LSU comeback on Troy – the Tiger offense

OK, so the last bit I feel compelled to add about the “historic” LSU comeback against Troy is how the Tigers managed to come back from 28 down in the middle of the third quarter. The comeback was remarkable in how unremarkable LSU’s offense was in making it happen.

Yes, Jarrett Lee made some good throws. He also made some bad ones during the comeback. Pretty typical (minus another interception). And Jordan Jefferson delivered a touchdown scramble on fourth down for the Tigers’ first touchdown. But there was really nothing special about the drives – it’s really just what you would have expected the Tigers to do all game against Troy.

The comeback started with 6:24 left in the third. And down 28, LSU consumed 4:58 on their first touchdown drive. The lack of a sense of urgency was remarkable. Either the Tiger coaches felt confident that they had shut Troy down and would get plenty of possessions in the fourth and lots of time to score or they figured the game was lost.

After Jefferson’s run to bring the game to 31-10, Troy managed to run all of 1:08 on their next possession. Lee then engineered his one really good drive (4-for4 with long completions to Tolliver and LaFell) as the Tigers went 86 yards in 1:18. Without that drive, I think the game is done. But Lee came through. Remember, of course, this was Troy – but I give him credit for not folding at that point.

Troy’s next possession lasted all of 1:06 and LSU got the ball back on their own 40. Another four (safe) completions by Lee, a facemask penalty by Troy and a Charles Scott blast near the goalline brought things to 31 – 24 with 10:33 left.

And 58 seconds later, LSU has the ball on Troy’s 13 after Chad Jones’ interception. The Tigers ran off 1:41 before Colt David’s field goal brought things to 31 – 27 with 7:51 left.

On its next possession, Troy ate up a whopping 35 seconds before punting back to LSU. Despite starting from mid-field, Lee couldn’t move the Tigers, and LSU went three-and-out. Of course, Troy touched the punt, giving LSU the ball back at the Troy 21 with 6:26 left. Two screen passes and a good throw to Tolliver got LSU to the 4, and Scott punched it in. The Tigers went ahead with 4:50 left.

And it was all over after that. Troy squandered its chance to get into field goal range, and LSU scored again to finish things out at 40 – 31.

But a couple of things can’t be overlooked. First is that LSU simply ran its regular offense and scored on six of its final seven drives. That should be expected against Troy – it was only remarkable because LSU failed to execute its offense so badly for the first 39 minutes of the game. But, more significantly, Troy absolutely threw the game away with horrible clock management. Up by 17 with 16:26 remaining in the game, the Trojans held the ball an average of 56 seconds on their next four possessions and gained an average of 3.75 yards on each drive.

Notwithstanding the fact that Troy gave up an interception and a punt muff to help the Tigers out, the horrible time management spelled doom for Troy. Running the ball into the line three times on each of those four drives would have eaten up somewhere around nine minutes and likely would have gained more than 15 yards. Instead, Troy consumed less than four minutes and gave LSU a short field with the interception.

Those extra six minutes gave LSU the luxury of time they should not have had. Beyond that, it was play like you should have been playing – easy deal.

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