Let's get this out of the way. That last call was absolute bullshit. 9/10...hell 99/100 times that gets called as an offsides penalty, but inexplicably this time it didn't. Kyle Allen has done a fantastic job all year long of varying his cadence in an effort to grab those extra 5 yards, and it's worked 99 times....but this was that 100th time. You know, figuratively.
And now we'll get some patronizing press release from the SEC home office about how the refs got it wrong...and somehow that's supposed to make us feel better. But it won't. I feel so unsatisfied right now. Maybe that's not even the right word. I don't know what the right word is. Actually I do know what the right word is.
Very rarely is a game won or lost on one play. There are dozens of other plays that forced us into a position where we needed a 2-minute drive to win the game. The fact that we were in position to win the game at the end is crazy enough given how the game felt at the end of the first half. Let's talk about everything else that came before the call that will be burned into my soul for all eternity.
In 18 minutes of possession, we ran 48 plays and gained 228 yards. Sure LSU's defense is good and John Chavis is some sort of demon sent specifically to beat A&M, but that's downright pathetic. Our horizontally based offense (bubble screens and runs to the edge) is inept against a good defense, and we never seem to consistently take advantage of our strength which is pushing the ball downfield.
Kyle Allen was 17/27. That's not too bad right? The kid can make throws. He had 2-3 where he was clearly behind the receiver, but once he settled in I thought he played well.
Receivers other than Speedy and Boone need to have a sitdown. Maybe Josh can be excluded from that. Too damn many drops. Too damn many poorly run routes that are just short of the sticks. Too damn many missed blocks.
Tempo. When you take away tempo from this offense, you neuter it. We need to go back to being uptempo. Right now we're just a generic spread offense.
Offense, which is supposed to be the strength of the team, didn't do enough this game. But then again we could have won it. This is hard to type. That damned missed call is weighing on me like a ton of bricks.
LSU didn't do anything particularly fancy. They didn't do anything they haven't really done all year (aside from the zone read). They didn't do anything they haven't done in the past three years. Sure they did it with man-beasts like Fournette running the ball, but nothing that they did was complex. And we still couldn't stop them. They rushed for 384 yards in this game. THEY RUSHED FOR 384 YARDS IN THIS GAME ALONE. To put that in perspective, Carson is our leading rusher and he has 431 yards on the season.
Not much to say about our defense that hasn't been said before. Well maybe there's this: I'd gladly give my left leg for Will Muschamp to be announced as our defensive coordinator.
I'm not discontent with Kevin Sumlin's tenure as head coach at A&M. Vegas had us at 7 wins this year. I predicted 8, and we can still get there with a bowl win. I do think that Sumlin has some coaching personnel decisions to make on both sides of the ball this offseason. We know that we'll make changes on the defensive side (and my goodness a lot is riding on that hire), but equally important are the lingering questions of whether Jake Spavital is in over his head as offensive coordinator. I know he's a wunderkind with a strong pedigree, but the play calling this year has been maddeningly off at times.
And the truth of the matter is that without a strong offense, what is our identity? Who are we? That's the key question that Kevin Sumlin needs to answer this offseason moving into 2015. We could point to youth and losing talent as a reason for poor performances this year, but those excuses kind of drop off the table next year.
What a bizarre, unsatisfying, disappointing and terrible game. What a terrible way for our seniors to go out. What an abysmal ending to an already crappy slate of home performances.
Man, that sucked.