COLUMBIA, Mo. — If your power got knocked out by Hurricane Delta and you’re sitting in a hot, dark house somewhere, perhaps be thankful for one small favor:

You didn’t have to watch this debacle of an LSU loss Saturday at Missouri.

Of course, hot and dark are the thoughts that abound throughout an aggrieved Tiger Nation in the aftermath LSU’s 45-41 stunning defeat, a game that paired with the Tigers’ opening 44-34 loss to Mississippi State has quashed all the good vibrations of LSU’s national championship season just gone by. And any slim hopes that existed of a championship run repeat.

What LSU accomplished in going 15-0 last season could never be erased even if the Tigers went 0-10 this season. But they are sure are trying hard.

LSU is DBU? So far in 2020, P-U is more like it.

This was hardly the best offense LSU will face this season, but Missouri ran wild like a dog pent up during the storm suddenly let off the leash in the park. How wild? Try 8.6 yards PER PLAY. That LSU slogan “Fierce for the future” could be recycled into “Fear for the future” with the likes of Florida, Alabama and even Ole Miss on the schedule.

How many busted coverages did the Tigers have? I can’t count that high. I’m a journalist, man. Those who can’t do math, write. But it was awful, literally, historically awful. In its first three games LSU has surrendered a school record 96 combined points. And that’s with last week’s 41-7 win at Vanderbilt, now looking like the hole in an otherwise dismal donut of despair.

Yes, the game was shifted here in a mad midweek scramble because of the storm, depriving LSU of home-field advantage and the comforts that go along with playing in familiar surroundings. This was supposed to be a Saturday night game in Tiger Stadium, and even at 25% capacity that has to be worth something.

But LSU was facing a Missouri team that was soundly beaten in its first two games by Alabama and Tennessee, playing without three of its top six receivers and three of its top four defensive tackles. That on the face of it has to make the circumstances a push at the very least. And after Mississippi State held a track meet in Tiger Stadium to the tune of 623 yards passing in LSU’s opener, I’m not exactly convinced playing at home would have made that much of a difference.

They say defeat is an orphan, but this one has plenty of fathers from an LSU perspective. The offense scored enough points to win, but also went 0-for-flipping-10 on third down and netted only 49 yards rushing. LSU coaches and players said Missouri sold out to stop the run, but LSU couldn’t manage 1 yard on the ground or in the air with four cracks at it to try to pull out a game it frankly did not deserve to win.

Even special teams could absorb some of the blame. Cade York had an eminently makeable 45-yard field goal blocked before Mizzou’s winning touchdown. If he made it, LSU theoretically could have driven down for an extra-point length field goal to try to win instead of having to go for it down four.

Overall, though, 41 points on offense should be enough. Myles Brennan throwing for 430 yards and four touchdowns — 235 yards and three scores by Terrace Marshall — should be enough. The biggest culprit was a defense that has talented, high-round NFL-caliber draft picks like Derek Stingley, Ali Gaye, Jabril Cox and JaCoby Stevens but so far has added up to something far less than the sum of its parts.

“It’s embarrassing,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said with utter frankness. “It was all on the defense. We’ve got to get it fixed. We’ve got to stay together. I don’t blame the players. I’ve got to coach better. It’s just not LSU defense.”

It certainly is not a shell of the defense LSU played under defensive coordinator Bo Pelini his first time round at LSU from 2005-07.

The most popular hit on LSU social media after the game concerned Pelini. Gravely concerned Pelini. Some already were calling for him to be fired.

“I love Bo,” Orgeron said, while admitting LSU needs to look at its scheme, the new 4-3 scheme Pelini brought back to LSU. Whether Coach O is still infatuated with Coach Bo or not, calls for Pelini’s job three games in are not grounded in reality. You can’t win playing defense like this, but you also can’t win firing coaches after three games, nauseating as the games may be. Especially when you’re paying said coach $2.3 million per year for three years. The buyout alone in the current pandemic economic climate makes such talk a non-starter.

Now, if things continue on this track, could Pelini be demoted? It’s merely a what-if, but anything has to be on the table in such desperate times. LSU did lose a ton of personnel from last year’s defense and had precious little time to install the 4-3 before spring practice was shut down, but that defense should not be this bad.

How soon desperate times can follow sky high success. As the old saying goes, the trip from the penthouse to the outhouse is short indeed. As I pack up for a trip back to a Louisiana that I am certain is still under a cloud, I’m reminded of a quote from the late Peter Finney’s classic history of the first 100 years of LSU football, “The Fighting Tigers”:

“Utopia is over for everyone.”

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Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com