Saturday night in Death Valley was supposed to be a walk in the park for No. 3 LSU.
Towson saw to that.
The visitors from the outskirts of Baltimore appeared to want the game more (as Sam Montgomery acknowledged after the game) and actually led briefly in the second quarter 9-7 before LSU scored the next 24 points to pull away for a very uninspired and unimpressive victory.
The two most explosive plays of the game came from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He caught five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Otherwise, LSU struggled mightily on offense. The Bayou Bengals fumbled five times, losing three of them. LSU failed on its first six third down attempts and couldn’t get out of its way early in the game on offense.
On defense, however, LSU was again stingy for the most part. A 43-yard run by Towson quarterback Grant Enders and a sustained two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter was all Towson had to write home about when they had the ball.
Penalties remain a problem for LSU with 10 for 69 yards.
Usually, we have to come up with a word to describe the lockerroom. Saturday, Miles gave it to us. He said it was a somber locker room. And it was. Miles was incredibly demonstrative regarding the need to get better as you can read from his postgame quotes below. What stood out to me the most was when he said he (personally) mustn’t have prepared well enough for the game. Nice to see a coach holding himself responsible and not throwing any players under the bus. The coach addressed the fumbles and said it’s the first thing he puts on his list every week. As for the pass protection that surrendered three sacks plus an intentional grounding penalty, Miles said he played young guys and they need to get experience. Josh Dworaczyk never played, and he said “We needed to get him some rest so we can get him ready for the push.” Miles indicated that he may keep Vadal Alexander at RT and Alex Hurst at LT moving forward. The big blow was the loss of FB J.C. Copeland in the fourth quarter. He was seen later on crutches with an ice pack on his knee. If he’s out for an extended period of time, the Tigers will be in trouble. All in all, it was the most disappointed post-win locker room I’ve seen in my 2+ years covering this team. They accept that they played down to their competition, and they seem motivated to use this game as a wake-up call. With Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M in the next three weeks, it better be. Stay tuned.
“I thought that we played down to our opponent. I thought that if we don’t turn the ball over, if we don’t put the ball on the ground, that this thing looks like it’s supposed to. It’s uncharacteristic late in the game that a defense like ours would be driven on so I must not well have prepared them. I can tell you that we’re looking forward to turning our attention to Florida. I can tell you that was a somber locker room. I just want you to know something. Our football program is based on the need for victory in the back end of every week. Certainly that’s something that we achieved today, may well have been the key piece to the day. But to say that we made improvement, I can’t say that. I’d have to say it was the same style of football that we played last week. Now that being said I think we’re a good football team. I think there are things that we need to get accomplished this week. I think our team will come to work more focused on Monday. As well they should.”
-LSU head coach Les Miles on his team’s play tonight
“There’s no way for me to put it any other way than that’s my responsibility. Our football team in my opinion has always come to play. And even in this game when it became a pain in the tail, they had to go play hard and they did. They finished this thing. Now frankly, we didn’t finish it the way we’d like.”
-LSU head coach Les Miles on motivating team better in the future
“There was sloppy play. We’ve got to show up tomorrow and do our volunteer hours tomorrow and Monday, and we’ve got to show up with the attitude to get better. We’ve been sloppy week in and week out. Right now we’re not playing LSU football, and I’m very disappoint in myself and the team right now.”
-LSU QB Zach Mettenberger on the team’s play tonight
“I feel like I gotta do more for them to get them in better situations. There were some calls that I could have made. They coulda been in better sides of the ball and stuff like that. To be honest with you, a lot of the mistakes they did make, it was on me.”
-LSU MLB Kevin Minter on how freshmen LBs Kwon Alexander, Deion Jones and Lamar Louis played tonight in Luke Muncie’s absence
“The one thing I noticed about the guy in front of me that is a good lesson for the future. I looked at the guy in front of me. I saw the heart, the passion in their eyes. I saw it. I felt their energy. It’s one of those things that made me think if we an get that. Get back to the basics. Time to go back to just playing with heart and emotion and not playing for nothin’ else.”
-LSU DE Sam Montgomery on Towson wanting the game more than they did