Here are some of the highlights from the Music City Bowl on Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee.
LSU still hasn’t resolved some of the issues it had at the end of the regular season. There was nothing in this game to suggest that Anthony Jennings is the quarterback of the future, one capable of leading the Tigers to a national championship. His inability to make basic throws makes the team one-dimensional. The fact that Brandon Harris didn’t play raises questions about his present that could be taken into his future as well. LSU must find a new quarterback for 2015. The defense still has trouble stopping quarterbacks in spead offenses (see below). The return games are solid, but LSU needs to solve its kicking problems. The Tigers are just not good enough to beat the truly good teams in college football. This is an average Notre Dame team in a tailspin that went toe to toe with an LSU team that has more talent.
LEONARD FOURNETTE FOR HEISMAN
With a Music City Bowl-record 100-yard kickoff return, an 89-yard touchdown run and everything in between, LSU freshman Leonard Fournette proved to the world he can be great next year. This game also showed that Fournette could be college football’s next great running back.
The possible departure of long-time defensive coordinator John Chavis is a big loss for LSU, but he didn’t have a good last impression. The reality is that Notre Dame quarterbacks Everett Golson and Malik Zaire won’t conjure up the ghosts of Tony Rice anytime soon, because they are mediocre at best (atlhough the Notre Dame hype machine will convince people in the next 24 hours these guys are the second coming of Russell Wilson.) In this game against musical-chair quarterbacks, the Tigers were left standing up and looking sad. The team suffered from a lot of the same problems it had earlier this season.
MAD HATTER FALLS SHORT
Give LSU coach Les Miles credit for the failed fake field goal before halftime. The play should have been ruled a touchdown, but it wasn’t. But the bigger picture is what the play symbolized. Coaches only take chances like that when they realize that can’t win using conventional methods. LSU should have been able to play conservative football and defeat Notre Dame without tricks.