Time and time again, college football fans across the country are subjected to talk of the vaunted SEC defenses. However, the winds of change are sweeping across the nation and the conference narratives could shift with it. With that said, let me get this out of the way upfront. LSU is bringing an average pass defense to the Peach Bowl to face Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners. It’s a storyline largely being ignored or brushed off by the masses.
Sure, much of the focus remains on the offense of the LSU Tigers, but it didn’t stop several defenders from garnering the attention of opposing coordinators. Most notably, Grant Delpit earned the Jim Thorpe Award given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. Multifaceted, the junior excels in all areas of the game from run support to man coverage to deep safety responsibilities. Singlehandedly, Delpit provides hope to the fanbase on the backend of the defense. However, the performance of a single individual does not paint the entire picture of the pass defense employeed by Ed Orgeron.
In thirteen games this year, the Tigers have surrendered twenty touchdowns. While the number ranks in the middle of the pack at sixty-first nationally, the only comparison that matters at the moment is against those in the CFP. Of the teams deemed worthy of the college football playoff, that number sits at the bottom of the four.
|Team||Passing Touchdowns Allowed||Passing Yards Allowed|
|Clemson Tigers||8||138.5 ypg|
|LSU Tigers||20*||221.7 ypg|
*tiebreaker decided by passing yards allowed per game
In addition, the LSU defense surrendered the most passing yards per game of any team included in the playoff picture. Knowing opposing quarterbacks complete a mere 51.1% of the passes attempted against the Tigers (sixth nationally), the previous statement appears improbable. Yet it’s true which could allude to poor tackling coupled with plenty of yards after the catch. At 221.7 yards per game allowed, the number ranks fifty-seventh among college football programs. Again, it’s a stat line that remains average at best when it comes to defending the pass.
Why? The defense posted these stats in a conference possessing just three programs with TOP FIFTY passing offenses — one of which is LSU.
|National Ranking||Team||Offensive Passing Yards Per Game|
Simply put, the numbers don’t lie. This pass defense is average and will be the worst statistically — minus completion percentage allowed — of any team in the playoff. In the same breath, that does not guarantee a win for the opposition as the Tigers are built for a shootout offensively.