The LSU Tigers dominated the Louisville Cardinals in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium, 29-9. The Tigers held the high scoring Cardinal offense to zero touchdowns. LSU also held Louisville Heinemann Trophy winner Lamar Jackson to 10-27 passing and only 153 yards, including a 53 yard strike.
In front of a crowd of 46,063, LSU’s pressure kept Jackson at bay, often pressuring him from the middle of the line, forcing quick and inaccurate throws. Jackson was sacked 6 times. Jackson did lead the Cardinals in rushing with 100 yards, but fumbled during a crucial drive.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was thrilled with the outcome. He was even late to the press conference because he was dancing in the locker room.
LSU athletics department representative Michael Bonnette said, “Coach O will be right out … he’s dancing.”
“Coach O’s turning up, y’all,” said LSU running back Derrius Guice.
“Awfully excited about our football team, the way they bought into one team, one heartbeat.” Orgeron said. “I’m so proud of them. They played tremendously today against a great Louisville football team, a great job by our staff of coming on the road, preparing our guys to play like we did today. It was a dominating performance.”
This was Orgeron’s first game as official head coach as he was installed as interim head coach after LSU coach Les Miles was fired earlier in the season.
“I’m happy for the team. I’m happy for the Tiger family. This is never going to be about me. Interim coach, full-time coach, it doesn’t matter.” Said Orgeron. “I’m just happy to be in the role to be able to serve. It’s an honor to be a head coach at LSU. We look forward to building a championship program here.”
“Yeah. We got beat by a good football team.” said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. “I think we hurt ourselves early in the game with negative plays, either assignment errors or good pass rushes and not being able to get the ball out and throw it away. When you’re going backwards, and you get behind the sticks, it’s really hard to make first downs against them. I did think we came back in the second half and executed better and made some plays, still couldn’t get the ball in the end zone, and that really hurt us.“
Orgeron said his team’s preparation, engineered by defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, was crucial to shutting down Jackson. LSU, which had not used many blitz packages during the regular season, came at Louisville with several different looks.
Louisville appeared to get things rolling during the second series when Jackson hit James Quick with a 53-yard pass to the LSU nine-yard line. But the Cards could do no more, settling for a short field goal from Blanton Creque to open the scoring and give Louisville a 3-0 lead.
That was about as much offense as the Cards could muster during the opening half. Louisville (9-4) was forced to punt on five of its first seven offensive possessions, plus another field goal at the half.
Meanwhile the LSU offense started to establish some balance, led by the passing of Danny Etling and the running of Guice. Etling lit up the Louisville secondary in the first half and the primary recipient of his work was Malachi Dupre, who had a career best day with seven catches for 139 yards, most of which came before halftime.
Jackson never got it going. “There was a lot of mistakes each and every one of us made out there. It was a great team, like Coach said, and we’ve just got to come back stronger next year.” Jackson said.