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LSU Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) carries the ball in the 2nd half of their conference game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct.26, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

BATON ROUGE — It would appear that LSU fans, after all these years, finally got their wish.

And, no, I’m not talking about this unexpected Sunday turn of events — to me, anyway — where LSU leapfrogged Alabama in the AP poll to become the No. 1 team in the country.

Who saw that coming? Nobody who watched the “explosive” Tigers struggle to put points on the board in a 23-20 win over Auburn.

Me, I was kind of thinking Ohio State might jump LSU into the No. 2 spot.

While we’re are it, though, LSU fans can just hush right now with any notion that the Tigers don’t get any national respect.

The Tigers hopped over a team that beat Arkansas 48-7 (41-0 at the half) with a backup quarterback, which might say more about the Razorbacks than the poll voters.

But LSU, you suppose, has the resumé. The Tigers are the first team in the recorded history of the college football poll to beat three top 10 teams in their first eight games of the season.

But it says something about the respect the Tigers are getting that you can get an attaboy for hanging tough with LSU. One of the victims, Florida, is now ranked higher (No. 6), than the Gators were before LSU beat them. Auburn only dropped two spots to No. 11 despite Saturday being its second loss.

Texas, sorry, can’t help you. The Longhorns will have to live with the notion that Tom Herman, the coach they outmaneuvered or out-bid LSU for, got beat by Ed Orgeron, the coach nobody but LSU would have hired. Not only that, but the same Les Miles that LSU fired (for lack of offensive imagination) to set those wheels in motion, scored 48 on Texas with only the available intramural talent at Kansas.

But we’re getting sidetracked here.

Never mind that the AP poll doesn’t mean squat anymore. But I doubt this No. 1 foam finger wasn’t part of LSU’s master plan.

Not now, anyway. Anytime but now.

Not to get all suspicious here, but did Nick Saban and Alabama pull any strings in LSU getting the No. 1 ranking?

You realize the SEC office is still in Birmingham, right?

Saban doesn’t leave many stones unturned. Pretty sure he could personally care less where his team or his old purple-and-gold school is ranked right now. But he’ll find some way to use it to his advantage, some slight against the Crimson Tide.

LSU needs to start printing poster boards and t-shirts, like pronto: “We Didn’t Ask To Be No. 1.”

But the weekend wasn’t a total loss for LSU fans.

It hasn’t been unusual in the past for LSU to run up a big score leading up to the Alabama game, with fans bemoaning, “Oh, to have been able to stash some of those points away for later when they might come in handy against Alabama.”

Maybe they got their wish Saturday against Auburn,

“We left a lot of points out there today,” Orgeron said.

Who knows what happened to them?

But it was, as quarterback Joe Burrow said, “curious.”

The stat sheet looked about right for LSU this year, 508 yards of total offense.

But the Tigers and their hightech offense has cozied up to the notion of watching the scoreboard spin around like a pinball machine.

Saturday there was lots of action of the field — Burrow got his 321 yards in the air, the Tigers even out-rushed the SEC’s top running team with 187 on the ground, 136 by Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

That ought to be more than 23 points.

But that was one stubborn scoreboard. It was like LSU was running up and down the field on a treadmill, with nothing to show for it.

A lot of tease, no scoreboard action.

Out of curiosity, I checked in on the 2007 LSU national championship team.

Only twice that season did the Tigers gain more than the 508 yards that they got Saturday against the SEC’s best defense.

One was against a down Louisiana Tech team (58-10). The other was the closest thing to a perfect game LSU has played in your lifetime (48-7 over Virginia Tech).

So it wasn’t like the offense wasn’t working Saturday.

Maybe the game film will turn up some clues.

A turnover or two, the spread offense running into too many third-and-too-shortto-pass situations, a couple of fourth-down stuffs, some bad luck.

Give credit to a really good Auburn defense.

But 503 yards isn’t exactly getting your offense shut down. It’s also not very efficient to come away with 23 points.

Fun with numbers: That comes to 22.1 yards per point or 154.7 yards per touchdown.

There were unconsecrated points all over Tiger Stadium. Sunday the stadium clean-up crew no doubt found unused points littered all over the joint, maybe hidden away in every nook and cranny.

Look at this way. If the Tigers were banking them, setting them aside for the trip to Tuscaloosa in two weeks, then they were not wasted in vain.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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