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LSU quarterback Max Johnson (14) runs the ball out of bounds in the first half against UCLA, Saturday, September 4, 2021, at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

1. WHAT WE LEARNED

So many of those question marks dogging the LSU Tigers through the preseason did find satisfactory answers against UCLA. The defense showed improvement, at times, but it also showed last year’s confusion and penchant for surrendering big plays, keyed by a 75-yard TD pass from Dorian Thompson-Robinson to tight end Greg Dulcich immediately after LSU scored first. Overall, the offense was one-dimensional, virtually all pass and no run, a toxic recipe for the Tigers' 38-27 defeat.

2. TRENDING NOW

Ed Orgeron admitted leading up to the season opener that his veteran offensive line was a work in progress. Maybe it was changing offensive line coaches in the summer when James Cregg was fired and Brad Davis was brought in, but the concerns about this group were well founded. The Tigers were unable to open up running lanes for an already challenged ground attack and quarterback Max Johnson was under pressure much of the game.

3. FINAL THOUGHTS

One game does not a season make, and LSU will almost certainly work out some kinks at home against McNeese State and Central Michigan. But how much difference will that make? UCLA is not a world beater. It is painfully apparent at this point that LSU isn’t either. The Tigers must get their act together by the time they go to Mississippi State on Sept. 25. If not, they will be in serious danger of repeating 2020.

Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com