Dig Baton Rouge

Hogtied

By Andrew Alexander, DIG Sports Editor
@TheOtherAA

Down three touchdowns to Arkansas with less than four minutes in the first half, one thing became apparent about this LSU team: opponents have finally figured out how to stop the Tigers on offense.

“We faltered at the start of the game and really gained no rhythm,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “I thought Arkansas’ defense played hard there.”

Stopping sophomore superstar Leonard Fournette is easier said than done, but for the second straight week, LSU’s opponent held No. 7 to under 100 yards.

When Fournette is bottled up, it forces LSU to dust off its passing game, which is still a work in progress.

Before Fournette’s 31-yard debacle at Alabama two weeks ago, his lowest yardage total of the season was 150 yards against Western Kentucky on a rain-soaked field in Tiger Stadium.

The past two weeks, opponents have limited Fournette to 122 total rushing yards, holding him well below his near 200-yard average he amassed in the Tigers’ first seven games of the season.

“I don’t think we have a Plan B.”
– Leonard Fournette, on LSU’s offense

“Defenses come to stop the run,” Fournette said. “Nine or ten people in the box, they’re ready for the run.”

The root of the problems lies not with Fournette, but with offensive line blocking and the Tigers’ inability to cobble together a consistent passing game. For the second straight week, LSU’s offensive line played the role of junior varsity scrub to a SEC opponent.

Arkansas’ defense had tallied eight total sacks entering Saturday’s contest against LSU, and the Razorbacks recorded five sacks against the Tigers.

Arkansas racked up nearly forty percent of its season sack numbers in one game against LSU.

“Offensively, Brandon Harris at times was very bright and looked great,” Miles said. “At other times, he obviously made mistakes.”

To solely blame the offense for the Tigers’ second straight loss this season would be inaccurate. LSU has deficiencies in all three phases of its team.

A three touchdown deficit to Arkansas in the first half changed LSU’s offensive game plan. A special teams gaffe by LSU following a third quarter scoring drive led to more Arkansas points.

The Tigers calling card on offense, a power rushing game, was stymied by both the Alabama and Arkansas defense, gaining less than 60 yards in each contest. At times in the past two games, LSU’s offense has looked confused and frustrated, but Fournette insists that the Tigers’ offense has not panicked when the rushing game stagnates.

“I just feel like everybody’s playing us tougher now,” Fournette said.

When the LSU rushing attack fails to produce the massive yardage the Tigers grew accustomed to in their first seven games, Fournette admitted the LSU offense currently lacks consistent alternative threats.

“I don’t think we have a Plan B,” Fournette said.

Preparation for an opponent is only half the battle when facing any team. Where LSU has tripped up the past two weeks is in its inability to make in game adjustments when taking an opponent’s best punch.

The Tigers are still a marquee team in the SEC, and as such, will never be overlooked by any foe.

Follow Andrew on Twitter (@TheOtherAA), and be sure to check out The A Game with Andrew Alexander Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on WUBR 910AM CBS Sports Radio.

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