After a week-long layoff due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew, the Tigers are gearing up to face the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi.
Now first off before we begin, to answer your question: NO — I am still not over the “postponement” of the game versus Florida.
In a season already full of disappointments for LSU, the cancellation of a big time SEC matchup added insult to injury.
The Tigers were coming off their best performance of the season against SEC foe Missouri, and everybody was feeling better about LSU’s chances against a tough Gator defense in “The Swamp”.
Coach O was going to get the team on a roll just in time for the meat of the schedule, right?
Oct 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers interim head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates after a touchdown against the Missouri Tigers during the fourth quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
This team is still on the right path (as far as we know) and there are still some pretty big fish to fry in the SEC West.
Unfortunately, I think that LSU needed that big road game to become a little more battle tested heading in to games with the likes of Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M.
That said, the re-scheduling of this game is going to cause issues for somebody, and I have a feeling it will be LSU.
Missing a conference game puts LSU’s hopes of playing in the SEC Championship game in jeopardy. If the Tigers were to run the table (don’t laugh) and finish 6-1 in the conference, they would not advance over an opponent that finished 7-1.
Again, this is if the game is not played at all.
There are several dates in play for the game, but don’t hold your breath. I could rant and rave for the next hour about rescheduling the game, but I’ll leave that part up to Joe Alleva, Florida and the SEC.
For now, let’s take a quick look at the Tiger’s next opponent, Southern Miss.
Oct 1, 2016; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; Southern Miss Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Mullens (9) makes a throw in the second half against the Rice Owls at M.M. Roberts Stadium. Southern Miss won, 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
This matchup feels very similar to the game two weeks ago against Missouri. A high octane offense with the ability to score all over the place.
LSU’s defense had one of their best showings in the contest two weeks ago. Aranda’s unit dominated Missouri in almost every facet of the game, allowing only 77 yards rushing and 188 yards passing. LSU would have pitched a shut out if it weren’t for some trickery on a gadget play towards the end of the game.
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Southern Miss is the 7th ranked offense in FBS and is averaging a whopping 40 points per game. Senior QB Nick Mullens is averaging 312.3 yards per game passing with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions through 6 games.
Running back Ito Smith is averaging 118 yards on the ground and wide out Allenzae Staggers has 5 receiving touchdowns on the year. Dave Aranda’s crew will have their work cut out for them.
The Golden Eagle defense is ranked 16th nationally, allowing 159.5 yards per game rushing and 156.3 through the air.
LSU is averaging over 160 yards rushing per game, good for 20th in the country. The passing game still needs some improvement, and Etling and the offense need continue to progress. The Tigers have been one dimensional for far too long, and we know how that has worked out.
Oct 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Derrius Guice (5) runs for a touchdown as Missouri Tigers safety Thomas Wilson (8) attempts to a make a tackle during the first quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Darius Guice will assume the starting role as Leonard Fournette is out of the lineup once again, dealing with a nagging ankle injury. The good news is Guice is coming off a season high 163 yards rushing, 3 touchdown performance.
Regardless of how good the Southern Miss offense is, I think this LSU team is chomping at the bit to play football.
All of the players had to sit last Saturday and watch every other team in the country play (Miami included). It did not sit well with anybody; players, coaches or fans.
Expect Coach O to step on the gas early and often as the Tigers make a push for legitimacy. The heart of SEC competition looms large in the coming weeks.
Oct 1, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers interim head coach Ed Orgeron during the fourth quarter of a game against the Missouri Tigers at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Missouri 42-7. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Mike VI passed away yesterday and I know that weighs heavy on everybody in the organization, as he was beloved by all. Not that LSU needed extra motivation, but you know the players want to win for Mike!