LSU Football: Analyzing Tigers’ dominant victory over BYU

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 02: Darrel Williams
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 02: Darrel Williams /

The LSU Tigers pitched a shutout against the BYU Cougars and played a near immaculate game en route to a 27-0 victory.

The LSU football team put together this impressive performance without the likes of Preseason All-American DE/OLB Arden Key (shoulder) and 13 other players who didn’t travel with the team for undisclosed reasons.

The large list of no-shows featured a few defensive starters such as CB Kevin Toliver and LB Donnie Alexander and guys who would otherwise see the field as members of the two-deep.

LSU forced 17 freshman into action on Saturday night which is likely a school record. Let’s take a look at some significant stats from LSU’s victory.

Key Stats

BYU failed to reach midfield  

As fate would have it, LSU plays a game in the Superdome and the 50 yard line once again becomes the topic of conversion due to a team’s inability to reach it. Only this time, LSU’s defense can lay claim to the achievement.

If you don’t recall, the last time LSU played in the Superdome the Tigers’ offense sputtered against the Crimson Tide’s superb defense in the 2012 BCS National Championship, failing to reach midfield until the second half of a 21-0 defeat that cemented Alabama’s dominance over LSU.

On Saturday night, Dave Aranda and the LSU defense crafted a masterful performance. The Tigers’ suffocating defense limited BYU to 97 yards of total offense and successfully prevented BYU from crossing the 50 yard line for an entire 60 minutes.

Rushing Yards: LSU (296) — BYU (-5)

NEW ORLEANS, LA – SEPTEMBER 02: Russell Gage /

LSU figured that they could overpower the BYU defense with a steady dose of Derrius Guice and Darrell Williams, and they did exactly that. I’ll admit, when I previewed this game, I expected the BYU defense to provide more resistance to Guice and the LSU run game, but that simply wasn’t the case. Guice had his way with the BYU defense, constantly rumbling his way through Cougar defenders and methodically carving up chunks of hard-fought yardage with each and every carry. BYU had a much tougher time establishing their run game, and as the game grew further out of reach, the Cougars were eventually forced to abandon it.

Time of Possession: LSU (41:54) — BYU (18:06)

Perhaps, this is the most telling stat of the game. When I previewed this game last week, I talked about how important it was for LSU to control the time of possession and the pace of the game. The Tigers controlled the ball for nearly 42 minutes thanks to an effective run game, a 50 percent third down conversion rate, and turnover-free football. Another significant stat worth noting is the disparity in the number of plays run by each team. LSU ran 37 more plays than the Cougars. That’s nearly the amount of total plays run by BYU altogether — 38.



The Tigers ran the ball 76 percent of the time, which for most LSU fans, is nothing out of the ordinary. However, it was the many different ways in which LSU ran the jumped out to me. Through a variety of option plays, jet sweeps, and simple handoffs, eight different players recorded atleast one carry as the Tigers amassed nearly 300 rushing yards.

Matt Canada then used the success of the run game to open up the passing game and this is where Danny Etling enters the equation. After offseason shoulder surgery, many in LSU’s camp admitted that Etling was throwing the ball better than ever during fall camp and I might have to agree.

Etling wasn’t called upon to do a whole lot, but the senior quarterback made some really nice throws and put together one of the most efficient games of his career, going 14-for-17 and throwing for 171 yards.

Orgeron admitted that Matt Canada only revealed 10 percent of the playbook on Saturday night. LSU fans might have to wait until the Tigers reach SEC play to see the other 90 percent. Really, the only thing that you could fault the offense for was its lack of production in the red zone. Aside from that, Canada did not disappoint in his debut as LSU’s offensive coordinator.


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Dave Aranda and the LSU defense put together one of the most dominant performances that I have ever witnessed. Despite the absence of three veteran starters, LSU was forced to rely on the play of freshman such as Grant Delpit, K’Lavon Chaisson, Andraez Williams, Kary Vincent, and Tyler Taylor, just to name a few. The lack of experience, however, didn’t make much of a difference. LSU’s defense simply overpowered BYU’s offense with superior team speed and talent.

Aranda once again proved why he’s one of the best defensive coordinators in the nation. LSU’s shutout of BYU was the sixth shutout recorded by an Aranda-coached team since 2013. If LSU’s defense can play this well despite the absence of some of its key contributors and its reliance on a number of inexperienced, but talented new faces, you can’t help but wonder what this unit will look like when Preseason All-American pass rusher Arden Key returns to the lineup.