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LSU coach Ed Orgeron says Tigers need to 'do some soul searching' and more | Guilbeau

Glenn Guilbeau
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

COLUMBIA, Mo. — As amazing as it sounds, LSU football ended things here in the exact same way it did against Florida on Nov. 19, 2016, in a game that was also moved because of a hurricane.

So, where's the progress?

At the 1-yard line Saturday, the Tigers went 0-for-4 in the final seconds and lost to 14-point underdog and previously winless Missouri, 45-41, at Faurot Field in a day game that was pushed from Tiger Stadium to Missouri because of Hurricane Delta's approach.

Four years ago, LSU missed on two shots from the 1 and lost to Florida, 16-10, at home in a game originally scheduled to be at Florida before Hurricane Matthew's approach. That loss came two weeks after LSU lost to Alabama 10-0, and it did not look at the time like Ed Orgeron was going to be promoted from interim head coach at 4-2.

Opinion

His offense looked as scatterbrained at the end Saturday as it did then. In between, he won a national championship last season, but that seems like much more than a year and many yards ago.

Now, it doesn't look like defensive coordinator Bo Pelini will make it to the end of the season because of his scatterbrained secondary, unless his unit gets much better very soon.

Orgeron won at Texas A&M after that Florida loss, got the permanent job, and won the national championship in 2019 at 15-0 with nary a problem around the goal line or anywhere else, other than a few defensive lapses here and there.

LSU head coach Ed Ogeron watches his team as his team fails to score a touchdown in the final seconds of their 45-41 loss to Missouri during second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Columbia, Mo.  (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Oh, for the days of former defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's intermittent breakdowns on defense. He looks like a defensive genius today.

And suddenly, Orgeron is 1-2 and has not even played close to the best teams on his schedule.

"We're LSU. We should be able to score from the 1-yard line," Orgeron said. "We've got to really look at what we're doing and do some soul searching."

Actually, you are not LSU of 2019 and have not been since losing 44-34 to 17-point underdog Mississippi State two weeks ago.

But yes, LSU should have scored from the 1, particularly considering the way it blitzed down the field to get there. Quarterback Myles Brennan, who played extremely well, drove the Tigers 74 yards in nine plays to the 1. He completed 6 of 7 passes for 67 yards to get to the 1 with 44 seconds to go.

Then 0.

1st-and-goal - Tailback Tyrion Davis-Price up the middle. No gain ... 33 seconds left.

2nd-and-goal - Davis-Price up the middle. No gain ... 19 seconds left.

3rd-and-goal - Brennan's pass to wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. is batted down at the line by outside linebacker Nick Bolton ... 20 seconds left.

4th-and-goal - Brennan rolls right and sees and open Marshall in the end zone. He throws on target, but free safety Joshuah Bledsoe batted it away ... 16 seconds left.

Missouri ran the clock out, and it was over.

"We didn't finish," said Brennan, who completed 29 of 48 other passes for 430 yards and four touchdowns and continues to improve. Meanwhile, the defense never started.

"I was confident my team would push it in," said Marshall, who was sensational throughout the day, catching 11 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns with a 75-yarder.

"We ought to be able to run the ball in from there," Orgeron said.

Why Pelini? Orgeron makes a curious hire

But he was not about to put this loss on the offense, which put up 479 yards while the defense allowed 586.

"All on the defense," Orgeron said.

Pelini's defense allowed 29-of-34 passing for 406 yards and four touchdowns to a redshirt freshman in Connor Bazelak making his first collegiate start. He completed five passes of 21 yards or more and three of 41 or more. There were also gashes on the ground of 29 yards twice, 16, and 10. 

Amazingly, the LSU defense was supposed to be the strong suit entering the season. Yes there were gobs of starters lost from the national championship team of 2019, but Pelini was going to take care of all that. No one really started talking about the personnel losses very much until LSU gave up 623 passing yards in the loss to Mississippi State.

Report Card: F for failing, U for unacceptable

So, that's no excuse. LSU always loses a lot of players. There are very talented, highly recruited players all over this defense, including in the secondary. But they have not been coached well at all, including simple basic things, by Pelini.

"Guys were wide open," Orgeron said. "It wasn't always the safeties. Sometimes, the cornerbacks ran a different defense."

They don't know their own plays.

Entering the season, the biggest question mark was Brennan. He is playing better than virtually anyone in the secondary. Even All-American cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., was giving up passes Saturday as well.

At times it looked like LSU's secondary had not practiced.

Oct 10, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers safety Martez Manuel (3) celebrates after defeating the LSU Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Micah Wilson was so open in the middle of the field on his 41-yard touchdown catch for a 31-31 tie in the third quarter that one of the kids on the Missouri student radio station KCOU said after the game that there was no one between him and Jefferson City, which is 31 miles.

Wilson caught two passes for 45 yards. He didn't have a catch entering the game and was listed as third team, but Missouri lost two starting receivers and a backup to COVID-19 before the game. That included leading receiver Damon Hazelton, who had nine catches for 100 yards in the Tigers' first two games.

And it could have been worse. LSU scored 17 points off three Missouri fumbles.

What is an offense like Alabama's going to do to LSU's secondary?

"It was embarrassing," Orgeron said. "We've got to get it fixed."

 And that may mean a battlefield promotion to replace Pelini.