LSU had one of the nation’s top offensive lines in 2016. And at least according to numbers from Pro Football Focus, it was the best overall.
PFF released its awards for the 2016 season, and the Tigers earned the title of No. 1 offensive line in all of college football.
“As a collective unit, no offensive line performed better than that of the LSU Tigers in 2016,” Josh Liskiewitz wrote.
A number of factors contributed to LSU’s stellar ranking. But it started with the pass protection on the interior.
All three of the Tigers’ interior linemen earned a 74.5 grade or higher. Center Ethan Pocic had the highest grade at 82.7. He and guards Will Clapp and Josh Boutte allowed just one sack and 27 total pressures between them all year.
LSU’s offensive line play also set up a dominant rushing attack. Derrius Guice and Leonard Fournette rush for a combined 2,230 yards and 23 touchdowns. Both backs averaged 6.5 yards per carry or more.
“Not surprisingly, the success of LSU’s run game can be directly attributed to the outstanding play of the offensive line,” Liskiewitz wrote. “Tiger runners averaged 6.6 yards per carry on the season, and earned 46.8 percent of their yards before initial contact.”
Liskiewitz also noted that both Clemson and Alabama got less than 41 percent of their rushing yards before contact, making LSU’s mark even more impressive.
“With Pocic and Boutte both graduating and onto the next level, the Tigers are unlikely to duplicate this year’s effort in 2017,” Liskiewitz wrote. “However, this year’s group can take pride in knowing the unit put together a truly elite 2016 campaign.”