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LSU put a hidden-yardage special on Miami

Week 1’s version of Sunday night football looked at times like a blowout, but don’t let appearances fool you.

NCAA Football: Miami at Louisiana State Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Fourth quarter

0:00: LSU 33, Miami 17: There was a time when LSU led this game by 30 points. If you only looked at the scoreboard, it certainly looked like the Canes were getting the doors blown off of them. But the final score didn’t show how close the actual play was on the field, with Miami actually producing more total yardage and yards per play.

What’s not shown on that stat recap: average starting field position. The Tigers had their drives start on average at their own 43-yard line. When you basically start every drive at midfield, it’s hard not to win.

LSU dominated special teams as well. Note the Tigers were perfect on four field goals, including a long of 54, while the Canes missed one. Miami also shanked a few punts, averaging a mere 36.4 per punt on the night, and LSU added a 22-yard punt return as well.

Add together all those field goals that were in LSU’s favor (four makes and one Miami miss) to the pick six, and you have 22 points in a game won by 16. The Tigers won with the little things.

4:42: LSU 33, Miami 17: Miami is unable to convert on 4th and 10 from the LSU 40-yard line. Things are looking bleak for the Canes.

5:22: LSU 33, Miami 17: Brian Hightower adds another beauty to his highlight reel from Sunday night:

8:43: LSU 33, Miami 17: [extremely broadcasting the game voice] It’s now a two-score game after Brian Hightower reeled this one in:

10:10: LSU 33, Miami 10: Ed Orgeron got mad.

13:57: LSU 33, Miami 10: Miami has found the end zone on a Malik Rosier 3-yard touchdown rush. They still have a long way to go.

There’s also this, despite the score:

14:31: LSU 33, Miami 3: Fan morale update...

Third quarter

:59: LSU 33, Miami 3: This was just a ridiculously good catch by Miami’s Jeff Thomas. Finally, something good.

3:51: LSU 33, Miami, 3: Another field goal for Cole Tracy. A 54-yarder. His fourth of the night. He’s flexing.

4:32: LSU 30, Miami 3: LSU has gotten yet another interception, and they’ll start with the ball on Miami’s 41-yard line after a shifty return by John Battle.

This is a complete picture of what’s going on with Miami fans:

7:32: LSU 30, Miami 3: Miami holds LSU to their third field goal of the night after the Tigers get down to Miami’s 3-yard line. Something positive for Miami, I guess!

9:57: LSU 27, Miami 3: Hey, just checking in. Miami’s first possession of the quarter resulted in... a punt.

Halftime.

LSU 27, Miami 3

Looks like Leonard Fournette is watching — and enjoying — the game.

Second quarter

1:30: LSU 27, Miami 3: Man, Miami doing absolutely no favors for itself on consecutive punts by the Tigers coming out of the shadow of their own goalposts. On the first punt, Miami got a running into the kicker penalty. On the next one, the Canes got called for leaping the shield, and that one gave LSU a new first down.

Miami handed LSU 20 yards of penalties and the ball back, and the Tigers just kneeled on the ball to head into half from there.

4:21: LSU 27, Miami 3: Uhh ... welp.

4:56: LSU 20, Miami 3: Tigers get to the doorstep, but have to kick a field goal. Miami again gives up a chunk play thanks to the run, but this time it was the threat of it. A play action pass got LSU in the red zone.

9:21: LSU 17, Miami 3: It looked like the Tigers maybe scored on a long Joe Burrow completion to Ja’Marr Chase, but no biggie — the Tigers punched it in on the next play. That’s after an 11-play drive in which they converted on two fourth down conversions.

First quarter

:35: LSU 10, Miami 3: LSU’s been a garbage fire before the snap, but after the snap? That ain’t been half bad. Please feast your eyes on this simple zone run the Tigers score their first touchdown on. Pay close attention to the right side of the offensive line, stymying backside Miami pressure, and the left guard climbing to the second level to spring the big play.

3:05: LSU 3, Miami 3: Attention: The LSU Fightin’ Tigers have used all three timeouts in less than 12 minutes of game time. I’m impressed.

6:49: LSU 3, Miami 3: Tie ballgame after Bubba Baxa hits an equalizer. ESPN’s graphic on-screen had Baxa as only making 4-10 field goals during his senior year. He was still the 14th-ranked kicker in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

7:56: LSU 3, Miami 0: Dad’s in the house.

8:31: LSU 3, Miami 0: LSU does little with the friendly terrain. But a big loss for Miami: cornerback Trajan Bandy ejected for targeting.

10:37: LSU 0, Miami 0: The Canes were hugely opportunistic last season with the whole turnover chain thing, but they’re a little slow to the punch early on.

Nobody on this screen recovered this LSU fumble (but it stayed with the Tigers ... somehow).

15:00: LSU 0, Miami 0: Kickoff is shortly after 7:37 p.m. ET.


Game preview by James Brady

The No. 8 Miami Hurricanes will see an early test in the form of the No. 25 LSU Tigers on Sunday. The Week 1 college football matchup will be played from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC (live streaming via WatchESPN, ABC).

Miami started last season by rattling off 10 consecutive wins, but they faltered down the stretch, losing their regular season finale in addition to the ACC Championship game and the Orange Bowl. The Tigers scraped together a 3-2 record before winning six of their last seven, but also fell well short of expectations a year ago.

Now both hope to be in the national picture and the College Football Playoff this time around. Both teams have a big opportunity to make a statement on Sunday.

Time, TV channel, and streaming info

  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Tx.
  • TV: ABC
  • Streaming: WatchESPN, ABC
  • Odds: The Hurricanes opened as 3-point favorites.

LSU vs. Miami news:

  • LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton has been reinstated by the NCAA and will be available to play in Week 1:

Fulton will almost assuredly slide directly into the starting cornerback role opposite of Greedy Williams, as had been expected when his suspension was originally upheld two weeks ago. Fulton was originally suspended for two years for attempting to use fake urine in an NCAA drug test, before pouring it out and using his own when caught. A drug test that he ultimately passed.

  • Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz talked about Sunday’s game, and noted that the Hurricanes will be focused on stopping the LSU running game, forcing Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow to throw the ball.
  • Malik Rosier is the Miami starting quarterback against the Tigers, the team revealed with their official depth chart release. Burrow is starting for LSU, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see sophomore Myles Brennan see some action.
  • Mark Pope figures to be a big factor for the Hurricanes this season, but the receiver hasn’t yet earned the trust of his coaches, so he is not one of the starters. Not yet, anyway.
  • The folks at And The Valley Shook put together a nice preview for the game and what to look out for on Sunday.

How far away are they both?

Both the Tigers and Hurricanes are used to national attention and contending for championships, but neither team is really sure where they are right now, and won’t be until the game gets underway on Sunday. Mark Richt seems to have Miami going in the right direction, but we really won’t know too much about them until they see the field on Sunday and battle in what is probably a College Football Playoff eliminator.

LSU vs. Miami prediction:

Miami has a projected S&P+ ranking of 17 even, with LSU sitting at 14.2, meaning the Hurricanes would have a 2.8-point advantage on a neutral field. That’s close to where the betting lines opened, and though it will be close, Miami is simply the smarter pick.