First two important stats: 452-243 and 142-9.
Those are the total yardages for the game and the 4th quarter in the Alabama-LSU game yesterday. Yes- LSU mustered just 9 total yards in the 4th quarter while Alabama had 142 and oustscored them 14-0 to set up a rematch of last year's SEC title game against the Gators. My final thoughts after watching the game yesterday were: 1) Alabama is a much much better, deeper, more prepared and more in shape team; and 2) Les Miles is a beyone horrible in-game coach and I can see why LSU fans are still so distraught about Saban's arrival to the capstone- because Saban dominated his former team. Les did not have a good game yesterday and had several bad decisions that really hurt the Tigers. For one, I strongly strongly disagreed with Miles’ decision to go for 2 after Stevan Ridley scored on an 8-yard touchdown run and the 15-10 lead. Listening to the audio of Miles, he initially said “1” then changed to “2, 2” after players and coaches in front of him turned to him saying “2”. If they kick the extra point, LSU has 16 points, Alabama then wouldn't have gone for 2 on their TD, it would have been 23-16 and LSU down just one score at the end. Miles has alway been a gambler (as all Auburn fans know) but this one cost him. There is no way, in any calculation or on any chart, that they should have gone for 2 here. But Les let the moment get the best of him (isn't it the coaches job to be the voice of reason when everyone is going crazy?? umm... yess but then again this is Les Miles we're talking about....) and made a horrific decision which really hurt his team. LSU also may have had a better chance to come back if they had any timeouts left late in the game but Les burned them all less than 5 minutes into the fourth quarter. Don't get me wrong, every now and then people get confused but having to burn 3 timeouts early in the 2nd half of the biggest game of the season shows general lack of preparation. I've always thought Les Miles is probably the poorest in game coach in the SEC, but has won on having superior talent, which Nick Saban laid the foundation for, in the past. Here's a great list of the 7 worst decisions Les has mad thus far in his stint in Baton Rouge.
How bad was LSU in the fourth quarter yesterday?? I'm pretty sure getting outscored 14-0 and outgained 142-9 pretty much sums it up. Here are LSUs 3 drives in the 4th quarter:
|3 plays||9 yards||Punt|
|3 plays||-8 yards||Punt|
|5 plays||8 yards||Interception|
How good was Mark Ingram yesterday in the 2nd half?? He gained 106 of his 144 yards after the half to continue to mount a strong campaign for Heisman Trophy consideration. I was a little confused by his lack of touches in the first half; but he certainly made up for it by being the best player on the field in the 2nd half. I thought Alabama's offensive line pushed LSU around the whole 2nd half and especially in the 4th quarter. At this point in the season, no player in the country has been better or more valuable to their team than Ingram; and, to me, it would be a tragedy if he continues his stellar play and is not given serious Heisman consideration....
As far as the 4th quarter replay call yesterday, I disagree with Anthony Statler, all the e-mails I have gotten and all of the LSU fans that this was another part of the SEC's conspiracy to get Alabama to Atlanta undefeated. As you guys know, I am always looking for a chance to jump on this bandwagon and critisize the refs (see past examples); however, I thought in this case the call was the correct one. HWM and I were watching the game on a 56 inch LCD with TEVO and after looking at the replay about 50 times during a commercial break- we still couldn't tell if he was in bounds or not. The fact of the matter is that it has to be concrete visual evidence to overturn a call- which there wasn't- and if the call on the field had been an interception it would have stayed that way. If the LSU fans are looking for someone to blame- blame CBS for not providing a goal-line based camera that would have looked straight down the sideline and provided an angle we could actually tell if he was in bounds or not. That, to me, is the real issue with this play. Every play is supposed to reviewable but there are plently of times where either technical difficulties or poor camera angles prevent overturns which is BS because each game should have the exact same set of rules. And this is not the first time this has happened nor the biggest stage as all USC fans know (the infamous 3 botched replay calls due to technical issues which cost them the national title vs. texas).. However, I also want to point out the previous play would have never happened had the refs not made one of the worst calls I have ever seen by calling "running into the kicker" instead of "roughing the kicker" on a blantant lack of discipline by LSU.... But really, instead of blaming the refs, blame the defense for allowing Julio Jones to practice for track season by giving him a free 73 yard lane down the field.... Also, Mark Ingram was pretty darn close to the McElroy's pass attempt that was ruled intentional grounding and resulted in a safety.
Speaking of Julio, It was great to see him make such a big play after being missed by McElroy in the 1st half for what would have been a wide open tochdown and make a crucial drop on the 8 yard line to set up the safety on the next play. I guess Saban almost drilling him with his headset woke him up....
One last thought, does LSU need a new conditioning coach? Never have I seen a college football game have to be stopped more because of cramps. The only thing I can think to compare it to is the flopping that occurs every time the Italian National team takes the pitch. I understand that football is a very viscious game and I am in no way disrespecting the need to tend to the people with real injuries; but after watching that game yesterday I think that players should be forced to stay on the sideline for a fixed period of time after they have a cramp (like 5 minutes of clock time or a set number of plays). I strongly disagree with pccoder that the LSU players were faking these cramps (which, by the way, I will once again blame Les Miles' poor coaching for burning all 3 timeouts so early which is fueling these kinds of rumors); but the bottom line is it's not fair to the fans or the teams to have the momentum of the game constantly broken by the same player to have to be stretched out (in the middle of the playing field) with the same cramp every other play...
But one thing for sure- the SEC championship is going to be a heavyweight fight between two great football teams and I can't wait!!! Check out our site if you are thinking about going!