2020 Record: 5-5
4th in the West
LSU took a significant step back last year as the defending National Champions. The season got off to a bad start immediately by getting dominated at home to Mississippi State. Two weeks later the Tigers lost to Missouri. Both schools were in year one of new coaches.
LSU figured things out by the end, stringing off their only consecutive wins of the season against No.6 Florida and rival Ole Miss. LSU would miss out on the postseason due to a bowl ban from NCAA violations.
Can Max Johnson Build Off Last Season?
Last year’s quarterback play was a little bit of a roller coaster. Myles Brennan started very strongly but had his season cut short by a freak accident. The fans struggled through the next string of games from TJ Finley before being rescued by Max Johnson’s terrific play.
It was assumed Brennan would come back and likely take over as starter again but after a freak accident in early August, it’s all Johnson. Johnson was terrific to end the season with eight scores and one interception. But it’s important to note most of his numbers came against two of the worst passing defenses in the SEC.
The lack of running game puts even more pressure on the pass game. The receivers have talent but are reloading after last year. Max Johnson has shown the potential to be a top five SEC quarterback. He’ll need to prove it now.
Field a Defense Again
Last year’s LSU defense was one of the worst in the country and gave up boat loads of big plays to opponents. They allowed 35 points per game and 492 yards, good for 124th in the nation and second worst in the conference just ahead of Ole Miss.
Bo Pelini is out of Baton Rouge, tail tucked. Daronte Jones is the new defensive coordinator now and will benefit from from two of the best defensive backs in the conference. Derek Stingley Jr. is battling injury but should be mostly healthy. He’s complemented by Eli Ricks who led the team with four takeaways in 2020.
The secondary was quite the anomaly last year. They were worst in the conference in passing yards allowed per game yet scored four times off interceptions. The foundation is certainly there with Stingley and Ricks but they’ll need to be more disciplined this season.
The rush defense wasn’t as atrocious but nothing too impressive. They allowed the ninth most rushing yards in the conference but excelled at quarterback pressure. Damone Clark is back who shared the team lead in tackles last year. Throw in some high end transfers and the defensive front should see better results in 2021.
LSU is going to have the likes of the frontrunner Alabama, continually rising Texas A&M, and maybe even up and coming Ole Miss to battle out the top of the SEC West. They’re sure to be improved but it’s foolish to think they can contest with Alabama for the SEC Championship game.
Still, a favorable schedule plays their way. If Max Johnson can return this offense to a shadow of what it was with Joe Brady and Joe Burrow there’s no reason this team can’t be in a New Year’s Six Bowl.
“From Our Haus to Yours”