LSU was looking forward to bouncing back from the disappointment of a 5-5 finish last season.
But the Tigers’ first game of 2021 — a 38-27 upset loss at UCLA — looked a lot like games from 2020.
“We didn’t perform like we’re supposed to at LSU,” coach Ed Orgeron said. “One game does not define a season, but we do understand that was a letdown for our fans and I take responsibility for it. We’ve got to get better.”
LSU was ranked No. 16 in the preseason poll but plummeted out of the rankings Tuesday. The Tigers (0-1) will try to rebound against in-state opponent McNeese State on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La.
LSU had virtually no running game (49 yards), had trouble protecting quarterback Max Johnson and gave up a series of back-breaking big plays — all issues that were consistent with last season, after which Orgeron overhauled his coaching staff.
“Those things continue to haunt us and hurt us,” Orgeron said. “Have to get them fixed.”
The Tigers will see some familiar faces when the Cowboys (0-1) make the two-hour bus ride to Tiger Stadium.
Orgeron’s son Cody is McNeese’s starting quarterback and former LSU assistant Frank Wilson is the head coach of the Cowboys.
Cody Orgeron passed for a career-high 367 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 35 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 42-36 loss to visiting West Florida, the No. 1 team in Division II.
The Cowboys were hurt badly by self-inflicted wounds. Three times they committed penalties on apparent third-down stops and extended possessions that turned into touchdown drives. The Cowboys also missed three PATs and a 32-yard field goal.
“We had costly penalties at critical times and third-down situations where we could have gotten off the field,” Wilson said. “We did not and that cost us and hurt us. We did not play the way that we desire to play it. It’s unacceptable to miss three PATs and a field goal.
“Those types of things will put you in a bad position an entire season if you’re not able to capitalize and get better from that.”
–Field Level Media