- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Replies Harris, "Just smoked it all."
Later in the video, he appears to retract that statement, explaining that it was his cousin, in the backseat, who had smoked the dope. And, to his credit, he nailed the field sobriety test the officer administered. None of which prevented him from being indefinitely suspended by coach Chip Kelly.
With Harris out, punt-returning duties fell to the less-experienced Kenjon Barner, who did well to track down Brad Wing's majestic, 53-yard kick early in the second quarter. Having run nine yards in the wrong direction to create space for himself, Barner was then stripped by ubiquitous cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (10 tackles, two pass breakups), who grabbed the bouncing ball in stride on the three-yard line and scored easily to put the Tigers up 9--6.
The game within the game—which team could better cope with the loss of its star player(s)—was won by LSU ... decisively. It helped the Tigers that Miles believes quarterback play can be overrated. With Jefferson's stand-in, Jarrett Lee, turning in a C-plus performance against the Ducks, LSU still overpowered last year's national runner-up, which boasts a warp-speed offense that takes your breath away—unless they happen to be facing an SEC defense.
After reeling off 12 consecutive wins, Oregon has now lost two straight. In the BCS title game, Auburn's defense held Kelly's offense to 75 yards rushing, only the second time in his two seasons as coach that the Ducks had not reached 100. LSU made it three. (Oregon ran for 95 yards.) The vaunted attack that racked up 82 plays of 20 or more yards last season managed none last Saturday night. On one telling moment in the second quarter, Oregon running back LaMichael James burst through a gap on the right side of the line, ticketed for at least a 30-yard gain. Despite a poor angle, Tigers strong safety Brandon Taylor closed on his quarry like a purple-and-yellow blur, dropping him for just an 11-yard pickup. Welcome back to the SEC, boys.
They call me Sonic Sam," LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery explained after the game. "So I'm not too worried about [an opponent's] speed." Along with his bookend, Kendrick Adams, Montgomery was superb setting the edge, denying James the outside. With just 54 yards on 18 carries, the Duck known as LaMike became the first top-shelf candidate to be voted off Heisman Island this season.
There was Sonic Sam, midway through the third quarter, punching the ball from the grasp of running back De'Anthony Thomas, the heralded freshman from Crenshaw High in Los Angeles, whom the Ducks poached from USC. LSU turned its takeaway into seven points and kicked off to Thomas, who fumbled again. And again LSU converted his miscue into a touchdown, this time for a 30--13 lead, turning what had been a close game into a romp that was not as close as the 40--27 final suggests.
And there was Lee in the game's final minutes, flashing a thousand-watt smile, working his way down the bench, hugging his sweat-soaked offensive linemen. While his numbers (10 of 22 for 98 yards and one touchdown) were underwhelming, he wasn't picked off.
Avoiding interceptions is major progress for the embattled Lee, who while starting eight games during his redshirt freshman season in 2008 threw 16 picks, seven of which were returned for touchdowns. JARRETT LEE IS A WALKING PICK-SIX proclaimed one headline. He started one game over the next two years. "It's kind of been an up-and-down career for me here," allowed Lee, who has been booed by Tigers fans. Against Oregon he missed several receivers but also had several balls dropped.
His coach's response? Tepid. "I expected him to throw the football better," said Miles. "He's better than he showed today."