School is on for LSU, losses teach Tigers how to play with top 10 teams – Reuters
School is in session for LSU, losses teach Tigers how to play with top 10 teams
Posted at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 22, 2022
Brian Kelly’s evolving LSU team seemed to learn valuable lessons from their first encounter with a top-10 team at Tiger Stadium, responding with their best game of the year to bounce back last week and beat Florida easily on the road.
But will he play at home?
The Tigers will find out today how much that teachable moment — Tennessee 40, LSU 13 — translates into a competitive advance against their second top-10 opponent in three weeks.
The Tigers (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) will get back on fire when they host No. 7 Ole Miss this afternoon, a key game for both teams beyond the Magnolia Bowl trophy which is stakes.
The Rebels (7-0, 3-0) are surprisingly atop the SEC West standings. The Tigers could join them with a win.
But Kelly said he wasn’t talking about the West standings this week.
“What we’re talking about is how we play better in front of our home fans against a top 10 team,” he said. “Our focus will be on ourselves.”
It probably depends on what LSU learned after being whisked away to school the last time it was at Tiger Stadium, badly failing that first top-10 review against Tennessee.
“This team is learning so much every week and growing,” Kelly said of LSU Today, unlike the Tigers who looked outmatched in their own stadium two weeks ago. “I guess what I’m saying is it’s not a different team, but it’s a team that has grown in recent weeks.
“It’s a team that has confidence, it’s a team that knows that if they don’t play clean and pay attention to detail, they’re going to get similar results to what they had against Tennessee.
“No one really wants to learn from a loss,” he added. “But they learned a lot about intentionality and purpose in terms of preparation.”
The Tigers came to life in that 45-35 win over the Gators last week, especially the passing game that quarterback Jayden Daniels, whose legs are a big part of the offense, seemed to take advantage of the talented body of reception, which escalated for 349 meters in the air.
“It’s a work in progress,” Kelly said. “Sooner or later we had to step up and play these players and they did (last) Saturday. Now we have to be consistent. You can’t do it for a week and then turn it off and expect to win.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin had a different take on the Tigers.
“He is by far our most talented opponent,” he said.
It’s also the first major road test for his Rebels, whose previous away games were at Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, both with 3-4 records.
“Obviously it’s a different animal than the first two places,” Kiffin said. “It will be a real atmosphere and crowd noise for our guys to get into.”
Two years ago, when Kiffin took his first-team Ole Miss to Baton Rouge, LSU won a savage shootout 53-48.
“Their audience understands football and cares about it as much as anywhere you go,” Kiffin said. “We played some really tough games there.”