LSU looked like the better team from the start, after the first play of the game which saw quarterback Danny Etling go deep and find Malachi Dupre for a 37-yard gain. Etling, would drive the Tigers inside the red zone, only to stall and have kicker Colby Delahoussaye miss the field goal wide right. That wasbasically the only thing that went wrong for the Tigers.Louisville did hold a 3-0 lead after the 1st quarter when kickerBlanton Creque knocked through a 24-yard field goal. After settling down, LSU mashed the gas and never let up.
Down 3-0, LSU would explode for 16 points in the second quarter. Their first points came after Etlingdrove the Tigers on a 52-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Colin Jeter. The next drive for the Tigers was much of the same, asEtling found running back Derrius Guice on a 1 yardtouchdown pass and catch. LSU would force 4 Louisville punts in a row. The defense was not done as they continued to pressure Jackson forcing a safety to close out the second quarter leading 16-6. The defensive line of LSU wreaked havoc all game long, leading Cardinal Head Coach Bobby Petrino to take notice “Yeah. They're very good on defense and we knew that coming in. We did make some assignment errors where we turned a couple guys completely loose a few times and then there were a few times that they beat us just on the pass rush and then there were a couple other times where we needed to get the ball out of our hand and get open quicker, so it all plays together. Anytime you're getting sacked, it's all 11 guys on the field and all us coaches, they've got to make sure that we don't get sacked.”
The defensive play of the Tigers was no surprise, but the offensive performance turned in by Tigers was not to be expected. Credit Danny Etling who picked the perfect time to play one of his best games. Behind a strong offensive line that only surrendered 1 sack ,Etling had time to sit back and pick Louisville’s defense apart. He would finish the game passing for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. 139 of those yards came from the uber talented Malachi Dupre who had his way with the Cardinals defensive backs. The LSU receivers presented mismatches all game for the Louisville defense and flexed its musle a little and Head Coach Ed Orgeron took full advantage “We thought that we were better than they were with our wide receivers versus their DB’s. We liked the matchup that we had. We knew they were going to be very physical up front, and they were good up front, but we took advantage of some mismatches in the secondary.”
There was enough flexing to go around as game MVP Derrius Guice got in on the act running all over the Cardinal defense for 139 yards and 1 touchdown. His lone rushing touchdown came in the third quarter when he broke through the Cardinal defensive line and raced 70-yards for the score down the sideline, putting the Tigers up 23-6. Even after turning in a great game and being named MVP, Guice credits the guys around him for his performance “Well, the coaches did a great job preparing us for this game. The whole team, we were disappointed with our season in that we didn't make the playoffs, but we had to look who we were facing in the bowl game, and that really made us fired up, because we were going against the Heisman trophy winner. So as you can see today, the defense played a heck of a game and, you know, shut them down. With me, Coach O and the offense and Coach [Jabbar] Juluke did a great job of getting all of us ready. The O-line did a great job, the fullback. Danny [Etling] did a great job with the pass game to open up the running lanes, and everything just executed the way we planned. We came out victorious.”
The Cardinal could not catch a breaks, as its offensive line was dominated up front all game. The number 1 scoring in the land ran into a buzz saw from Baton Rouge, and looked like a completely different team. The Cardinals failed to convert a 3rddown until half way through the 4th quarter. A once potent offense that ranked 2nd in the nation was held to only 220 total yards well below its 537 yards per game average. Lamar Jackson finished 10 of 27 passing for 153 yards and no touchdown. The defense had a great game plan for Jackson and executed it to perfection. After adding two more Delahoussayefield goals late in the fourth the Tigers would close out the game 29-9.
Officially getting his 1st win as Head Coach, Ed Orgeron and his Tigers go into the offseason riding high with a lot of momentum. LSU will definitely be a team to watch going into next year.