LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee didn’t need to win the fourth-ranked Tigers’ season-opening game against No. 3 Oregon.
And, sure enough, he didn’t. The senior went a subpar 10-of-22 for 98 yards and a touchdown; his best play was the halfback toss to running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford.
But Lee was able to do the one thing Oregon collectively could not: be mistake free. Although Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas only threw one interception, UO was sloppy in committing four turnovers tonight, with almost all of them coming in their own territory.
For a program that prides itself on solid game plan execution, Chip Kelly‘s team was uncharacteristically disheveled. Lee, on the other hand, was not. LSU coach Les Miles allowed his athletes to make plays. All Lee had to do was take the snap and keep his team from falling apart.
“Coming into tonight, we knew we had a lot on our minds,” Lee said after the game. “We knew we just had to stay focused.”
And, in the end, it worked out in favor of the Tigers, who defeated UO 40-27 in a game where beauty and grace were hard to come by.
Thankfully for the Tigers, the abundance of team speed isn’t as hard to find. If Lee can manage to play relatively mistake-free, that LSU defense and running attack can win a lot of games this year. For Lee, it’s about trusting the offense and the athletes around him.
Barring any late-game time management blunders, Miles usually puts his team in a pretty good chance to win.
Looking around to other members of the SEC West, Alabama’s quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims didn’t play particularly well against Kent State, and Arkansas, despite a huge win over Missouri State, is still breaking in a new starting quarterback in Tyler Wilson. LSU matches up well with both of those teams.
And for a program that’s faced so much off-the-field adversity, it’s nice to have something go their way for a change.