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Peach Bowl Game Film Review: LSU

The last film review of the season looks at #14 Clemson's 25-24 victory over #8 LSU in Atlanta.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN Play-by-play

CU from 25- Power. Center pulled outside, for 3...Inside counter-trey-blocked read option handoff to Sammy Watkins, Barkevious Mingo drills him and forces a fumble. LSU recovers at the 23.

Mingo should never have been able to get inside like that from the frontside position. Brandon Thomas and Beasley pulled to the opposite side, Sam Montgomery is being read as the option End, and stays at the LOS, dictating a handoff. The blocking on the other side appears to be regular down-angle blocking of the Counter Trey. The TE fanned out.

So the blame falls on the pulling Guard here. David Beasley takes the first threat and completely whiffed on the block of Mingo; he never even got a hand on him. Mingo was already past him in backfield depth by the time he ever gets even with Shatley's position.

Mingo fell on Sammy's ankle and turned it, and Watkins is lost for the game.

LSU from CU 23-Iso for 6. Outside zone toss sweep for 17 yard TD. 7-0 LSU. 2 plays 23 yards, :24.

Pretty much felt like 2008 Bama at this point.

Shuey had a chance to make a killshot on Jeremy Hill at the LOS on the sweep and whiffed. He went one way and Hill juked the other way. Nobody was left, but the Safety should've been.

CU from 25 - Jet sweep for 3..Mingo zooms past Timothy and Boyd scrambles for 6...Andre Ellington dumpoff over the middle for 10...QB Counter for 1...QB Power read for 2... Nuk Hopkins 17 yard Corner-Post. Dalton Freeman flattened a guy at the end of the play...TO LSU...Boyd power pass, DE misses him on the sack and he scrambles for 8. Forgot to slide and Loston whacked him...Power for 3...Blitz, he finds Nuk at the sticks on an Out for 12...OZ for 8...QB Counter and Tajh breaks tackles and evades for 11 yd TD. Good block by Jaron Brown to make this whole play work, and a poor one by Darrell Smith. 7-7 Clemson, 11 plays 75 yards 4:19.

Fantastic drive, and nearly all of it on Tajh Boyd's shoulders. The couple times he had time to throw was when LSU tried a twist or stunt inside.

LSU from 25 - Naked Boot pass to Landry for 5... Outside zone toss for a loss of 2 for M. Ford. Josh Watson beat the Center back on the reach block and got too deep for the play to work...Malliciah Goodman sack on a T-E loop stunt. Punt. 3 plays -6 yards.

The RT cut inside to stop Goodman who jumped him, Goodman was already inside and he couldnt react to give the Guard a chance. The DT came around on the RT and he managed to pick him up.

Goodman just beat him, he didnt jump the snap count.

CU from 30 - Counter H for no gain...Boyd ZR keep for 2. Frontside blocking on Mingo was terrible again, nearly killed the play...Bootleg pass to Jaron is batted out of his hands. Jaron has to get that ball. Punt. 3 plays 2 yards.

LSU from 40 - Goodman beats RT on a speed rush, and Grady Jarrett whips the Center. Sack. RT didnt even really deliver a hit on him...Empty gun set, quick hitter to the TE for 7...3-man rush, and really only 2 because the NG held back, and Goodman speed rushes him again for a Sack, Mettenberger intentional grounding. 3 plays -6 yards.

Their RT isn't even moving his feet to get wide and force Goodman outside. He just completely hinged on the last play after one step backwards. They should make an adjustment for 78 vs 97. If the 2nd play wasn't a gun-empty hike & throw, it may have been a sack too.

But why did LSU, with the ball at the 40, not go back to the inside run on the first play? The 2nd and 3rd down passes were necessitated by the sack.

LSU's ST coverage exceptional after a 56 yard punt, and gets a loss of 1 on AH.

CU from 9 - IZ for 4...Boyd steps and throws to Brown over the middle for 12, Personal foul called on Reid for a high hit...CB blitz from the backside, Boyd hits AH on a WR Screen for a small gain, but block in back called on Brown..Mingo comes completely free again for a sack on a sweep option.

LSU made a late slide adjustment and shifted MIngo from a 6 to a 4i. 57 the LB faked outside and kept Timothy's eyes, while Shatley was looking at the DT aligned in a Shade-1. Timothy should've kept his eyes on Mingo and let Boyd deal with the LB, or at the very least get a hand on Mingo and let Shatley recover. He can't let him go unimpeded.

Draw to DJ for 1. Timothy goes down on the play...Quick slant to Ford for 3. Punt. 5 plays 19 yards, 2:23.

LSU from 35 - IZ for 8 after we miss the first tackle by Xavier Brewer, coming on a CB blitz...Bootleg Corner-pass to Landry for 17. Christian had good position and the throw was perfect....J.C. Copeland misses Christian coming right up the A-gap, sack...Beckham comes back for 11 yard catch as Mett scrambles past a sack by Jarrett. Start 2nd QTR. RB Screen to Ware for 3, Vic Beasley gets a late hit penalty. Dumb move there with a late shove in the back...Iso for 5. Iso for 1...Landry beats Peters for a 6 yard TD. Juked inside and Peters couldn't recover when he went outside. Meeks late in coverage to help. 14-7 LSU, 8 plays 40 yards 4:03.

CU from 13 - IZ for no gain...Blitz, Nuk at the sticks on the stop route for 13. Montgomery cut inside BT and came free again...Pass to AH, he fumbled on the Loston hit, and hustled big time to get that ball back...Blitz, Ford in the flat for 7...Delay blitz, Nuk on a stop for 6...Blitz, FL screen to AH for 6...Timothy is beaten and Boyd has to throw it wide and too teep for Nuk. Didnt set his feet well enough to get that ball where Nuk could catch it...3 man rush and Mingo comes completely free. Incomplete. Punt. 8 plays, 32 yards, 2:32.

That last play was fucking pathetic. Its a 3 man rush. LSU showed 3 man rush most of the drive and brought a LB on delay or immediate to make it 4. Here, Mingo started from a H5/6 alignment against Joe Gore. Mingo actually cut all the way across Shatley's face and was NEVER TOUCHED BY EITHER OL.

Why did we call 7 passes and only 1 run? Chad gets down, gets a little pass happy.

LSU from 20 - Quick pass to Beckham for 3...IZ for 6...Isolation for no gain, great play by Rico and DJ Reader. Reader stuffed the Center's block. Punt.

LSU's playcalling on these two drives makes more sense. Quick hitters to avoid our pass rush and going with what they do best. We just stopped it.

CU from 30 - Wildcat, AE Counter for 3...Ford out cut for 7...QB keep inside for 1..Nuk down the sideline for 31 yards. Simon held him and still got beat...IZ for 11, Hot Rod...Boyd pressured and backhands a throw to Hot Rod for 4. He shouldnt throw that ball again, ever...QB Counter for 2...Boyd throws a bullet to Nuk's ankles for 11 yd TD. MISSED XP ON BLOCK. 14-13 LSU, 8 plays 70 yards. 3:12.

Clemson made the adjustment of moving Brandon Thomas to RT and bringing in Isaiah Battle at LT. I didn't think Battle would be quite ready based on how little he played this year, but he impressed me on this drive.

LSU made a coverage mistake on the TD play. Showing C2, the FS came down to pick up Ford in motion across the formation. Craig Loston did not realize he needed to get back when Reid came down, and was late helping the CB on Nuk.

Kalon Davis and the left side of the XP line got bullrushed. Kalon stood straight up.

LSU from 25 - Gun Empty, 6 yard slant to Boone...Hurry-up, a comeback route incomplete to Landry. He was covered well. PA pass deep to Landry, great coverage by Blanks and pass was too wide/deep. Punt.

Don't know why they threw 3 times in a row again.

Exceptional ST coverage again, 58 yd punt and a loss of 1 on return.

CU from 10 - IZ for 7...Ford quick hitch at the sticks for 5...QB power, Mingo got in the backfield too quickly again. Loss of 1...Swing route to AE who zooms for 12 up the sideline. Great block by Jaron again...Looks like Clemson attempts a midline read option against #90, he gets too deep in the backfield and we lose two blockers cutting him out. Tajh manages to get 4 in a small miracle...Peake WR screen for 1...Ford stop route, makes one miss, gets 10...Nuk same thing, gets 14. Offsetting penalties called on sideline altercation...Sweep fake and Boyd hits AH in the flat for 4...Speed option, Boyd fell down for loss of 3...Boyd flushed and throws away...4th & 9 at the LSU 37, #89 zooms past BT, Boyd steps up and rushes for 7, cut inside and Kevin Minter gets him before the sticks. If Boyd goes outside, he gets the 1st down. 12 plays 60 yards, 4:00.

Good drive, but I'd like to see the RB getting the carries instead of Boyd.

LSU from 30 - PA, Mettenberger backfoot throw under pressure to Beckham over the deep middle for 26...Travis Blanks makes an outstanding play picking off the forced throw. Personal foul called on LG La'el Collins.

Fantastic play by Blanks, but Mett should not have thrown that ball into that traffic.

CU from LSU 46 - Blitz, Minter beats Beasley for a sack...TO CU...Blitz, Boyd scrambles, barely gets rid of it incomplete to Jaron. Mingo killed him after the throw...Blitz, sacked by Mingo and Eugene immediately...TO LSU, I don't know why....Boyd airmails it incomplete.


It started as a disaster, and I'm not the only one who thought so at the time I'm sure. Sammy was probably half of the gameplan in this one and we lose him and they score all in a minute.

Clemson ran 54 plays in the 1st half, and I don't think we score the 2nd TD without moving Brandon Thomas to the right side after Gifford Timothy went down. It was probably the best adjustment of the entire game.

Clemson had 71 yards rushing, so we weren't being stuffed, which made it more baffling as to why The Chad stops doing it. 177 passing yards on 20/27 completions, and 18 first downs, to go with 4 sacks.

LSU ran 24 plays and had only 11 net yards rushing (2 sacks count off that), but look how little they ran their best plays. The pitch isolation was not called, which I'd say is their best gainer, only the OZ toss. Regular isolation only called 4 times. I don't see much rhyme or reason to their gameplan.

Clemson DL has registered 2 sacks and numerous pressures.

This was the first time Clemson trailed at the half in 2012.

Start 3rd QTR.

LSU from 43 -Jeremy Hill Isolation for 57 yards, right up the A-gap. 21-13 LSU. 1 play 57 yards, 0:17.

Lonergan killed Grady Jarrett. Willard seemed to take the right hole, Shuey did not take the right hole, he didn't fit this correct. FS should've been somewhere in sight as well.

CU from 16 - IZ for 2...Immediate coverage good, so Tajh steps up and gets no gain...Pass over the middle incomplete on a dig route to Nuk, but he should've caught that ball. Hit his hands and the CB swatted his arm and he dropped it. 3 plays 2 yards 1:08

Half probably couldn't have started any worse.

LSU from 32 -Reverse pitch for 1. Crawford did well there to stay home...Sidearm dumpoff to Ware for 5...Blitz, Slant to Landry for 9. Blanks didnt keep his eyes on his man at all there...Power O for 5...Deep Post to Boone, pass just a bit too long. He had Brewer cold and C1 Safety J. Meeks disappeared as usual...Quick slant to Wright, Garry Peters did a great job. Punt. 6 plays 20 yards 2:38.

Mettenberger throws that ball a half foot shorter and its a TD. Boone got a free release inside, which he shouldn't have, and just outran Brewer.

CU from 30 - OLB blitz and sacks Boyd immediately. Boyd should've seen that guy coming pre-snap...Boyd pressured immediately and throws it away...Coverage good, Boyd just has to pull it and run for 2. Punt. 3 plays -5 yards 1:19.

LSU from 35- Iso for 5...Pitch Power for 3, backside blitz by Brewer stuffed it...TO LSU, they couldnt get the play call in...Blitz, Mett scrambles and is tackled by Willard. Punt.

Why in the world did they do a 5-step drop pass on 3rd & 2? Pressure got to him on the right side immediately.

CU from 21 - Bucksweep to AE, he gets about 8 and fumbled it. Sam Montgomery swatted it.

No way should that ball have come out, AE had that up against himself and he let that guy swat it out.

LSU from CU 29 - iZ for 4...Power for 16. Textbook pull by the RG Trai Turner...Power for 2..Empty, inside screen to the TE for 4...Quick slant to Landry, Garry Peters made a great play to get it to an incompletion. 20 yd FG. 24-13 LSU. 6 plays 26 yards, 2:45.

CU at 25 -WR screen to AH for 5...Quick out to Ford for 5...QB Counter for 8...False start, Battle...Reverse to Brown for 3. Backside defenders stayed home...Offsides Mingo...IZ for 1...False start, AH...Immediate pressure, End-LB ran a twist on Thomas. Boyd scrambles for 1...Quick pass to Nuk, Reid nailed him as he caught it. False start on the punt, then punted. 7 plays 13 yards, 3:28

Clemson down points, Chad gettin a bit pass happy of late. Best way to slow down a pass rush is run the ball effectively.

LSU from 11 - Power for 3...Out route, WR slipped and fell...Offsides on Brewer, was blitzing. Cannot have that on a 3rd & 7. The pass was incomplete...Iso for 1. Punt.

CB blitz called, FB led and didn't take out the threat, while Hill started right on what looked like outside zone blocking to the leftside direction.

Start 4th QTR.

CU from 29 -Bucksweep for 4...WR screen to AH for 5...QB Power for 2...Pressure, Boyd steps up and sacked. Coverage sack...Bullet slant to Nuk on 2nd & 14 for 21. Great play, nice inside move on the release...Reverse pitch for 6...Boyd pressured, scrambles and flips a ball to Ford for 8...Bucksweep for 4...Blitz, picked up perfectly and Boyd airballs one right at the FS. Jaron seemed to stop his route. Lucky we weren't intercepted...Nuk post route, CB called for PI. It wasn't...IZ for 2....QB Draw, no gain. Was a run/pass option call...Bootleg, pressured too early and slipped as he cut it back inside. 26 yd FG Catman. 24-16 LSU. 13 plays 63 yards, 05:26

Killer. Offense had all of about 5 net yards in the 3rd quarter. Refocused on balancing the offense a little and had good gains running the ball. Clemson intentionally let the clock run below 10 sec before snapping.

LSU had defended 80 plays at this point, already a whole game.

LSU from 48. 48 yard return on the KO - IZ for 3. Good play by Meeks...Quick flat pass, Brewer and Willard were there immediately, loss of 1...Goodman sack with Grady Jarrett. Punt.

Goodman beat the RT inside, swallowed Spencer Ware, and Jarrett looped around from the 1-technique on the T-E stunt. That right tackle should be sat down.

CU from 23 - Swing pass to Hot Rod, covered immediately by Loston...Quick slant to Nuk for 7...QB Power for 3...Out route to Sam Cooper for 5...QB keep for 1, miracle he even got one...Defensive delay of game, they moved to try to make us jump...Hook & ladder to AE for 19...Power for 1yd loss...Boyd throws one up to Nuk at the pylon, batted away, great defense. Pretty much textbook coverage technique...3rd & 11, DE came completely free but Boyd found Ford for 20 on a wheel route...QB counter for 2...Nuk in the back of the end zone for 12 yard TD. 2-pt conversion: blitz, Shatley got eaten by the LB up the A-gap, half roll and pass flipped to the ground. 24-22 LSU. 11 plays 77 yards, 4:20.

That hook & ladder was beautiful, and most QBs don't make the 20 yard wheel completion there. He was dead to rights.

I don't mind so much the called QB runs on 3rd & 1 or 2, its the called QB runs on 1st down that should go to the RB. Tajh already had 27 carries by now, half of which are scrambles, but I don't see the need to call a QB run when he's already getting beat up.

But LSU's pass rush is much easier to handle for this drive. Its clear they are losing their legs. Clemson has over 90 plays, which is probably 30 more than what LSU defended on average in a game. Thats like playing an extra half.

Given how poorly we defended the kickoff returns, Clemson pooches it on the KO so Ford can't touch the ball.

LSU from 39 with 2:43 - Blitz, hitch to Boone for 8, tackled immediately....Under 2:00, PA rollout to Landry, incomplete. Landry was by himself and pass was too wide...Pass batted down by Goodman. Punt. 3 plays 8 yards, 1:08.

8th 3 & out forced

First playcall is fine, we were stacked inside. 2nd and 3rd call make zero sense. We weren't stacked on the 3rd down call. It looked almost like we could see they were passing. They had 2nd & 2 and couldn't figure out how to call a run play? Almost looks like Dabo/Napier are calling their plays. They didn't even make us use a single TO. Dumb.

If the shoe was on the other foot I would be losing my mind.

CU from 20 with 1:39 - Blitz, pass a little tall for Nuk...Blitz, same route, same pass too tall. Simon did commit PI that time...Boyd stumbles over Sam Montgomery as he tries to scramble to the left...TO CU 1:22...4th & 16, Corner-post to Nuk for 26, play of the season. He was covered... Blitz. DE came free AGAIN, still finds Nuk for 7...Blitz, Reid hits Nuk on a Dig, commits PI. I think that was borderline PI at best...Quick pass to Ford for a few...TO CU 0:41...Blitz, Nuk is standing by himself on the sideline for 12. CB Simon playing too soft...Quick slant to AH for 9. LSU playing way off. 3rd & Chavis..Boyd centers the ball for Catman, loses about 1.5..TO CU...TO LSU...Catman ices the game from 37.. 25-24 Clemson.

Summarizing Thoughts

All the credit in the world goes to Tajh Boyd and Nuk Hopkins. They did everything they could possibly do to win this game. That 4th down play will be legendary.

Look at all the times Tajh threw under pressure, until the last couple drives he had zero time to do anything. Even then, our OL managed to let someone come free on every other play due to bad blitz pickup. However, the call to remove Joe Gore and swap Brandon Thomas over to RT was the coaching decision that kept us in this. If Gore stays out there, we may not have gotten even the 5 yards in the 3rd Q, much less the 4th.

Isaiah Battle really impressed, I did not think he was ready for a game like this given how little he played but he stepped right in and did the job. He needs to work on a few things but he showed enough to make him a likely starter projection this fall. Really moved his feet well. He has NFL potential.

Overall, you have to be disappointed in the OL's performance, though some blame could be given to the blocking schemes. Again we did not keep enough in there to block.

FSU had a deeper line, but LSU has better speed ends and blitzes far more often. We handled FSU far far better than this game. I think we handled SC better, since Tajh walked into half the plays Clowney made on him.

Most of the gains Clemson had on the ground were outside plays, so at least we knew not to run inside against someone like Minter and a deep DT pool. Obviously Clemson needed to call more of them instead of letting Tajh carry the football 30 times.

The number of plays wore down this LSU defense in the 4th quarter. 100 snaps is probably 40 or so more than what LSU faced on average per game. Even in their worst games defensively, I'd be surprised if they went more than 75. The Time of Possession doesn't matter, making the defense run full speed and stay on their feet for 100 plays is what kills any defense. It would've been a miracle if they had stifled us after facing 80 plays through 3 quarters, but they almost did.

You have to scratch your head at several LSU playcalls. Blitzes and sacks forced them out of their gameplan, which I still cannot figure out, but even when they had short yardage they didn't run the ball. I don't get why anyone calls plays that go against their proven strength. This was my issue with Clemson in 2010 as well. If you have RBs and a minimal passing game, you run it. Don't out-think yourself. LSU did not call their best play, pitch isolation, even once against Clemson. Dumb. They got the ball with 2:43 and didn't call one run play with a lead. Dumb.

That said, our Front 7 played their best game of the year. We didn't miss many tackles, huge plus. Gap control was extremely good for the most part. Maybe they wouldn't have if LSU went with their strengths, but we'll never know.

Back 4 did much better in coverage, they jammed better, but the passing stats, as always, are partially attributable to the pass rush, and ours was probably the best its been all year. We didnt rush the passer this well against Boston College.

The Chad