Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: LSU 29, Louisville 9, 5 Things That Matter, What’s Next For 2017?
LSU dominated the Heisman-winner and Louisville 29-9 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. What are the five thing that matter, and what’s next for 2017?
The Heisman winner was stuffed
Yet another reason why the Heisman Trophy should be awarded after the bowl season, LSU stopped Lamar Jackson, holding him to 33 rushing yards on 26 carries, and just 153 passing yards on a 10-of-27 day. He hit on one big pass play, and that was it. Granted, his O line didn’t give him any help, but he wasn’t able to do the magical things that he’s normally able to do. That’s what happens when you give a defensive coordinator like Dave Aranda a month to prepare, and it helps that …
Ed Orgeron came up with the coaching performance he needed to have
It would’ve been a long seven months if Orgeron lost this game. There wouldn’t have been too much in the way of second-guessing, but the pressure would be on. Now, with a dominant win over a great ACC team, and with the way the Tigers responded to their new head man, it’s going to be a much easier offseason with the focus now being on all the next steps – and not whether or not Orgeron is able to do this. Granted, it’s just a bowl game, but this one mattered.
Leonard Fournette wasn’t missed
Bottled up for most of the game, Derrius Guice put the game away with a 70-yard dash, finishing with 138 yards and a score on 26 carries. Meanwhile, QB Danny Etling had a solid, efficient game, and Malachi Dupre was terrific with seven catches for 139 yards. The defense did the rest on the Louisville offense – holding it to just 220 yards total – so all the O had to do was not royally screw it up. There was a turnover, but the O converted on 7-of-17 third down chances – Louisville just 2-of-17 – and there was just one turnover. It was a nearly flawless performance, even without the team’s best player.
What’s next for LSU in 2017?
The Ed Orgeron era kicks off with a good-looking team that has to replace several NFL starters, but should still be okay. Derrius Guice is the star back to work around with Leonard Fournette gone, but will the line be in place to blast away? Ethan Pocic and Josh Boutte are done from the interior, but Orgeron knows how to coach up lines – it’ll be okay. Danny Etling is back for another year under center, but he’ll be in for a fight in spring ball for the job. The biggest concern should be the receiving corps that loses Travin Dural and – maybe – Malachi Dupre.
The defense gets a boost with the return of Christian LaCouture for the line after missing the season. As is this should be a terrific defensive front three rotation, but losing Lewis Neal will hurt a bit. The linebacking corps loses Duke Riley, but Arden Key will once again be among the nation’s top pass rushers on the outside. Will Donnie Alexander turn pro early? Either way the linebackers should be okay, but the secondary loses a pair of NFL starters in CB Tre’Davious White and – if he leaves early – S Jamal Adams.
What’s next for Louisville in 2017?
It all starts with getting back the Heisman winner, and everything else should work just fine offensively around him. Lamar Jackson needs better play from his O line, though. Three starters are back, but the tackles have to give the main man more time. WR Jamari Staples and RB Brandon Radcliff are gone, but Jackson will make everyone around him better – at least that’s the hope. Jeremy Smith can run the ball a bit, too.
The defense loses the stars, with LB Devonte Fields done on one side, Keith Kelsey gone from the linebacking interior, S Josh Harvey-Clemons done from the secondary, and NT De’Angelo Brown gone. Six starters return, though – now the D just needs to come up with the playmakers.