Kentucky’s video game thrashing of LSU a sign of more to come
An audible clicking sound came across the television audio.
I opened my eyes and began to scroll through the options on the screen. I promised my roommate that, even though I didn’t need to peek at his play call to beat him at our friendly game of NCAA 14 on the Xbox, I would close my eyes until he called his defense so that there would be no suspicion.
For me, it was simply another day at the office. There was no question that my offensive play call was unmatched and perhaps the best in my entire dormitory. However, the situation was much different for my roommate (in order to protect my roommate’s identity and avoid repetition, we will use the unrelated pseudonym Logan interchangeably with the word roommate going forward).
Logan was trying to avoid losing his 11th game to me in a row, a fact that was so obviously hindering his confidence on the LSU social scene. The man was desperate for a win, and the early indication was that he would finally get one.
I embarrassingly fell behind 21-0 early in the game before deciding that I would elect to play no defense and simply catch Logan by going for two points each time and recovering onside kicks.
Determined to turn my shortcomings into a game my pal would not forget, I was on the brink of making it happen.
The score was 63-56 with eight seconds left on the clock. I was losing had the ball around my opponent’s 40-yard line, and I called the second-to-last play of the game: four verticals.
Before I snapped the ball, I let my roommate know of the imminent touchdown, and the rest is history. I scored and converted the two-point conversion, much to Logan’s chagrin.
I retell this story for several reasons, the obvious one being that it’s hilarious.
The second reason I tell this story is because anyone who has ever played NCAA 14 realizes that four verticals was a difficult play to defend against. That is because it is a video game meant for fun.
Never would I imagine that LSU’s real-life offense called by first-year offensive coordinator Jake Peetz would involve so many long-developing routes and vertical routes that feel as though they are better suited for a video game.
This is even more surprising when you consider the fact that the Tigers’ offensive line has struggled all season, and the last thing young LSU quarterback Max Johnson needs is to wait for a receiver to get open.
And, what about LSU’s continued struggles with fourth down packages? Similar to the team’s previous embarrassment against Auburn, LSU was once again forced to burn a timeout before electing to go for it on fourth down. Once again, the play after the timeout was an uninspiring and uncreative failure.
What about the LSU defense? This was the unit on the team that had made the most improvement week-to-week, and I was beginning to have some faith that first-year defensive coordinator Daronte Jones was beginning to find his footing.
That was before Kentucky flattened the Tiger defense for 330 rushing yards and 475 yards total. Another stat you wouldn’t believe unless you saw it in a video game.
Perhaps, a friend of mine who is a native of the bluegrass state and who attended Kentucky’s thrashing of LSU said it best when she texted me, “that is not what we expected,” after the game.
In her defense, I don’t think anyone expected the 42-21 cruise control victory the Wildcats enjoyed that night.
The Tigers’ rushing attack was the one positive on the day as LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price ran for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
It only took LSU six games and an opponent who ignored the Tigers’ run game for almost the entirety of the night for LSU to pull off this amazing feat.
Unfortunately, we also learned that LSU receiver Kayshon Boutte fractured his ankle on a spectacular sideline catch and will miss the remainder of the season. The Tigers will now have to face the stretch of Florida, Ole Miss, and Alabama without their best offensive and defensive players in Boutte and cornerback Derek Stingley, respectively.
The more fans look at the schedule, the more they wonder if the University of Louisiana-Monroe and Bye Week will be the only remaining wins of the season.
It is frustrating that I am forced to make stupid jokes like that to fill space in this column, but LSU’s problems are so blatantly obvious and reoccuring that there’s no point in beating the dead horse that was Saturday’s game.
I think it’s safe to say that LSU fans everywhere feel exactly how my roommate Logan felt when he played NCAA 14.
Sadly, this version of the game lacks an off-button.