Tag Archives: Kentucky Wildcats

Tigers blowout Wildcats

By Chucky Colin 

The LSU Tigers extended both their overall and SEC winning streak to two games Saturday night as they defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 41-3.

It was the Wildcats worst loss of the season.

LSU jumped out to an early 17-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. It was the Tigers’ most points scored in the first quarter of an SEC game since scoring 21 in the opening quarter against Ole Miss in 2011.

The Tigers were led by senior running back Terrence Magee, who rushed for a team-high 127 yards and two touchdowns. He also made a big contribution on special teams as he returned the opening kick off 49 yards and drew a facemask penalty against Kentucky on the play.

“Every time I get the ball I want to go score,” Magee said. “Obviously that doesn’t happen but that has to be your mindset.”

The Tigers utilized a balanced attack as the offense, defense, and special teams all made big plays to get an early lead.

“I think it’s the best overall game of the year we have had thus far start to finish and how wonderful it was to be in Tiger Stadium,” Head Coach Les Miles said.

While the offense scored on its first two possessions the defense forced two straight three-and-outs, one of which led to a 67-yard punt return touchdown by sophomore defensive back Tre’Davious White.

White also had a punt return of 48 yards and finished the night with 114 total punt return yards.

The touchdown by White marked the first special teams touchdown of the year for the Tigers. It also meant that LSU has scored at least one special teams touchdown in all 10 seasons during Miles’ tenure as head coach.

The Tigers decided to run early and often as the team finished with 303 rushing yards. In addition to a good night from Magee, fellow running backs also chipped as Leonard Fournette scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown and Darrel Williams added 61 yards on 10 carries.

The Tigers also converted more than half of their third-down attempts.

While LSU found success running the ball the Wildcats struggled as they managed only 71 rushing yards on 27 carries.

LSU’s defense stifled the Wildcats all game as the Tigers’ defense forced five three-and-outs as well as two turnover on downs. They also finished the game with two sacks.

The Tigers’ defense was led by linebacker Kendell Beckwith and true freshman safety Jamal Adams. Adams finished with eight tackles and a sack while Beckwith finished with nine tackles despite being knocked out off the game early due to injury.

“I can make bigger plays, not just plays that they need, I can make outstanding plays,” Adams said. “Everyday we are just getting better.”

The LSU defense held Kentucky to 217 total yards on offense.

Wildcat’s sophomore quarterback, Patrick Towles completed 19 of 36 passes for 146 yards with his longest being a 33-yard completion to wide receiver Demarco Robinson.

Kentucky managed just 3.4 yards per play.

“We will not let one game define us,” Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said.

The Tigers nearly doubled the Wildcats in total yards despite having only 120 passing yards.

Starting quarterback, Anthony Jennings completed just 7 of 14 pass attempts with his highlight being a 32-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural. He also managed to rush for 53 yards.

Backup quarterback, Brandon Harris saw his limited playing time late in the fourth quarter, but by that time the game had already been decided.

Harris entered for the remainder following a 31-yard run by Anthony Jennings. Harris’ only pass attempt was intercepted in the end zone.

Although this may have appeared to be an inefficient game for the Tiger quarterbacks, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron believes that progress was made.

“Two guys are growing day by day, snap by snap and just maturing and understanding what we’re trying to get done here,” Cameron said. “As long as they’re learning and growing and taking care of the football, both of these guys will be fine.”

LSU will look to increase its winning streak to three games and upset a division foe on Oct. 25 as the Tigers face the No. 3-ranked Ole Miss Rebels.

The Wildcats will face another tough SEC challenge for their next game as they face the No. 1-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Running back, Terrence Magee carries the football(Courtesy of Lsusports.net)

Running back, Terrence Magee carries the football
(Courtesy of Lsusports.net)

A good (twelfth) man is hard to find

By Lindsay Rabalais

 

“The difference between LSU and Ohio State fans is that Ohio State stays for the entire game.”

I was recently discussing college football with a colleague from the Buckeye State when he made this bold – yet astute – observation.

It doesn’t matter whether the Tigers are up or down, whether they’re blowing out the opponent or up against the wall, whether they’re playing a powerhouse conference opponent or a “rent-a-win” team.

The fans will not stay in the stadium. And there is no common denominator to explain what the issue is.

The beginning of the third quarter has signaled a mass exodus throughout this season. LSU’s famed student section is always virtually deserted by the time Tiger Band plays the “Alma Mater” at the end of every game.

At the beginning of the third quarter on Saturday night, the LSU fans are going ...

At the beginning of the third quarter on Saturday night, the LSU fans are going …

Death Valley is consistently ranked as one of the best stadium atmospheres in college football. Paul “Bear” Bryant, legendary coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, once remarked that playing in Tiger Stadium is “like being inside a drum.”

In February 2014, ESPN.com crowned the LSU student section as one of its top five SEC student sections.

“The roar from the students after those three most intimidating notes … in college sports play from the Golden Band from Tigerland will send shivers down your spine,” wrote ESPN.com’s Edward Aschoff. “LSU students … create the SEC’s most electric environment when the lights come on and the sun goes down.”

LSU’s students are not only some of the country’s loudest, but frequently also the most colorful. The student section is notorious for concocting cheers with – to put it delicately – rather adult language.

So why is it that a fan base known across the country for being raucous and rowdy can’t stay for the entire football game?

photo 2 (1)

… going …

Could it be that folks become bored when LSU is clearly blowing its opponent out of the water?

Consider the Mississippi State game on Sept. 20. The game wound up as anything but a blowout, at least from LSU’s vantage point. The Bulldogs routed the Tigers for the overwhelming majority of the game, yes. Still, the Tigers could have conceivably won the game, thanks to a late rally in the fourth quarter.

Despite the thrilling drama unfolding on the field, the stands were largely empty.

LSU is famous (slash infamous) for its gripping fourth quarters. Fans who leave early risk missing historic plays, like the touchdown LSU scored after time ran out to defeat Tennessee in 2010 (in case you left that game early, the Volunteers were flagged for having an extra player on the field).

Maybe the problem is that this is a “rebuilding year,” and it’s tough to get fired up about a team that isn’t doing well.

First, let’s get something straight: LSU is having, by most schools’ standards, a fine season. Plenty of teams – and fan bases – would be thrilled to only have two losses at this point in the season, both to highly ranked SEC opponents.

Moreover, I give you the Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe, New Mexico State and Kentucky games. The Tigers pulverized all their non-conference opponents at home, defeating Sam Houston State 56-0, Louisiana-Monroe 31-0 and New Mexico State 63-7. Finally, they dominated Kentucky on Saturday night 41-3.

If the problem is fans who don’t like to watch a losing team, there is no reason for them to disappear from the stadium when the Tigers are giving them exactly what they want – a shellacking of the opponent.

...gone before the end of the game.

…gone before the end of the game.

Finally, I submit to you that the LSU Tigers – for better or worse – help form Louisianans’ identity about themselves.

“There is no other state university more important to their state than LSU is to Louisiana,” political strategist and devout Tigers fan James Carville once said. I would wager that that statement includes the LSU football team.

Speaking as a lifelong Louisianan and LSU fan, when the Tigers are doing well, it just feels like order has been restored to the universe and everything is OK.

In Louisiana, LSU football is like the weather. Stuck in an elevator with that coworker whose name you can’t remember? Just bring up last week’s LSU game. Instant icebreaker.

Ours is a fan base that loves to talk about how steeped in tradition we are, how die-hard we are – we bleed purple and gold.

So let’s back up that talk.

I’m a realist. I get that sometimes your pregame activities catch up with you, and your headache is forcing you out of the stadium. I can certainly understand needing to get on the road to get back to Beaumont, Biloxi or Bunkie – especially if you have sleepy/cranky/antsy children to contend with.

But if it’s the third quarter and you have nowhere to be, consider staying put. Resist the peer pressure of those around you who are bolting from the stadium. Half of the stadium begins to file out during halftime, so you really aren’t beating traffic by leaving now.

Do it for yourself – by leaving early, you potentially cheat yourself out of some truly theatrical football from this “fourth-quarter team.” Stick around after the game and let Tiger Band’s a capella version of the “Alma Mater” give you goosebumps.

Do it for the team – the young men on the field truly feed off of the crowd’s energy. They showed up, and so should you.

Do it to show the nation what I know to be true: this is a passionate fan base that loves their team and loves football. And, yes, we are certainly that vocal fan base during pregame while we’re watching hype videos and singing along to “Calling Baton Rouge.”

But we are just as loud and just as present by the time the clock runs out at the end of the game – no matter the outcome.

SEC East Spring Preview

 Hope springs eternal with the arrival of spring practice for college football programs across the country. Players have opportunities to replace departed leaders and coaches get their first chance to look at the type of team they’ll be tasked with coaching for the 2013 season. Once again, the SEC figures to boast several impressive teams in 2013.

Let’s take a look at each of the teams in the Eastern division of arguably the toughest conference in all of college football. Each team will feature one key returning player from both the offensive side and defensive side of the ball, as well as an overall outlook for the 2013 season.

 

Florida

Key Offensive Returner: Jeff Driskel. While statistically unspectacular in 2012, Driskel still managed to record wins against Texas A&M on the road, against LSU and South Carolina in his first full season as the Gators’ starter. You can argue the Gators’ defense and power running game was primarily responsible for those wins, and maybe they were, but that was last year. This year, look for Driskel to play a larger roll in the Gator offense and try to erase the memories of a poor showing in the Sugar Bowl.

 

Key Defensive Returner: With Sharrif Floyd leaving the Gator D-Line for the NFL, look for Dominique Easley to emerge as the next athletic specimen out of Gainesville. Easley has 23 career starts and had five tackles in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville.

 

Outlook: The Gators are coming off a royally disappointing end to their 2012 season at the hands of Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals. Florida was humbled in the Sugar Bowl against the Big East underdog and saw the key departures of backup quarterback Jacoby Brisset due to transfer, leading rusher Michael Gillislee to graduation and Sharrif Floyd to the allure of the draft. The Gators head to Miami to face the Hurricanes in their second game of the season and travel to LSU, Missouri and South Carolina as well. Not the easiest of schedules and with an offense looking to gain traction in Jeff Driskel’s second year as a starter, the Gators may very well finish with a 9-3 regular season record.

 

Georgia

Key Offensive Returner: It seems like Aaron Murray has been at Georgia forever. The Georgia quarterback enters his final season with the Bulldogs having started the past three seasons for March Richt. Last year Murray threw for 36 touchdowns and came within a few frantic seconds of taking out Alabama in the SEC championship game. Murray’s arguably the best quarterback in the conference this year and as long as he’s running the show in Athens, the Bulldogs are a potent offensive team.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Rising sophomore Jordan Jenkins registered five sacks in his debut season with the Bulldogs last year. He’ll be counted on to produce even more this year with the loss of All-Everything linebacker Jarvis Jones departing for the NFL.

 

Outlook: The Bulldogs will be facing a slew of experienced quarterbacks this year, so replacing the pressure Jones consistently brought will go a long way to determining Georgia’s defensive success. The Bulldogs get Clemson in the “other” Death Valley to start the season, so right away they’ll find out what kind of team they have. Tajh Boyd is a serious offensive force, and the Tigers constantly overflow with offensive skill talent. Games against South Carolina, LSU and Florida all figure to pose considerable challenges for Murray and the Dawgs, but luckily for Georgia fans, Murray is as experienced as any SEC starting quarterback could be. In his final year, Murray takes the Dawgs to an 11-1 regular season (they’ll get caught at least once this year) and back to Atlanta.

 

Kentucky

Key Offensive Returner: Jalen Whitlow threw for 801 yards and ran for another 312 in his debut season for the Wildcats. The rising sophomore is listed as a quarterback/athlete on Kentucky’s roster and his athleticism and versatility is reminiscent of former UK standout Randall Cobb. It is unclear who will start for the Wildcats this year under center, but Whitlow’s skills should find him making a difference somewhere on the field.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Alvin Dupree is an impressive physical specimen at linebacker, standing at 6-foot-4, 249 pounds. Dupree tallied 91 total tackles and 6.5 sacks in 2012 and looks to be a featured part of UK’s 2013 defensive unit. Dupree is physically gifted and produces results and could become one of the more notable defensive players to come through Lexington in quite a while.

 

Outlook: Kentucky looks like it will continue to provide the flooring that the rest of the SEC teams walk on in 2013. To add insult to injury, in-state rival Louisville suddenly boasts a top-flight quarterback and a prolific offense. Want to rub it in? Kentucky has to play Alabama this year. They don’t know who they’ll play at quarterback yet and things could get interesting in Mark Stoops’ first season as head coach. The Wildcats have pulled surprise upsets before and should be counted on to mimic Stoops’ fiery personality, but they shouldn’t do any better than 4-8 in 2013.

 

Missouri

Key Offensive Returner:

It has to be James Franklin. The Tigers’ starter coming into the 2012 season, Franklin looked to lead an offense that could potentially make waves in their first season against SEC defenses. Unfortunately, Franklin battled health problems last year and at times during games looked like he was only playing at half-speed. He’ll have another crack at the job this year, but Corbin Berkstresser will give him a run for the job this spring and on into fall after starting a handful of games for the Tigers in Franklin’s absences last year.

 

Key Offensive Returner: OK, so this isn’t a defensive player, but let’s just say Missouri needs to fill the hole left by Sheldon Richardson on the defensive line, among other positions. Otherwise, the return of sophomore wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham overshadows what’s happening on the Missouri defense. One of the most talented players ever to sign with Missouri, Green-Beckham largely underperformed in his first year for the Tigers, registering only one start and catching 28 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns. Not bad for your average freshman, but DGB was supposed to be the next A.J. Green. He’ll have to play a larger part for Mizzou this year if the Tigers want to make any noise in the SEC.

 

Outlook: The Tigers got a lesson in “Grown Man Football” this year in the SEC. At times, Missouri looked overmatched physically. It’s always been known that SEC teams succeed by dominating the line of scrimmage and Missouri has to continue to adjust. The Tigers sport a new full-time starter at quarterback this year, and they should check in at about 6-6 this season, but mostly thanks to a soft non-conference schedule.

 

South Carolina

Key Offensive Returner: Anyone could list Connor Shaw or Dylan Thompson, the two talented quarterbacks in Columbia, as the keys to the Gamecocks’ upcoming season. But a greater question remains how does Carolina go about replacing Marcus Lattimore? Interestingly enough, it looks like the answer is, “With the sibling of a sworn enemy.” Mike Davis, brother of former Clemson workhorse James Davis, filled in admirably when Lattimore went down last year with a gruesome knee injury. This year, he’s looking to start in his sophomore season and give Steve Spurrier a counter to whoever’s slinging the ball for the Head Ball Coach.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Everybody’s favorite Julius Peppers comparison, Jadeveon Clowney. The man is an absolute freak of nature coming off the edge for the Gamecocks and at times seemed to channel his inner NBA player and take over games last year. The only challenges this year for Clowney? Stay healthy and embrace consistency. There were times last year where the man-child disappeared on the field. Better effort over a longer period of time for Clowney could result in a 2013 season that is rarely ever seen.

 

Outlook: South Carolina is coming off back-to-back 11 win seasons, returns arguably the nation’s best player in Jadeveon Clowney and has two experienced quarterbacks for Steve Spurrier to experiment with. The Gamecocks get Georgia early in the season to find out just how good they are, but what they may find is that they Lattimore more than they realize. Expect a 10-2 finish.

 

Tennessee

Key Offensive Returner: Replacing Tyler Bray won’t be an easy task, but the Volunteers return running back Marlin Lane, who ran for over 600 yards in 2012. It’s always nice for a new quarterback to have a reliable guy in the backfield to hand off to, and Lane provides just that.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Curt Maggitt is returning from an ACL injury suffered in 2012, but the linebacker figures to see a lot of time on the field for the Volunteers this fall. Maggitt defends the pass and run equally well and will be a valuable member of a defensive unit tasked with stopping the likes of Aaron Murray, Marcus Mariotta and AJ McCarron.

 

Outlook: The Vols face an uphill battle this year in their journey to return to prominence under first-year coach Butch Jones. They’ll face Oregon in Autzen Stadium this September and travel to play Florida and Alabama as well. After struggling to win with a solid quarterback in Bray last season, it doesn’t seem that the Vols will experience any greater improvement this year, and look to go 7-5. this season. But don’t be surprised if they ruin someone’s Saturday at least once this year.

 

Vanderbilt

Key Offensive Returner: Chris Boyd quietly put together a remarkable season in 2012. The 6-4 receiver posted over 700 yards receiving and scored five touchdowns. He will be looked to by whoever replaces Jordan Rodgers at quarterback for the Commodores this year. In the world of little known facts, Boyd is also an Eagle Scout.

 

Key Defensive Returner: Chase Garnham lead the Commodores with 12.5 tackles for loss this past year, and paced the team with seven sacks. The linebacker will look to anchor the defense once again for Vanderbilt and lead a surprising team into 2013. Garnham’s Twitter account is also very enjoyable.

 

Outlook: The Commodores always play better than their record indicates and last year, they finally started seeing success on the scoreboard. After a nine-win season that saw the team post wins against Auburn and Tennessee and snag a bowl victory over North Carolina State, the Commodores enter this season with a rare element: Expectations. Coach James Franklin is getting results in Nashville, but the loss of Jordan Rodgers at quarterback may hurt. The Commodores will go 7-5 this year and break a contender’s heart with their feisty play.
Feature Photo By Charles Atkeison