The LSU defense was fierce and remorseless on Saturday morning as the Tigers held Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson in check en route to a 29-9 victory in the 2016 Citrus Bowl.
After scoring 51 total touchdowns in the regular season, the Cardinals quarterback couldn’t find the end zone once against the stifling Tiger defense. The Bayou Bengals got after him early and often, sacking him eight times in the game. Three of those sacks came from Tashawn Bower while edge rusher Arden Key came away with two of his own. The remaining sacks were dished out to Devin White, Davon Godchaux and Rashard Lawrence.
While this year’s Heisman winner was held off the scoreboard, a potential candidate for next year went off yet again. LSU running back Derrius Guice scampered for 138 yards while averaging 5.3 yards per carry on 26 attempts. Guice found the end zone once and came away with runs as long as 70 yards down in Orlando. Even without the presence of Leonard Fournette, make no mistake: LSU’s run game will still be one of the best in the entire country, let alone the SEC.
Malachi Dupre had an outstanding game at receiver also. Dupre made terrific catches and averaged nearly 20 yards per reception. He amassed 139 yards on just seven receptions, having one of the best performances of his season and perhaps his entire career as well.
What we learned
Danny Etling did just enough
LSU’s quarterback situation was beleaguered for much of the year, but Etling saved his best performance for last. He was great enough under center to get it done, outplaying the Heisman Trophy winner on Saturday in just about every category sans the one interception he threw. There’s something you and I probably didn’t expect to happen, but sure enough, LSU was able to benefit from it.
Derrius Guice will keep the line moving
Guice’s short career at LSU has been both exciting and productive. If Saturday’s performance is any indication, he’s set to have a fantastic season in 2017. Guice showed off almost all of his abilities - including the ability to destroy a kicker - on Saturday morning in the Citrus Bowl and gave Tigers fans plenty of reasons to be excited. As mentioned, even with Fournette gone, LSU’s run game will be one to watch next year, and most of it is because of Derrius Guice.
Dave Aranda is worth every penny
LSU’s defensive talent deserves lots of credit of course, but the job done by Aranda in this game was outstanding. He continues to be one of the best coordinators in the country, and with him being signed to an extension, the Tigers will maintain their presence as one of the best defenses in the country with him around. The talent should continue to be great under Orgeron, so even with a slew of players set to leave, expect the Bayou Bengals to be as great as they come.