Min-by-Min: LSU vs. UNC
CFN will experiment giving readers a chance to comment on games real-time; edited, of course. Russ Mitchell will check emails and twitter for insightful messages, and update this report in-line, all while watching and analyzing the game himself. Good luck, Russ.
Russ Mitchell covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. To comment on the game real-time, ping him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @russmitchellsec
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game
ABC; 8 PM EST
LSU has no one to blame but itself. LSU got conservative on offense in the second half, and shot themselves in the foot (feet) with a series of mistakes and poor choices. UNC didn't realize until the fourth quarter that it's offense was mostly intact. The twitter wires are hot right now, and probably will be for hours - but nothing you can print. ;) BOTTOM LINE: A win's a win, and LSU's defense held when it's back was truly against the wall. But one can't help but wonder what would have happened against a full UNC roster. 'course, that's a self inflicted wound, which carries no sympathy. A sloppy but very exciting game.
Q4; 0:02 UNC Pianalto again, and again in and out of his hands in the end zone! Game over; Tigers win. I think.
Q4; 0:06 UNC Pianalto open in the end zone - had a chance for it but in and out of his hands in the end zone. One last chance!
Q4; 0:10 UNC Down to LSU's 15 and Peterson is hurt! Medical attention and he can't participate in the next play.
LSU has to blitz and put pressure on Yates.
Q4; 0:40 UNC First down; clock stops on a rollout pass by Yates. UNC on LSU's side of the field, then a movement penalty on UNC's line. And then a GREAT catch by Boyd again. 21 yards to LSU's 35 yard line. And Boyd's down on a big hit.
UNBELIEVABLE! LSU's Ridley fumbles again! 1:08 left, and UNC has new life!
BLITZ! LSU's true freshman CB gets to Yates! He had a man open, but couldn't read it in time. What an ending!
Q4; 1:42 UNC On third down Yates went to the well one two many times - tried to hit the TE in the middle again. Fourth down! Why doesn't LSU blitz??
Q4; 2:25 UNC Just like the last series, a first down to the TE at mid-field. LSU has to stop that - it's too easy.
Q4; 2:31 UNC ONSIDE KICK RECOVERED BY UNC! Oh my! Are we looking at a collapse of Ole Miss proportions? Was the LSU player hit into the ball?
TOUCHDOWN - Q4; 2:31 UNC Great pass by Yates! Great composure by Yates! And it's a six point ball game.
Yates threw that ball away and I don't think he was outside the tackles. But he follows it with a strike and another first down.
Q4; 7:16 UNC A big passing play to Yates' TE bring the ball down to LSU's 43. More than enough time here, people.
A tweet@Keman61 can't believe LSU is going to let UNC back into this game.
LSU has had a ton of yards in the second half with nothing to show for it.
Q4; 7:35 LSU LSU is self destructing on holding calls. A first down and a TD called back on the last two drives. A big 3rd and 5. And now another penalty! Illegal substitution. C'mon son(s). Sloppy. And LSU is punting. LSU's Jefferson looked scared in the pocket on that play.
That was the longest play from line of scrimmage in UNC history!
TOUCHDOWN - Q4; 10:34 UNC And just like that - Yates to Boyd on another deep pass - this one Boyd's untouched and strolls in for the six. And don't look now, SEC fans, but the Tarheels are two TDs away from a win. What will LSU's OC Crowton have in reply? Other than a Patrick Peterson kickoff return to midfield?
UNC's might be the worst performance by a special teams unit we've ever seen. LSU's punt pins 'em deep, and a UNC personal foul pushes it back even further. UNC starts at the 3. Two others were from the 1 and 4.
Q4; 11:15 LSU Remember what we wrote about Blackwell getting hurt effecting LSU? Ridley with a great run scores, but Blackwell's replacement T-Bob Hebert brings it back with a hold. Then an absolutely bonehead intentional grounding by Jefferson definitely pushes them out of FG range.
Q4; 13:10 LSU LSU's driving, but they missed out on a big play when Jefferson misread the DE and didn't keep the ball Still, another first down on a laser pass to Randle. LSU's on the UNC 24.
A tweet @JimKleinpeter LSU's RG Will Blackwell has a broken ankle. Likely out for the season. -- RM: This is big news for the Tigers - LSU is very thin on the O-line, and Blackwell was expected to contribute greatly this season. Injured on the game's first play.
Q3; 0:55 LSU Everyone still left in the Georgia Dome is expecting an LSU rushing play, and they don't disappoint. LSU's Shepard is so fast, his feet can't keep up with him, as he trips before the first down. That's it for a boring third quarter - LSU up by 20.
Speaking of three and outs, you'd have thought it was the Tarheels offense that was hammered with suspensions.
Q3; 3:14 LSU On third down, Ridley gets swallowed up the moment he gets the hand off. Two consecutive three and outs for the Tigers.
LSU is being way to conservative on offense. This game's not over. Course right after I write than, Jefferson throws it 50+, but off target.
A tweet @lsufball Patrick Peterson's 244 total return yards is an #LSU record. Needs 23 yards to break SEC record. Needs 99 to break NCAA mark.
If not for special teams blunders on the part of UNC, this game is likely within a TD.
Q3; 5:31 UNC Break for UNC - RB is fighting for yards and gets it stripped. No whistle, but they call it down by forward progress. Then Yates gets caught from behind by 300+ pound LSU lineman (Josh Downs). They go conservative and run it up the gut on third and long, to the boos of the UNC "Faithful".
Q3; 9:08 UNC Right up the gut for another first down. Where are the Tiger tacklers? AND ANOTHER ONE! This drive started on the 1, now it's at the 34. Running up the gut like this is dominating - and gets you your confidence back. LSU's line finally holds. Third and 7... Play action works (not surprisingly) and another first down on LSU's side of the field
Q3; 9:35 UNC First down for UNC. Several LSU players dinged now. Peterson, Nevis takes himself out, and now Taylor down after a big tackle. Don't look now, but a TD by UNC cuts it to 13 AND gives them momentum...
A tweet @TarHeelMonthly Renner throwing on UNC sideline. Hope fans won't pin this on Yates unless he is on coverage teams.
Q3; 11:14 LSU There's Murphy. UNC's defense holds at mid-field, after a series of downs by LSU bring a whole new definition to the word "conservative". LSU's punt out at the one. Kick in the gut for UNC.
A tweet@Lonestar_Prince Damn UNC! Ya'll are out of the top 25 now.
HA! LSU rush isn't anywhere close to the punter, and UNC kicks it out of bounds - away from Peterson. Who says college kids can't learn.
Q3; 12:48 UNC Three and out, and they Tarheels looked limp doing it. Talented senior LB Kelvin Sheppard down with cramps. Worth noting, as the Tigers are thin at LB.
LSU needs to protect itself from complacency. This game isn't close to over.
Expect to see a lot more of RB Richard Murphy over Ridley going forward.
Q3; 13:48 LSU HUGE BREAK for UNC - they review the play and it's reversed; not a first down but a Ridley fumble on UNC's 12 yard line. LSU can't stand success.
LSU's Golden Girls - a great college tradition.
Q3; 15:00 LSU UNC kicks it away from Peterson, and Brooks runs it back to the UNC 45. Just kick it out of bounds, fellas. Then wide open is Mitch Joseph, the TE in the middle of the field. Down to the UNC 25 just like that.
ESPN's Chris Fowler "Les Miles woke up late this morning." Well, his team certainly woke up half way thought the Q2 - they were losing and only had 52 yards of offense.
ESPN's Jesse Palmer UNC Offense is killing them - three fumbles and a safety. And the special teams is giving up huge chunks of yards.
Q2; 0:03 LSU All UNC fans - with plays like that, there's still hope! Jefferson literally throws up (think upchuck) one that's picked off on the UNC 40, with five blue jerseys and only one Tiger - Ridley, who makes a heck of an open field tackle. If not, possible chance to run it back. Really, really terrible decision by Jefferson. Still, given where things were at the mid-quarter mark, LSU must be happy.
Q2; 0:15 LSU Then another questionable call. After a first down near mid-field, a screen pass, Ridley doesn't get out of bounds, and Les allows about 10 seconds to run off the clock before calling the TO. Shades of Ole Miss, '09, Les?
Q2; 1:30 UNC Three straight plays and they all go backwards for the Heels. At least Peterson is off the field. Herbstreit "North Carolina might want to just go for it on fourth down." Illegal block in the back sets LSU back all the way to their own 33. Will Les push it? You betcha.
Q2; 2:07 UNC LSU's HC Les Miles calling a timeout after UNC's first down goes nowhere. Wow - Tiger fans hoping that doesn't come back to bite them. But Miles is looking for the knockout punch - very aggressive.
Remember a few moments ago when we said you don't want to go into the locker room down two touchdowns. How about down three?
TOUCHDOWN - Q2; 2:38 LSU Field position is a bitch. With the advantage, LSU goes for the throat with a huge TD pass from Jefferson to Randle on the first play. Wow.
Q2; 2:48 UNC Are you kidding me? They're going for it??? No, just trying to get LSU to jump. Punting to LSU's Peterson again, and AGAIN, Peterson runs it back to mid-field. This Peterson is electric.
How things have changed since Carter's fumble recovery a few minutes ago near mid-field. UNC's offense has looked anemic. White with a big run that almost netted a first down, but otherwise Yates is back to his start-of-the-game form.
Musburger has a great point - again. (Is this the twilight zone?) UNC's special teams is depleted since they're having to play on defense given all the suspensions.
TOUCHDOWN - Q2; 4:25 Remember what we told you about LSU's Patrick Peterson... Catches the punt with room, and stretches in into about an eighty yard return for a TD. That's gotta be close to 200 kick return yards!
LSU's Drake Nevis is making a statement for a big NFL paycheck. Two sacks in a row! Not to mention putting pressure on the QB/C exchange all night.
Q2; 6:11 LSU FUMBLE - LSU needs to stay away from UNC's LBers Carter and Sturdivant. Carter recovers an LSU fumble near midfield.
SAFETY - Q2; 7:14 UNC Another mistake! Third bad exchange between the center and QB - Yates not looking and its snapped through the end zone. Furr's mistake ultimately costs the heels two points. Agree with Musburger - with 7 minutes to go, UNC better stop making mistakes. They don't want to go into the locker room down two TDs.
Q2; 8:04 UNC Hunter Furr drops the kickoff, then compounds the mistake by running it out of the end zone. UNC will start from their own 4, deep in a hole.
A tweet @BxBomber12 SEC Speed > #ACC Speed....Last two plays looked like NC was moving in slow motion
TOUCHDOWN - Q2; 8:20 LSU Well that was quick - after another huge Tiger kickoff return to near midfield, Russell Shepard runs it all the way in for his second TD of the game. Many Tiger fans criticized LSU's OC Gary Crowton for not getting Shepard involved enough last year. Appears he heard them.
FIELD GOAL - Q2; 8:24 UNC And the band plays on... 10-7 Heels. Given everything that UNC's offense gave the Tigers in the first quarter, that's amazing. Punting game has been critical for UNC, but not how you think - roughing the kicker kept their first TD drive going, and that last series might have been LSU's on the five.
Q2; 9:15 UNC Oh no - and that's why you don't trust a FBs hands. Ramsey drops a wide open TD pass - would have been two for him. Third and goal. Tried for Ramsey again, but the Tigers had that picked up.
Q2; 9:15 UNC On first down Yates steps up and hits Boyd across the middle for a 75 yard strike! First and goal for the Heels. Yates looking much calmer.
A tweet here it starts... @AphiAce: If unc had there full squad lsu would not have a chance. The tar heels is built like an sec team
Q2; 10:44 UNC Cooler heads prevail, but that still doesn't excuse the Heel for getting involved in that play - nearly was a back breaker handing the ball to LSU inside the UNC 5 yard line.
Q2; 10:44 LSU Tried to pound it inside, and nothing doing - punt's away - down to the UNC... Oh my! A Tarheel sticks his nose in, touches the ball, and it's a fumble to LSU. Highlights show the ball was over the plane of the goal line, so this should be a touch back.
Q2; 12:21 LSU LSU pounds it up the middle for a first down. Watch the Tigers really start to work on the inside of the UNC D-line.
Q2; 13:43 LSU LSU's talented CB Patrick Peterson runs it back to the 42. Kicker saved a TD. Better enjoy Peterson this year, Tiger fans - he's playing on Sundays this time next year.
TOUCHDOWN - Q2; 13:49 UNC LSU blitzes up the middle, Yates picks it up nicely with an easy pass, and UNC's FB Devon Ramsay evens things up at 7.
Q2; 14:12 UNC LSU's LB Barrow gets a personal foul hitting the QB out of bounds. Big break for UNC. Not to sure about that call - looked like Yates was fighting for the first and Barrow's helmet hit his shoulder.
Q2; 15:00 UNC First down on LSU's 28 yard line. Let's see if the Heels can maintain the momentum they had at the end of Q1.
A tweet@illwill478 If LSU wanna win they gotta be prepared to play the whole game, better not think UNC will mail it in
Q1; 0:00 UNC UNC's finally getting it together - mixing up the rush/pass nicely for another first down. Short, quick passes at that, keeping LSU off of Yates. Not allowing LSU's quick defense to get set.
Q1; 2:17 UNC Another first down on a sharply thrown third down pass. In the slant - picking on the LSU safeties now. On the LSU 36.
Q1; 3:44 UNC LSU roughing the punter - 15 yards and a first down. And a first break for UNC.
Q1; 3:54 UNC 3-and-14, LSU blitzes and Yates has to throw it away. LSU really relying on their solid secondary.
Q1; 5:46 UNC Just when UNC gets its first first down, they get a chop block penalty. Herbstreit points out the best way to stop an aggressive D is to have a lot of pre-snap movement. Not chop blocks, though. 1-and-25 on on their own 19.
Q1; 6:40 LSU third and 8 and UNC's LB Carter separates Shepard from the ball on a third down pass. That's an example of the UNC defense that LSU might have seen.
Q1; 7:30 UNC SACK on third down. That's it - I'm close to calling this if UNC's offense doesn't wake up.
Q1; 8:57 UNC ANOTHER fumble in the Center/QB exchange! Oh my!!! Herbstreit points out that LSU's DT Drake Nevis is getting the better of his match-up right now.
Q1; 8:57 UNC UNC calls a timeout coming out of the commercial break. AJ Yates is a senior - better get it together, brother.
A tweet @1360wchl Despite a depleted defense, it's the Carolina offense that's costing UNC the game right now.
TOUCHDOWN - Q1; 8:57 LSU LSU's QB Jordan Jefferson stands in the pocket under a rush, connects with the dynamic Russell Shepard across the middle for six. Two TOs for UNC nets LSU seven.
Q1; 10:00 LSU Tested and met on that first down. Ridley tackled by six heels.
Q1; 11:30 LSU Driving into the red zone with their first first down, LSU lining up the power - testing that NC D-line.
Q1; 12:51 UNC OMG! Another turnover for the Tarheels. QB/Center exchange snap, and the Tigers are in Tarheel territory again.
Chick-fil-A spice chicken commercial - gotta get one after that ad. Cows do a good job advertising.
Q1; 14:36 LSU Big break for Carolina - LSU's K Josh Jasper hits the upright from 42, and NC skirts it.
Q1; 14:30 LSU LSU's Will Blackwell guard goes down on their first play - the Tigers don't have much depth at O-line.
Q1; 14:45 UNC FUMBLE! Oh no - terrible start for UNC. Johnny White coughs it up on the second play, and gives LSU great field position .
Q1; 15:00 (I think if they hurry, ABC might be able to squeeze in another commercial here before kickoff) LSU wins and defers. Kickoff!
Setup By now, everyone’s familiar with the main story line around tonight’s contest: 13 players out; seven defensive starters. Word late yesterday out of NC has senior linebackers Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant cleared to play. However, senior safety Deunta Williams joins the list of those barred from competing by the NCAA.
Team News: UNC Are you kidding me? No truth to the rumor that UNC brass have asked its travel company for a discount, given how few players actually boarded the bus for the drive down to Hotlanta for tonight’s game.
Team News: LSU Multi-faceted TE DeAngleo Peterson will not be playing in tonight’s game due to a foot injury suffered earlier this week.
A tweet @gamecocksblog RT @ESPN_ACC UNC depth chart released here in the Georgia Dome ... in a word, yikes.
A tweet @starnewsacc Six UNC players just came onto the field to warm up. For a moment, I thought it was the the entire roster. There are more, right?
Side note I will not be capitalizing ole miss for the rest of the 2010 season in anything I write.
A tweet @JimKleinpeter Jai Eugene getting the start at safety vs. UNC.
Not really sure about that ESPN Jenga/Hungry Hippos commercial...
Lou Holtz 30 min before the game: "I think UNC will play with a lot of emotion, but not that much execution." Lou then went out on ledge to predict that the sun will rise in the East. Set in the West.
Consensus spread T-minus 15 min into the game appears to be LSU -7.5
Several folks reporting that the crowd is pretty thin in the Georgia Dome. Shocker. ;)
Musburger & Herbstreit are on. Herbie "LSU struggled to find an identity in 2009; they feel they'll be explosive (in 2010)." Musburger "Suspensions means someone gets an opportunity." Who's it going to be for UNC???
Erin Andrews reports that UNC mood on the field is actually very upbeat. UNC's Butch Davis told her, "It's not like this is life or death".