ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 31: LSU Tigers defensive end Arden Key (49) sacks University of Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) in the end zone for safety during the first half of the Citrus Bowl game between the Louisville Cardinals and the LSU Tigers on December 31, 2016, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

LSU destroys Louisville 29-9, finishes 2016 on a positive note

The LSU Tigers destroyed Louisville 29-9 to finish the 2016 campaign on a high note.

Make no mistake about it: this was a huge victory for Ed Orgeron’s team. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the Louisville offense came into the game as one of the most explosive units in the country, ranking fourth nationally in yards per play and second in yards per game. Considering that the Cardinals racked up 568 yards against Clemson – which ranked eighth nationally in total defense – it looked like the LSU D would have its hands full in this contest.

But it didn’t. The Bayou Bengal defense absolutely dominated the Cardinal offense. Sure, Jackson connected with James Quick on a 53-yard gain in the second series of the game, but that was the lone highlight of the day.

The LSU front seven kept the heat on Jackson throughout the contest, recording eight sacks and limiting him to just 10-of-27 passing. The Tigers D also did a great job of stopping the run, holding Louisville to a season-low 67 yards on 35 attempts. As a result of this excellence in both facets of the game, the Cardinal offense only converted on two of its 17 third-down opportunities, and finished with a paltry 11 first downs.

While the defense will rightly get credit for the win, it’s important to note that the offense turned in a solid performance as well. Playing against a Cardinals defense that ranked 12th nationally in yards per game and fifth in yards per play, the LSU offense kept the chains moving throughout the contest, converting on seven of 17 third down chances, while holding the ball for over 35 minutes.

With the victory, LSU finishes the 2016 campaign on a positive note. No, the team didn’t qualify for the College Football Playoff or win the SEC championship. But, it did play like one of the top teams in the country over the final two months of the season. Look for the Tigers to build on the strong finish, and to challenge Alabama in the West next fall.

Terry P. Johnson

About Terry P. Johnson

Terry Johnson is the Associate Editor for The Student Section. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation.

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