BATON ROUGE, La. — Forget the minutiae for a minute. The only stock update that truly matters for the LSU football team after its 16–10 loss versus Florida on Saturday is what’s next for Ed Orgeron.
It’s no secret that Orgeron is coaching for his future right now. It would be naive to say anything otherwise. And whether you think it’s silly or justified that a single loss can make or break a man’s future, it did on Saturday.
With the loss, Orgeron might be all but eliminated from retaining his job full-time. This is a game that matters to LSU and its fans, and getting stuffed on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line as time expired in a rivalry game isn’t a great taste to leave in the mouth of the university’s administration.
LSU’s New Year’s Six hopes are virtually gone and so might be Orgeron’s chances at coaching this team beyond bowl week. The stock of a football coach is fickle, and 1 yard might’ve been the difference between an extension and a boot out the door for Orgeron.
Dwayne Thomas: With Kendell Beckwith layed up on the injury table, Thomas took over as the most effective senior on the LSU defense. Thomas was all over the place Saturday afternoon, recording 4 tackles, 2 of which were for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass breakup and 1 quarterback hurry.
His pass breakup came on a massive third-and-1 in the second half with the Gators driving and attempting to take the lead. By batting the ball down, he forced Florida into its special teams unit, taking the ball out of the hands of Florida’s hot offense.
D.J. Chark: After being a non-factor in LSU’s previous two games, Chark proved himself to be LSU’s most effective runner Saturday. Chark carried 3 times for 51 yards, all of which came on reverses, and caught 2 passes for another 46 yards. His second reception proved to be the most vital, a 30-yard connection on fourth-and-10 with less than two minutes remaining.
All special teams: A botched field goal snap. A nonexistent punt return game. A fumble on a kickoff with less than five minutes left. It was a downright abhorrent performance from LSU’s special teams units across the board. Donte Jackson’s return fumble turned out to be particularly consequential, as it led to LSU burning a timeout on defense and put 3 extra points on the board for Florida.
Donte Jackson: I hate to double-burn the guy, but Jackson had a tough afternoon. It wasn’t just the fumble. He also allowed Florida receiver Tyrie Cleveland to break past him in single coverage for a 98-yard touchdown, and was burned one more time on a pass that luckily fell incomplete. Saturday was a regression for the promising sophomore.
Kendell Beckwith: Beckwith missed most of Saturday’s game after he left in the first quarter with a knee injury. This only proved his worth. LSU allowed 27 rushing yards in first half, compared to 99 in the second half with Beckwith sidelined. Beckwith’s replacement, Donnie Alexander, played well, but there’s no replacing the SEC’s second-leading tackler.
Derrius Guice: Guice had a ho-hum game as LSU’s feature back with Leonard Fournette fighting through his ankle injury. He fumbled in the red zone on the most pivotal play of the first half and he fumbled on the goal line on the most important play of the second half, but he was effective in the passing game and still rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. If this is what a bad game for Guice looks like, you should take it.