Leading into Saturday night's home opener, McNeese was supposed to be a team LSU would dominate from start to finish, on both sides of the ball. The defense held up its end of the bargain but the offense had a few glaring weaknesses continue to haunt it throughout the contest, leading to a 34-7 LSU win.
This was a game that was far less about the final score but rather could this team start to show important strides in the right direction on many of the issues that continued in week one.
The LSU offense still looked a little discombobulated as there was no real flow in the early portion of this one. LSU tried to do much of what didn't work on the ground as the offensive line couldn't open any running lanes inside.
One drive that really sticks out is the second one of the game as LSU was unable to convert on a 3rd-and-1 on a quarterback sneak. The offense elected to go for it on fourth down and the ball was fumbled, bringing out a few "boo birds" early in the contest.
LSU's offensive line was not able to get any kind of push on the inside down three starters in Austin Deculus, Cam Wire and Chasen Hines. Outside of a pair of 21-yard runs from freshman Armoni Goodwin and junior Tyrion Davis-Price, LSU didn't have a rush longer than three yards in the first half.
The offense went just 2-for-9 in the first half of play as the offensive line only seemed to lose confidence as the game wore on. Missed assignments will happen with a unit subbing in and out with three missing starters but not to the level LSU's o-line struggled on Saturday evening.
Max Johnson was once again hot and cold throughout the night, but then again there weren't a lot of opportunities with a clean pocket. On the evening, he'd complete 18-of-27 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns. Even with time to throw, Johnson was of on a few of his passes as it still looks like he's trying to get the timing of the college game down.
The offenses most impressive drive came in the third quarter on seven plays, where Johnson delivered three good throws and scrambled for a first down with his legs.
While the offense did continue to mightily struggle, the defense was a bright spot as the unit did exactly what it was supposed to do to the McNeese offense. The defensive line thoroughly dominated, constantly putting pressure on quarterback Cody Orgeron and stuffing the run in the process.
After allowing just 53 yards of offense in the first half, the Tigers would hold the Cowboys to 142 total yards, racking up eight sacks and 16 tackles for a loss, including three sacks from Maason Smith. By comparison, the LSU offense would finish with 306 yards of total offense.
The player of the game was undoubtedly kicker Cade York, who delivered not one but two record setting field goals in Tiger Stadium in the win. After drilling a 55-yarder in the first half, York would knock in a 56-yarder in the fourth quarter with plenty of room to spare.
Part of this game was also being able to see some of the young faces on this roster, including freshman Garrett Nussmeier. Nussmeier was raved about all camp as having the "it" factor and it was easy to see why in his limited action. The ball has real zip of his fingers and he's an aggressive risk taker, which can work for and against him.
He would lead LSU on a couple of scoring drives in the fourth, throwing for 19 yards. Freshman running back Corey Kiner would also get an extended look, rushing for 53 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.
The real story will continue to be the offensive line, which down three starters, wasn't able to gain much in the way of confidence heading into next week's outing against Central Michigan.