GREEN BAY, Wis. — No. 5 LSU spent the first two-and-a-half quarters with a hand tied behind its back on Saturday afternoon because of a lackluster offense, and despite some late heroics from senior cornerback Tre’Davious White, that is ultimately what cost the Tigers in a 16-14 loss to Wisconsin in the inaugural Lambeau Field Classic.
LSU managed only 64 yards in the first half and Wisconsin jumped to a 13-0 lead after scoring the game’s first touchdown on its first drive of the second half.
White’s pick-6 of Wisconsin quarterback Bart Houston finally got LSU on the board with 5:28 left in the third quarter, and the Tigers took an improbable lead when Brandon Harris hit Travin Dural on a 10-yard bubble screen 1:07 later.
But other than that second scoring drive that started on Wisconsin’s side of the 50 thanks to a White fumble recovery, LSU’s offense wasn’t worth a hoot for the rest of the game, a fact that was neatly punctuated when D’Cota Dixon picked off Brandon Harris with 57 seconds left at the Wisconsin 25 as the Tigers tried to drive into field-goal range. Harris, who was praised by Les Miles for his improved poise all August, finished 12-for-21 for 131 yards with two interceptions.
LSU’s offense finished with only 257 yards, 176 of which came courtesy of running back Leonard Fournette, who hobbled off the field two plays before Harris was picked off.
The Badgers dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, finishing with a 37:05-22:55 edge in time of possession. LSU’s offensive line was out of sorts for most of the game, and Josh Boutte’s ejection for blasting Dixon after his game-sealing interception was a bit of fitting symbolism for his unit’s performance as a whole.
This was an unmitigated disaster for LSU, which lost an opener for the first time under Miles. The Tigers have a lot of work to do if they want to compete for an SEC West title, much less harbor aspirations of reaching the College Football Playoff.