First off, before anything else, LSU is 10-0 after being Western Kentucky 42-9 on Saturday night.
It’s just the third time ever that the Tigers have been 10-0, the first time since 1958. It is a remarkable and rare achievement in the history of LSU football.
That said, there was a lot that was alarming about No. 1-ranked LSU’s win Saturday night, in which the Tigers often didn’t look like a No. 1 team at all.
“I don’t think this was in any way an impassioned effort by our guys,” LSU coach Les Miles said, “but they did the things needed to do to ensure victory.”
Clearly, the Tigers were suffering from the lingering after effects of last Saturday’s 9-6 overtime win at Alabama.
LSU appeared to have little answer for the Hilltoppers’ attack - heavy on passes to the tight ends and running backs. WKU only ended up with 226 yards total offense and one touchdown ? though that’s one more than Alabama had. LSU lacked defensive intensity for much of the first half as WKU held the ball for a whopping 20:01.
After the Tigers started bringing heat late in the first half, WKU started making mistakes and was held in check in the second. But LSU should be concerned that the lightly regarded Hilltoppers may have given future opponents a blueprint for how to attack their speedy defense.
Offensively, LSU banged away with big passes from Jordan Jefferson - Jarrett Lee didn’t take a snap until 12 minutes remained - before finding the unheralded pick to WKU’s lock ? Alfred Blue. The Tigers’ third-string running back was virtually unstoppable for 119 yards and two TDs on just nine carries. Countering that, LSU had four fumbles (losing one), an uncharacteristically sloppy performance.
Jefferson got his first start since the Cotton Bowl, something Miles termed a one-game decision. He said more decisions on who will start at quarterback will be made as LSU goes forward, that he’s not “locked in stone in any way.”
Maybe not, but clearly Lee’s dismal two-interception showing at Bama and Miles’ infatuation with Jefferson’s abilities have left what looks more like a mess, not a strength. Lee’s confidence has to be diminished, and the thinking that Lee and/or Jefferson can be interchanged at will like light bulbs may leave LSU’s offense with a brownout at a critical moment in the massive games that lie between the Tigers and another BCS title.
Jefferson’s run/pass threat is a huge plus, but the threat of him holding onto the ball too long - which led to a safety on an intentional grounding call in the third quarter - is an alarm bell that says LSU still needs Lee in a big way.
Of course, when you’re way up at 10-0, ranked No. 1 and win by 33, issues like a quarterback dilemma and a rash of fumbles seem far below and far away.
How to keep them from rising up to hurt you is the issue as the Tigers to try finish another season for the ages.