It started as a blowout on the Bayou, but LSU couldn’t put Auburn away in the second half Saturday and settled for a 35-21 win at Tiger Stadium.
Here’s a look at what we learned about the Bayou Bengal Tigers:
Jeremy Hill is rounding into shape: Les Miles had referred to Hill as rusty after the sophomore running back missed so much time in the spring and summer and then served a one-game suspension in the opener against TCU. But he ripped off his second straight 100-yard rushing performance in the win over Auburn, and he looked like the big 233-pound locomotive we saw at the end of last season in the first half. Hill finished with 183 yards and three touchdowns and had 152 of those yards in the first half. You just don’t see a guy that big accelerate the way Hill does. Boy, can he scoot.
Too many mistakes: A mix of penalties, turnovers and other miscues kept the Tigers from turning this game into a complete rout. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw his first interception of the season on the Tigers’ opening possession of the second half after they got the ball near midfield when Auburn tried an onsides kick. They also had 10 penalties for 85 yards, one of those penalties nullifying a long Jarvis Landry touchdown. There were also some defensive busts that contributed to LSU giving up 333 yards of total offense in the second half. Those types of mistakes will come back to bite the Tigers on down the road if they don't get them cleaned up.
Defense still growing up: It’s not a huge surprise that LSU is giving up big plays on defense. There are a ton of new faces out there, and defensive coordinator John Chavis is determined to play as many young players as he can to build depth. Auburn ran 85 plays on Saturday, and Chavis is hopeful that he can build enough depth that the Tigers will be comfortable playing more players as they get deeper into the season when they face other no-huddle, fast-paced offenses. This simply isn't as dominant a defense as we've seen at LSU the last couple of years, but it's also a defense that will get better as the younger players at linebacker and in the secondary gain experience.