Losing to Mississippi State and Missouri in a three-game span would send any coaching staff scurrying back to the drawing board in search of answers.
That LSU has lost to the Bulldogs and Tigers on the heels of last year’s national championship leaves the Tigers’ season teetering on the brink even before encountering the meat of the conference-only schedule.
Missouri, which had six scoring drives of at least 75 yards, took a 45-41 lead with five minutes left in the fourth quarter and made a goal-line stand with seconds left to pull off the upset as roughly two-touchdown underdogs.
Less dangerous on offense and a disaster on defense, the 1-2 Tigers still face a murderer’s row of SEC competition: Florida next week, Auburn on Halloween, and Alabama and Texas A&M in November.
The season already seems lost. How much worse can it get?
LSU quarterback Myles Brennan heads off the field as Mssouri players celebrate in the final seconds of their game at Faurot Field. (Photo: L.G. Patterson, AP)
It probably can’t get any more catastrophic on defense. Then again …
In his first season back as the Tigers’ coordinator, former Nebraska and Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini has crafted a scheme that allowed Mississippi State to crank out 623 passing yards and Missouri to gain 586 yards of total offense. In his first career start, Missouri freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak completed 29 of 34 attempts for 406 yards and four touchdowns.
Up next, LSU takes on Kyle Trask and the Florida offense, which is averaging more than 450 yards and 40 points per game.
Tuesday marks nine months to the day of LSU beating Clemson to close out an unbeaten season. The offseason losses were severe, from quarterback Joe Burrow through both coordinators through a series of key contributors at receiver, the offensive line and on each level of the defense.
That doesn’t excuse how bad LSU has been through three games. The defending national champions are the biggest disappointment in the Bowl Subdivision — and it may get worse in the next two months.
Here are the rest of Saturday’s winners and losers:
First-year coach Eli Drinkwitz pulls down his first win and potentially alters the course of Missouri’s season, which before Saturday seemed destined to end near the bottom of the East division. Clearly, the Tigers have found a quarterback in Bazelak, who should be the starter from this point. There is an aspect of the win that speaks to LSU’s mediocrity, of course, but Missouri has several winnable games ahead and can finish the year with four or five wins; that would make Drinkwitz’s debut a success.
Coming one week after a humbling loss to Alabama, Texas A&M’s 41-38 win against Florida restores faith in third-year coach Jimbo Fisher and breathes life back into the Aggies’ season. The nature of the win might tell you something about this team: A&M was down 28-17