allowed the defense to take care of things in the second half, and moved on to deal with Florida. The 15 penalties were a joke, and the offensive line had way too many problems early on against Frank Morton and the Green Wave interior, but this wasn't a game the team needed to be up for. Still, it's hard to ever complain over a 25-point win while holding Tulane to 139 yards passing and 88 rushing.

Sept. 22
LSU 28 ... South Carolina 16
Through a rainstorm, LSU pounded its way to 290 rushing yards, while holding South Carolina to 17. Trindon Holliday tore off a 33-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, to answer a long Gamecock drive and a one-yard Mike Davis touchdown run, as part of a 28-point run with Colt David running it in from 15 yards out, Jacob Hester running for a nine-yard score, and Richard Dickson catching a one-yard scoring pass. The Gamecocks got late points on a field goal and a one-yard Kenny McKinley scoring catch, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Player of the game: LSU RB Jacob Hester ran 17 times for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 12-26, 174 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Cory Boyd, 18-17. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 6-25, 1 TD
LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 8-19, 70 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Jacob Hester, 17-88, 1 TD. Receiving: Richard Dickson, 4-39, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is there a more confident team in America right now? The lines are playing so well, they can basically do whatever they want to. The offensive line put on a clinic against the South Carolina defensive front, while the D line stuffed everything the Gamecock running game tried to do. Blame the rain for the lack of a true blowout, but also give the South Carolina defense a little bit of credit for playing well. Of course, LSU won because the ground attack pounded out yards without a problem, controlling the game and the clock. Now comes the breather against Tulane before the showdown with Florida.

Sept. 15
LSU 44 ... Middle Tennessee 0
LSU rested starting quarterback Matt Flynn, but Ryan Perrilloux proved he could be every bit as effective with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Charles Scott and a 62-yarder to Demetrius Byrd in the first half on the way to a 23-0 Tiger lead. Perrilloux added a 15-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Toliver in the third, while Brandon LaFell and Richard Murphy added third quarter scores. The Tiger defense held Middle Tennessee to just nine first downs and 90 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux completed 20 of 25 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns and ran eight times for 37 yards
Stat Leaders: Middle Tennessee - Passing: Joe Craddock, 6-11, 59 yds
Rushing: Dwight Dasher, 12-30. Receiving: DeMarco McNair, 2-25
LSU - Passing: Ryan Perrilloux, 20-25, 298 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Jacob Hester, 10-57. Receiving: Jared Mitchell, 6-82
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... You know your team is strong when you're able to rest your starting quarterback and top receiver and still win in a walk. LSU kept Matt Flynn and Early Doucet on the sideline against Middle Tennessee, but it didn't matter. The defense was its normal, suffocating self with constant pressure into the backfield and great play against the run. Ryan Perrilloux got in some meaningful work and showed he could lead the offense if needed. Now everyone should be rested and ready to roll for the SEC opener against South Carolina.

Sept. 8
LSU 48 ... Virginia Tech 7
Tyrod Taylor ran for a one-yard score late in the third quarter for the Hokies. That would be in for fun moments for Tech, as LSU stomped, ran over, and dominated its way to a shockingly easy win. The Tigers got out 27-0 helped by a 67-yard Keiland Williams touchdown run and short scores from Jacob Hester and Matt Flynn. Williams added a 32-yard run in the fourth quarter and Ryan Perrilloux threw two garbage time touchdown passes. The Tigers outgained the Hokies 598 yards to 149.
Player of the game: LSU RB Keiland Williams ran seven times for 126 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for ten yards
Stat Leaders: Virginia Tech - Passing: Tyrod Taylor, 7-18, 62 yds
Rushing: Tyrod Taylor, 9-44, 1 TD. Receiving: Josh Morgan, 4-20
LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 17-27, 217 yds
Keiland Williams, 7-126, 2 TD. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 7-125
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
This wasn't Mississippi State or Middle Tennessee that LSU steamrolled over; it was Virginia Tech. All questions about the offense appear to have been answered after rolling out close to 600 yards, while the defense was simply stifling for a full sixty minutes. The mix is perfect with the talent on the defensive line looking like the brick wall it was expected to be, while the speed in the back seven is blinding. Now it's up to the coaching staff to get the ball to Keiland Williams more. He showed signs of being truly special, but he likely won't see much time next week against the Blue Raiders. Neither will most of the starters.

Aug. 30
LSU 45 ... Mississippi State 0
LSU's defense suffocated MSU allowing a mere 146 yards of offense and ten net rushing yards, and made it a nightmare of a night for QB Michael Henig with six interceptions. Craig Steltz picked off three passes. Despite a slow start, the LSU offense got a one-yard Keiland Williams touchdown run, his second of the first half, as time ran out to all but end the game going into the locker room. Matt Flynn connected with Early Doucet and Charles Scott on 11-yard touchdown passes in the third quarter, and Ryan Perrilloux ran for a three-yard score and threw a 15-yard scoring pass in the fourth.
Player of the game: LSU DB Craig Steltz made 2.5 tackles, one tackle for loss, forced a fumble, and intercepted three passes
Stat Leaders: Mississippi State - Passing: Michael Henig, 11-28, 120 yds, 6 INT
Rushing: Anthony Dixon, 13-29. Receiving: Arnil Stallworth, 3-33
LSU - Passing: Matt Flynn, 12-19, 128 yds, 2 TD
Jacob Hester, 14-68. Receiving: Early Doucet, 9-78, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... While LSU put up 45 points and coasted to a win over Mississippi State, there's still cause for concern for a Gary Crowton offense that was less than dazzling. Matt Flynn was fine, Early Doucet was terrific, and the backfield showed off all its weapons, but the line was average. It almost seemed like the O didn't want to show off its playbook before hosting Virginia Tech next week. The defense did what it's supposed to do and looked in midseason form; Glenn Dorsey was dominant.

Aug. 30 – at Mississippi State
Offense: It might not be saying much, but this should be the best offense yet under Sylvester Croom. The line gets four starters back, with the fifth spot occupied by Mike Brown, a starter late in the year and the best blocker up front. The receiving corps is easily the deepest area on the offense with good talent and a world of upside, but QB Michael Henig has to stay healthy and get them the ball consistently. Anthony Dixon is an All-SEC caliber running back, and true freshman Robert Elliott should become a fantastic backup. The overall depth is lacking, so injury problems could be disastrous.
Defense: The whole will be better than the parts. The Bulldogs couldn't hold down the better offensive teams last year, and things might not be better right off the bat with tremendous concerns all over the place after losing six key starters. There's plenty of speed and athleticism, but this is a young, inexperienced defense that'll have to force more turnovers and do a much better job of getting to the quarterback. End Titus Brown and defensive back Derek Pegues are All-SEC talents who have to be disruptive forces from day one. The line needs more pass rushers, the linebacking corps has to do more against the pass, and the secondary is relying on green corners so Pegues can play safety.

Sept. 8 - Virginia Tech
Offense: Can Tech win a national title with a mediocre offense? It was 99th in the nation in total offense, but it did a great job of taking advantage of all the breaks generated by the defense. Eight starters return, led by ACC Player of the Year candidate Branden Ore at running back, but he needs the line to be healthy for a full season, and better. The passing game has good pieces, but it has to be far more consistent considering there are four talented senior receivers returning. Quarterback Sean Glennon had a good off-season, and now it has to translate into better production.
For two years in a row, Tech has led the nation in total defense, and last season, was number one in scoring defense allowing 11 points per game. There's no reason the D can't be even better with eight starters returning led by the 1-2 linebacking punch of Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi. Corner Brandon Flowers is emerging as one of the best in the nation, "Macho" Harris is a good defender on the other side, and the line is loaded with size, quickness, depth and experience. As good as things were, and will be, it's not like the D played a who's who of offensive machines, so the overall numbers might be a tad bit overrated, but make no mistake about it; this is a special defense.

Sept. 15 - Middle Tennessee
Offense: The offense was strange last year finishing sixth in the league in total yards but first in scoring. In other words, the O took advantage of almost every opportunity despite not being all that good scoring on 33 of 36 chances in the red zone. Even without long-time starting quarterback Clint Marks, the passing game can't help but better whether it's Joe Craddock, or one of three other options under center. The receiving corps is experienced, but unless Bobby Williams plays up to his talent, it won't be much better. The running game will be the strength with DeMarco McNair and speedsters Desmond Gee and Phillip Tanner running behind a massive line.
Defense: This should be one of the Sun Belt's best defenses in time, but only if the back seven can fill all the holes. The front four will be regulars in the backfield with three all-conference caliber ends in Erik Walden, Sean Mosley and Tavares Jones along with nose tackle Trevor Jenkins. The linebackers are a big problem needing to replace all three starters, but they aren't the problem the cornerbacks are. Bradley Robinson is an all-star, but there's no depth and a concern at the second spot. Damon Nickson will carry things for a while at safety.

Sept. 22 - South Carolina
Offense: This should be a balanced attack that'll rely on the running game early on and the steady play of emerging QB Blake Mitchell to be more explosive and consistent than last year. The big concern is a line that was overmatched throughout the spring as it tried to break in three new starters. Getting a push for the nice 1-2 rushing punch of Cory Boyd and Mike Davis is job one, while Mitchell will have to make quick decisions early on until things start to come together. The loss of Sidney Rice won't be a killer if Kenny McKinley handles the number one job like he's expected to and a good number two emerges.
Defense: The defense has plenty of returning experience, depth, young options waiting to step up and shine, and good stars to build around. MLB Jasper Brinkley is one of the best in America, and now his twin brother will move from defensive end to outside linebacker to help out (though he might end up back on the line). The secondary is emerging as a potential force if everyone starters to play consistently. There's speed at corner, depth and experience at safety, and an emerging star in SS Emanuel Cook. The defensive line has to be far better against the run, and it should be with the return of Marque Hall from injury and the emergence of freshman Ladi Ajiboye.

Sept. 29 – at Tulane
Offense: New head coach Bob Toledo would like to get vertical get the passing game moving, but it's not going to happen at the expense of the ground attack. With a good back in Matt Forte to work with, the Green Wave will try to run the ball to create some semblance of balance, but the offensive line might not be in place to do it. Scott Elliott is the odds-on favorite to win the starting quarterback job in a four-man race, and he has some decent young receivers to work with.
Defense: Tulane hasn't played consistent defense in a few years, and it needs to count on experience, especially up front, to change things around. Eight starters return led by senior tackles Frank Morton and Avery Williams. The secondary needs to be far better after allowing over 250 passing yards a game, but that could be a bit of an issue with two new starting corners being broken in. The new coaching staff will use a variety of formations and schemes to try to get more production, and while the overall defense should be better, there will still be times when it'll get bombed on.

Oct. 6 - Florida
Offense: Now it's time to see how this baby runs. Now the Urban Meyer spread offense will do what it's supposed to with Tim Tebow at the controls full-time, and with a slew of speedy players around him. The offensive line isn't going to wow anyone, but it's experienced, and good enough to win with. The receiving corps has explosion, led by Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell, and some tremendous tight ends, and the running backs, with the emergence of smallish speedster Chris Rainey, will have more pop. Now it's up to Tebow to not only shine, but stay healthy with two true freshmen behind him.
This is what's called giving Florida the benefit of the doubt. Anyone else replacing nine starters, needing a slew of true freshman to play big roles right away, and/or had the issues the Gators have on the line and at corner, would be instantly dismissed from any SEC East title talk much less the national championship discussion. The recruiting classes have brought in a ton of ultra-fast, ultra-athletic player for the back seven, but there isn't enough size up front, or developed depth anywhere, to hope for any sort of consistency. No, things won't fall off the map after finishing sixth in the nation in scoring and total defense, but there will be some major growing pains to fight through.

Oct. 13 – at Kentucky
Offense: The Wildcat offense exploded last year thanks to the emergence of Andre Woodson as a superstar quarterback. It'll be bombs away once again, as Woodson chose to come back for his senior year and will have all his weapons at his disposal. Keenan Burton finally stayed healthy, and he became one of the SEC's most lethal receivers. Dicky Lyons, tight end Jacob Tamme, and running back Rafael Little are also back, with Little healthy enough again to be one of the SEC's best all-around offensive weapons. The problem is the line, which is mediocre at best, a liability at worst. It could be what keeps the Wildcats from being special.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Mike Archer is gone, and now former secondary coach Steve Brown will take over in an attempt to revive one of the nation's worst defenses. The run defense won't be any good again with little size up front, but the secondary should be better with excellent speed and good young prospects. It'll take awhile to see any improvement overall, but there's enough overall athleticism to expect things to be a bit better.

Oct. 20 - Auburn
Offense: Where are the stars? The Auburn offense is full of above-average talents who need to mesh into a better, more consistent attack than the one that averaged just 24.77 points and 321 yards per game while doing next to nothing against the top teams. Only one starter, massive tackle King Dunlap, returns to the offensive line, while the receiving corps could be a problem is no one becomes a reliable number two receiver alongside Rodgeriqus Smith. On the plus side, the running backs are deep and talented, Brandon Cox appears ready to be a more productive passer, and the tight ends are the best in the league by far.
Defense: The whole will likely be better than the parts. Auburn's defensive front has the potential to be excellent thanks to the return of star end Quentin Groves for his senior year and with the emergence of Sen'Derrick Marks on the inside. Getting into the backfield won't be an issue, and coming up with sacks had better not be with a secondary that'll be shaky despite getting three starters back. The loss of corner David Irons will hurt. The linebacking corps isn't experienced, but it should be better than last year's group as the season goes on.

Nov. 3 – at Alabama
Offense: Major Applewhite takes over as offensive coordinator and will play around with several different formations and ideas, while trying to stick with Nick Saban's run-first philosophy. He'll incorporate a little bit of spread and four-wide sets. There's one problem; Bama might not have the backs to run well on a consistent basis. The strength is in the passing game with the great 1-2 receiving tandem of D.J. Hall and Keith Brown working with rising passer John Parker Wilson. The line welcomes back five starters led by soon to be All-Everything tackle Andre Smith.
Defense: Former Florida State defensive coordinator Kevin Steele came in and switched things up to a 3-4 in an attempt to jump-start a woeful pass rush by getting more production from the outside linebackers, led by a hybrid position of defensive lineman and linebacker, manned by Keith Saunders. Wallace Gilberry and Bobby Greenwood look the part of top ends, and now they have to start producing. The biggest problem is tackle, where former backup center Brian Motley, who looked great this spring, has to be an anchor for everything to work right. The back eight should be excellent, led by all-star corner Simeon Castille.

Nov. 10 - Louisiana Tech
Defense: 2006 was expected to be a year of transition, but yeesh. The D was the worst in America allowing 483 yards and close to 42 points per game, and it was simply awful from start to finish. Step one for the new coaching staff is to find a way to get into the backfield after the Bulldogs finished dead last in sacks and tackles for loss, and it'll alternated between a 3-4 and a 4-3 to try to get some production. The linebacking corps should be decent, the secondary can fly, and the defensive line is full of decent-sized veterans. Now there has to be come semblance of production.
Offense: It's not like the offense was awful last year, but it wasn't consistent and it didn't do enough to keep in all the shootouts created by its defense. Enough talent returns to look for more overall production, especially in the running game where Patrick Jackson should shine behind a big, veteran offensive line that can block, but can't pass protect. The quarterback situation will be worth watching with Zac Champion likely to get the job to start the season, but will be pushed by Michael Mosley and Ross Jenkins for time.

Nov. 17 – at Ole Miss
Offense: The offense needed more out of the running game after a woeful 2005, and it got it with BenJarvus Green-Ellis coming up with a 1,000-yard season as the workhorse for the offense. Now the offense has to figure out how to score after averaging 15.7 points per game (up from a whopping 13.45 per game in 2005). The passing game needs a lot of work, and the hope will be for the young receiving corps to step up and become passable. There will be a quarterback battle into the fall with Brent Schaeffer needing to prove he can move the offense, or he'll be unseated be Seth Adams, who's the more efficient passer. The massive line should be better after years of seasoning.
Defense: This should've been the year when everything started to come together for the Rebel defense, but the loss of all three starting linebackers, along with some major uncertainty in the secondary, will make this an inconsistent year, at least early on. The defensive line will be the strength with end Marcus Tillman on the verge of stardom, and the tackle combination of Peria Jerry and Jeremy Garrett to be among the best in the league ... if they stay healthy. The secondary lost some of its top safety prospects to the depleted linebacking corps, and the corners have to be far better. Ole Miss only picked off three passes last year. That can't happen again.

Nov. 24 - Arkansas
Offense: The Gus Malzahn experience quickly got pushed aside, forgetting about his spread offense to better utilize the devastating running attack. Now it'll be up to new offensive coordinator David Lee, who'll try to run a pro style passing attack, but will spend most of his time figuring out how to get the ball into the hands of the magnificent running duo of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. The line, despite the loss of three starters, will be fantastic for the running game, but suspect in pass protection. Marcus Monk is an elite receiver, but a number two option has to emerge and Casey Dick has to throw the ball effectively and consistently.
Defense: It'll be a good defense, but there are some big-time talent losses in linemen Jamaal Anderson and Keith Jackson, corner Chris Houston, and linebacker Sam Olajubutu. There's plenty of speed and athleticism to go around in what should be a solid back seven, but everyone has to stay healthy. The line needs tackle depth with Marcus Harrison questionable after tearing his knee this spring. Overall, coordinator Reggie Herring will keep things aggressive with tons of plays in the backfield, along with lots of pressure applied by the defensive backs.



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