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LSU Observations at Texas A&M Part 2: Tigers Need to Find Offensive Identity in Order to Find Success

LSU ground game, offensive line remain weaknesses after inconsistent performance against Aggies

It was a long evening all-around for the Tiger offense against the Aggies. LSU needs to get better up front if it wants to avoid winning only three games all season long and with the news of Terrace Marshall's opt out, the challenge of finding consistency only grows harder.

LSU Rushing Offense

Abysmal and dreadful, those are the words that describe LSU’s running game. It was a truly eye-opening evening, and the stats help to tell the tale.

36 - That’s the total rushing yardage for the Tigers. Even when taking out the two sacks given up, the Tigers would be no place near 100 yards rushing. That’s just unacceptable.

15 - That’s the total number of carries for LSU running backs Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery. Yes, the LSU passing game was bad. That’s still no reason for the running backs to have so few running lanes and the running backs to break so few tackles or make so few defenders miss. LSU was whooped in the run game from start to finish.

10 - LSU’s longest rushing gain was a mere 10-yard run by Finley. Davis-Price and Emery had long carries of six and four. That’s absolutely bottom of the barrel, and much of the blame stems from the offensive line not being a cohesive unit. Yes, COVID-19 and injuries hurt the Tigers up front all season long, but much of the poor running game is to be placed at the feet of the offensive line.

5 - LSU simply needs five offensive linemen that play as one. It’s the most difficult task of any coaching staff in college, but it’s arguably the biggest question mark as LSU’s season comes to an end in a few weeks and the Tigers look towards the 2021 season. Can LSU find a group of players that consistently play well together? That’s the priority for LSU coach Ed Orgeron and his staff.

LSU Passing Game

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134 - How about Marshall? His 10 catch, 134 yard performance was fantastic. A true competitor, this receiver is the definition of the heart of LSU. Not just football, LSU in general. He has pride and determination. Hats off to this future NFL wide receiver. Great performance.

25 - Only 25 receiving yards for Arik Gilbert. That’s disappointing. Give credit to Texas A&M, as the Aggies did a nice job of slowing down the talented tight end. Still, need to get the ball to the most athletic tight end in LSU history more often than three reception for 25 yards.

2 - That’s how many sacks LSU allowed. Considering it was a really good Aggies defense, that’s quite frankly not all that bad. That’s not the whole story. Beyond the statistics, that’s where the real truth tells the story. It’s a play that makes any fan cringe. When Finley was hit he panicked. He threw the football anyway. The football went to the wrong team, and that’s how pick-six touchdowns happen. There’s the Aggies second touchdown of the evening. Too many times the Aggies penetrated into the backfield and made the LSU quarterbacks uncomfortable.

1 - Timing. This is not a true statistic from the game. It’s just one figurative element of the game of football. Timing is nothing more or nothing less. LSU did not have it against the Aggies. Passes that were off an/or receivers that did not run precise routes, those types of timing issues plagued LSU all evening long. Consider that LSU threw for a mere 97 yards when taking away the yards by Marshall, Jr. He was obviously in sync with the LSU signal callers. Everyone else, not so much.

0 - Kayshon Boutte’s near touchdown ruled as an incompletion was one of the game’s biggest plays, if not the biggest. What’s marked as zero yards could have been a huge play. What happens if that play is confirmed as a touchdown?

It was a beautiful pass by Finley and the catch was tremendous as well. These types of all-around efforts are why LSU has a chance to make a huge turnaround in 2021. There’s still an abundance of young talent on this LSU football team, as Finley and Boutte are freshmen, as an example.

Final Thoughts

LSU is simply an inconsistent football team. A handful of successful plays will be followed by a really bad play, negating an offensive drive or allowing points to an opponent like the Aggies. That’s how a team loses close games, and it’s been happening all season long. Simply put, LSU has not adjusted well when playing good competition like the Aggies.

During the Tigers final three games against Alabama, Florida and Ole Miss, LSU needs to build upon its pass defense, and the offensive line needs to play like it can. Which players step up? The players that do step up will be the players LSU looks to during the off season as LSU conditioning and spring practice will be pivotal to building a much better 2021 football team.