UCLA over LSU: Reasons why pretty simple


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 04: Zach Charbonnet #24 of the UCLA Bruins runs the ball against Damone Clark #18 of the LSU Tigers in the second quarter at Rose Bowl on September 04, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — After reviewing the tape of LSU’s 38-27 whipping at the hands of UCLA, it is easy to see why the Tigers were not good enough Saturday night.

They got handled up front.

When a team rushes for 216 yards, and their best player, their quarterback only has to throw 16 passes, that’s a recipe for victory.

LSU’s longest rush by a running back was 8 yards by Ty-Davis Price. Their longest run was a 12-yard scramble by quarterback Max Johnson.

A strength of LSU’s team, its defensive front was shredded. UCLA was well prepared, attacking the edges of the LSU defense. Ends BJ Ojulari and Ali Gaye are dynamic pass rushers, but they did a poor job of standing up against the run.

The LSU offensive line did a poor job of picking up zone blitzes. And, what’s disturbing is, this is a veteran offensive line. On one blitz, UCLA got to the quarterback, as three Tigers blocked no one on the other side of the formation. The offensive line had a difficult time getting push. On one running play, LSU could not get push with five blocking three.

Quarterback Max Johnson was erratic. At times, he was very good, spinning out of the pocket and finding an open receiver downfield. But, on more than one occasion, Johnson left the pocket when the pocket was still intact, and he had time to throw.

Running back Ty-Davis Price has to show better vision. When the offensive line did have UCLA blocked, Davis missed the whole on at least two plays. Those plays would have resulted in solid gains.

And, there was the mis-communication on defense. Several times, on shallow crossing routes, LSU linebackers were confused. A third and 14 completion to a tight end give UCLA a first down, and led to a touchdown for a two score lead.

It was not a great night for the LSU coaching staff. UCLA’s zone blitz package was one LSU never solved. Offensive coordintor Jake Peetz and line coach Brad Davis have to take responsibility for that.

And, on defense, LSU could not come up the answers. UCLA was 7 of 13 on third down, and averaged more than 10 yards per play on third down.

Two first time coordinators have to be better, but so does the effort. The gauntlet of the SEC is still weeks away.

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