AUBURN, Ala. (WAFB) - It’s back to the drawing board for the LSU Tigers, which are headed for their first losing season in more than 20 years if they don’t turn things around in a hurry.
In what has regularly been a season of corrections, head coach Ed Orgeron will be doing more than his share during the bye week that was created by the SEC during this special 10-game schedule due to COVID-19 after his Tigers fell 48-11 at Auburn.
While the turnovers of a young quarterback doomed the day against un-ranked Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 31, the ire of LSU fans had more to do with the lack of fight in the second half, when the defense was dominated again. Giving up more than 500 yards, while finding its young players pointing at each other and out of position with more of those familiar blown assignments is something seen since opening day when Mississippi State, a team that put up a goose egg Saturday night in Tuscaloosa against Alabama, scored 44 points in Tiger Stadium. In its defense - pardon the pun - Bo Pelini’s unit seemed to be up to the task in the first half but it obviously didn’t turn out that way.
“I thought we were playing with our cleats in the grass, Bo [Pelini] had a good plan, our guys were tackling, we’re keeping the ball in front of us, we were limiting explosive plays," said Orgeron. "Now, we had a couple of busts on the speed sweep, but overall, I thought our tackling was pretty good in the first half. We’ve got to look at the tape and see where we went wrong. We’ve got to continue to fix the things we can. We’ve got to be constructive. We’ve got to be positive and just identify what the problem is and come up with a solution. We’ve got to keep playing. There’s a lot of young players out there. Eric Gilbert played well. There are some young guys that are learning how to play. This is a new team. You’ve got to learn. You come through on the road in the SEC, you better be ready to play. That’s my responsibility. Today, we didn’t start off fast and Auburn was ready to play.”
“We talked about getting better each week; we’ve continued to do that, we put things together today," said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. "When I look at the game, we talk about playing Auburn football. We rushed for 206 yards and held them to 32 yards. With a freshman quarterback, we knew they were going to come in here running.”
“It’s just really exciting when you put something like that out on film or out on display," added Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. "When you play like that and after you know you’ve worked and worked and worked and it’s finally coming together, it’s just a rewarding feeling.”
Nix was 18-of-24 for 300 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball 11 times for 81 yards and another touchdown.
True freshman quarterback TJ Finley of Ponchatoula started for LSU. He was 13-of-24 for 143 yards and committed three turnovers before being taken out after the Tigers' first drive of the second half. His replacement, true freshman Max Johnson, was 15-of-24 for 172 yards and a touchdown.
After the open date, former LSU head coach Nick Saban and his No.2-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide are looming with the same time to rest and prepare. Revenge will most likely be on the minds of Alabama’s players after last year’s loss in Tuscaloosa when Joe Burrow and company put up 46 points, which is how many points LSU is giving up in its three losses.
LSU will host Alabama in Tiger Stadium on November 14. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. The game will be shown on CBS.
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