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The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly: LSU edition

What a train wreck that was.

NCAA Football: Miami at Louisiana State
LSU celebrating during an interception return for a TD by Jacob Phillips during the Tigers’ win over Miami.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

In the season opener for a season that Miami has pointed to for years as having College Football Playoff potenital, the Hurricanes got absolutely demolished by the LSU Tigers, losing

Here’s our game recap by Evan Hadrick:

Here’s our 3 stars from the game by Matt Washington (a piece I’m sure was not easy to write):

And now, let’s get into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

  • DT Gerald Willis III. Finally back on the field after a season away from the game, Willis III made his presence felt. He was routinely in the backfield creating havoc for LSU’s offense. Willis III finished the night with 8 tackles, 4 TFLs, a sack, a QB hurry, and a PBU/batted ball.
  • WR Jeff Thomas. The sophomore WR had several great catches en route to a big night. He was fast, quick, and open SEVERAL TIMES that Malik Rosier didn’t even look his way. The 5’10” speedster is an elite player, and we saw that on Sunday night. He finished with 5 catches for 132 yards and could have had MUCH MORE if the QB had been even a little bit more accurate.
  • S Jaquan Johnson. 11 tackles on the night for the All-American. Not his most impactful game, but still solid for the leader of Miami’s defense.
  • WR Lawrence Cager. The redshirt junior had several big catches, including a 36 yard beauty a play after Thomas had his first leaping grab of the night (it would not be his last).
  • WR Brian Hightower. The freshman came in and got his first catch and TD on a beautiful 32 yard throw from Rosier. Way to start your career, 7.
  • DE Jonathan Garvin. 8 tackles, a sack, 3 TFL, a QB Hurry and a PBU/batted ball. He’s becoming a monster in front of our eyes.
  • Miami’s defense was hitting HARD early on (read: first 6 minutes of the game)
  • About 4 minutes of Malik Rosier’s 4th quarter. A rushing TD on inverted veer. 2 GORGEOUS throws on consecutive plays to Thomas for 50 yards and Hightower for 32 and a score. That small segment of the game was good.
  • 8 TFLs and 2 sacks. Slightly under the averages from 2017, but still good numbers nonetheless.
  • 5 PBUs and 5 QB Hurries. Again, good numbers, but with just a single step quicker, those could have been INTs or Sacks. Game of inches, yanno?
  • 5.0 yards per play
  • 17.3 yards per completion
  • 18 first downs
  • Outgained LSU 342-296. USUALLY when you outgain a team by roughly 50 yards you win. USUALLY.
  • Canes had 8 chunk plays (6 passes and 2 rushes).
  • Held LSU to 3/16 on 3rd down. Gave up a couple 4th down conversions after gains on 3rd, but for the most part, Miami played well on money downs.

The Bad

  • Losing. Losing is bad. Losing is always bad.
  • Quiet night for Joe Jackson. Don’t remember his name getting called once. (he had 3 tackles on the night, per the stats).
  • Trajan Bandy’s ejection. Miami’s sophomore CB was called for targeting while trying to tackle a running back who was still fighting for yards. It was a terrible call, made while ostensibly reviewing whether a fumble was recovered by Miami or LSU, and threw Miami’s DB rotation out of whack
  • Yet another injury plagued game for Ahmmon Richards. After making a catch on the last drive of the 1st Quarter, Miami’s best WR was seldom seen. In the 2nd half, Richards was sitting on the bench with no helmet. If he’s hurt again that would suck.
  • More injuries. Michael Pinckney, Lawrence Cager, Gerald Willis III and Jonathan Garvin all missed time due to injury on the night. That’s not good.
  • Offensive Line. For all the talk that they’d be better, there we false starts, holding calls, and SEVERAL times when they were beat clean, giving the QB or RB no time or space to operate.
  • Missed tackles. Pinckney was caught diving for arm tackles a couple times, which let LSU’s RB get more yards. In the open field, other guys missed tackles took. Not good.
  • Joe Burrow was ONLY 11-24 for 140 yards. But, operating with short fields and running the ball well, you’d have thought that he was a world beater. So, again, Miami made an otherwise average QB look good (even if the numbers weren’t as good as you might have thought based on the score of the game). Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat. /sarcasm
  • 6/16 on 3rd down but started 0/7 before finally converting one. Miami did not convert a single 3rd down in the first half.
  • Miami gave up some LONG 3rd down conversions to LSU. The 3 they converted were 3rd and 9, 3rd and 10, and 3rd and 10. And multiple 4th down conversions, too. Woof.

The Ugly

  • Losing to LSU. This team is objectively not good, their coach could potentially get fired....and we lost to them. This is shades of 2016 Notre Dame all over again: losing to a bad team that had no business beating Miami.
  • Losing streak. Miami has lost their last 4 games. That’s the epitome of ugly.
  • Effort. Out side of a handful of players, nobody looked like, acted like, or played like they wanted to be here tonight.
  • Lack of star power. Where was Jaquan Johnson making plays? Where was Joe Jackson? Where was Michael Jackson? Where was Travis Homer? Where were the big plays? Where was the emotional and performance-based leadership? WHERE WAS IT?!
  • Jhavonte Dean. He had 1 good PBU but he was burned repeatedly by LSU’s WRs. Once Bandy was out after the targeting penalty, Dean was “the mark”; LSU just took note of who he was covering, and threw the ball that way. Terrible.
  • Robert Knowles. Who was out of place on LSU’s first TD, a 50 yard run RIGHT UP THE MIDDLE on a zone play? You guessed it: number 20. Woof.
  • Letting Nick Brosette have 22 carries for 125 yards and 2 TDs, including that 50 yarder untouched. Just bad. Bad bad bad.
  • Miami gave up 9 chunk plays (3 passes and 6 rushes), including Nick Brosette’s 50yd TD to put LSU in front for good.
  • Miami gave up a single 50+ yard run in 2017. That was matched in the first quarter of today’s game. YIKES.
  • Opposing kickers have made 27 straight FGs against Miami and have not missed a kick against the Canes since November 2016. LSU’s kicker hit a career long FG the skipped in off the crossbar. Yikes.
  • 11 penalties for 85 yards. Completely unacceptable.
  • 2 turnovers (interceptions)
  • Turnover on downs by throwing a 4 yard out on 4th and 13 with a minute left in the game.
  • Gave up 4 sacks.
  • Offensive line was BAD in passing situations late. Several times LSU got free rushers up the A gaps and Malik Rosier felt the brunt of those hits.
  • 83 rushing yards on 34 carries. 2.4 yards per carry average.

Malik Rosier

  • Yes, he gets his own section to evaluate how terrible he was tonight.
  • 15-35 (42.8% completions) is REGRESSION from what we saw at the end of last year.
  • 259 yards and 1 TD to go with 2 picks, including a pick-6 Rosier threw DIRECTLY to the Linebacker who was sitting in zone coverage.
  • There were rushing yards as well, but this was bad Malik pretty much all game, outside of that one small stretch I listed above.
  • I said Malik Rosier wasn’t good enough to play here. I said that he would cost us a game. I said that Miami needed to move on from him. And I said I hoped he would prove me wrong. Rosier did not prove me wrong. He proved me really, really, supercalifragilisticexpialadoiously right. There will be other losses this year because Rosier’s play will cost Miami games. And that’s just a fact.
  • Rosier sailed so many throws tonight. Jeff Thomas and Brevin Jordan — Miami’s starting TE in his first career game — were WIIIIDDE OOOOPEN on several occasions and Rosier Missed them. Evidence Njoku would have had a TD on a go route but Rosier underthrew him. I could go pitch for pitch down his throws, but why would I torture myself like that? There was no evidence of the “improvements” that were spoken of through the spring, summer, and fall. And we get to watch 11 more regular season games of this, with an ACC Championship game (I hope) and Bowl Game as well. I’m gonna need more liquor.

Team Grades

Offense - D

There were some good things. Jeff Thomas was uncoverable. Brian Hightower had a great TD catch. DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer ran hard. OL was bad to ugly. QB was outright atrocious. The ONLY thing keeping this from being an F is what Jeff Thomas did. Conservative and unimaginative playcalling, too. Just.....yikes.

Defense - D

Giving a guy like Brosette room to go for 125 and 2 TDs is bad. Letting LSU, a team that CAN NOT SCORE get 33 points is terrible. Manny Diaz’s rotations (i.e. playing backups, even an entire 2nd string unit at times) cost Miami dearly. Guys like Knowles and Dean were HORRIBLE and I’d like to never see them on my field ever again. 3rd downs were good. TFLs were good. But the defense was a step slow all game long, if they were there at all. There’s glimmer of hope behind the cloud so I’m only giving this a D for now.....but I’m not happy about what I saw.

Special Teams - F

Zach Feagles had 1 good punt but shanked 4 others, including one that was kicked under HEAVY pressure from the LSU punt rush. Bubba Baxa made his first FG but missed his 2nd. And, Baxa couldn’t execute a chip onside kick. Punt returns were all fair catches. Kick returns were decent, but when you have a million of them, that’s not good. And, Miami’s kick coverage team always runs tentatively, in my opinion. GO HIT SOMEBODY. ugh. Woof. Disgusting.

Coaching - F---

Yes, that’s F triple minus. Richt got outcoached by Ed Orgeron. Nothing worked, adjustments were seldom and the ones that were made had little impact, if any. This was a failure of preparation. This was a failure of playcalls on offense and defense. This was a failure on adjustments. This was a failure on personnel chosen to play, and the roles they were asked to play when they were put on the field. From the ground up, this was one of the worst coaching jobs I’ve seen from Richt and his staff since they’ve been here. To have talked about “championship aspirations” for YEARS, and “embrace them” throughout the offseason, to come out and play like Miami did tonight, against an average AT BEST LSU team is a failure of colossal proportions. AND THEN, on top of that, to give platitudes about moral victories and “staying the course” after the game is terrible, period. I’d give it a lower grade, but F--- and the narrative here proves my point, I believe.

That’s it for The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from the horrible, terrible, no good, very bad Miami Hurricanes season opener.

I’m pissed. You’re pissed. Share your level of pisstivitiy in the comments.

Go Canes