Three Observations: LSU Proves it's Deserving of No. 1 Ranking in College Football Playoff
Between Joe Burrow jogging out to the 102,000 Tiger fans during senior night with "Burreaux" stitched to his jersey, the myriad of records that continued to come tumbling down and witnessing the first "60 minute" game from LSU all season, there was no shortage of headlines in Death Valley Saturday night.
Here are three observations to take away from the 50-7 win over Texas A&M.
Tigers deserving of No. 1 spot in College Football Playoff, question is does the committee agree?
LSU or Ohio State? That's been the question racking the brains of college experts and fans alike for weeks now as both have asserted themselves as worthy No. 1 seeds come playoff time.
The Tigers became the first team in the modern football era to have wins over five top-10 teams in the same regular season while the argument for Ohio State has been it looks like the more well-rounded team because of inconsistent play on defense from LSU.
After 12 regular season weeks that have seen both the Tigers and the Buckeyes undefeated, there are cases to be made for both. Ohio State is fresh off of dismantling No. 13 Michigan 56-27 in Ann Arbor while the Tiger defense certainly answered some questions by the committee in their 50-7 win over Texas A&M.
"I think the defense wanted to send a message to the country," quarterback Joe Burrow said. "They've been criticized really the last half of the season and that's what they were talking about all week, wanting to make a statement."
"That doesn't matter, we block out the noise," Orgeron said. "We want to be 12-0 and we've taken it one game at a time, we control our own destiny no matter what anybody says. They [the committee] can pick this apart, pick that apart but it doesn't matter because you still have to win the game."
After the result of the Ohio State-Michigan game, it's going to be hard for the committee to justify putting LSU No. 1 come Tuesday but a dominant showing against No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship could be enough to swing the needle.
Defense responds to criticism with stellar play against Aggie offense
Ever since the Tigers initially took that No. 1 spot in the rankings after beating Alabama 46-41, the LSU defense has taken knock after knock for inconsistent play. The defense followed Alabama up by allowing 37 points to Ole Miss the very next week.
The narrative started to change last weekend in the team's 56-20 win over Arkansas as the starters allowed six points in three quarters to the Razorbacks before turning it over to the reserves. However, this week's performance against Texas A&M flipped that narrative around completely as the defense turned in its most dominant performance to date.
Seven points and 169 total yards was all Jimbo Fisher, Kellen Mond and the Aggie offense could muster against LSU Saturday night.
There was safety Grant Delpit, who looked healthy for the first time in weeks, picking off his second pass of the season. There was outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, who was in the backfield all night long making plays, most notably six tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for a loss.
It was a complete team effort for a defense that was stuck in the mud and combined for six sacks, eight tackles for a loss, seven pass breakups and three interceptions.
"The defense and the defensive line, we took it personally," Chaisson said of the criticism. "There's too many high caliber players to be disrespected like that so we made sure it was a point of emphasis to impose our will that we were the better team. It's only going to get better from here."
LSU saves the best for last with first "60 minute game" performance
A big preaching point during this perfect 12-0 run for the Tigers this year has been playing up to the 'LSU standard of excellence.' That means playing 60 minutes of perfect football by the coaches and players’ standards.
While LSU has blown out its fair share of teams en route to a perfect regular season, the team never felt like it had played a complete 60 minute game during the season. That is until Saturday night of course when the No. 2 Tigers put a spanking on Texas A&M 50-7.
The stats alone were mind boggling as the Tigers outgained the Aggies 553 to 169 in total offense while scoring on its first five possessions. On the flip side, it took seven drives for A&M to find the endzone in the third quarter, something that would only happen once all night.
"We challenged our football team to play the LSU standard of performance," Orgeron said. "I felt this team could go undefeated if we played the way we knew we could. Because of all the help we have, all the support we have, it's been a tremendous year."
With LSU playing its best football as the postseason arrives, there really is no telling what this team can accomplish from a records perspective, but that ultimate goal of a national championship lies on the horizon.
"My goal growing up was to be the quarterback of a top-10 team in a national championship game and we have a chance to do that," Burrow said. "This is a dream come true for me."