What's Wrong With the Field? Penn State 19, LSU 17

Join our bowl weekend open thread already in progress.

If you watched the Capital One Bowl between LSU and Penn State, you likely kept thinking the same thing throughout the game. "What the heck is wrong with the field?"

Look at the game through Twitter or Google News or any recap, and you'll find the same refrain. People seemed so focused on the playing conditions -- calling them "abysmal" would be an earlier front-runner for the understatement of 2010 -- that they largely forgot a football game was being played.

Or maybe the total lack of offense helped that. While Northwestern and Auburn passed the 1,000-yard mark in the Outback Bowl, Penn State and LSU couldn't even combine for 600. There were only four drives of 50 yards or more between the Lions and the Tigers, and one longer than 60 -- the one preceding the decisive field goal for Penn State.

And yet it's still hard to see how the Bayou Bengals kept this game so close for so long. (Well, not if you saw Penn State's red-zone performance, but I digress.) Penn State gained 97 more yards, won on first downs 21-9 and had an edge in the time of possession equal to more than a full quarter. The Tigers led for almost the last 12 minutes of the game despite having no one rush for more than 13 yards and turning the ball over three times. If Gary Crowton needed to save his job in this game, we'll know soon enough, because this was not the kind of game that would save your offensive coordinator.

Beyond Crowton, this has to add to the continuing questions about whether Les Miles is still the man for the job in LSU. Since the 2007 national title season, the Bengals have gone 17-9 -- not a terrible mark, but also not what LSU fans came to expect at the high point of the Nick Saban-Miles Era. Winning on Friday wouldn't have fixed all those concerns, but it would have helped.

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