LSU-Texas Tech grades: Fournette finishes season on high note
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Tigers’ 56-27 win against the Red Raiders in the Texas Bowl.
While stats can be deceiving sometimes, yesterday this was not the case as Leonard Fournette’s (+6.5) dominant performance earned him the highest grade in this game. While the five missed tackles he forced on 29 carries may not seem impressive, this was due to the fact that once he got to the second level, defenders were unable to catch him. Even when they got to Fournette, it was really difficult to bring him to the ground as he averaged 3.5 yards after contact. In addition to his running performance, Fournette took his only reception to the house for a 44-yard touchdown.
The dominance of the LSU offense started upfront with its offensive line. The unit combined to allow one total pressure all night and even that was just a quarterback hurry. They were dominant not only in pass protection but also in opening up space for ball carriers. As a result, the Tigers averaged 4.3 yards before contact on carries. The unit was led by left tackle Jerald Hawkins (+3.8), center Ethan Pocic (+2.2) and left guard Maea Teuherna (+2.0) who all had very good games.
It was not only LSU’s offensive line that won the battle in the trenches but also its defensive front. The Tigers’ defense recorded 32 total pressures overall, including five sacks and six hits. Three defenders really stood out when it came to rushing the passer as Davon Godchaux (+4.4), Tashawn Bower (+4.9) and Arden Key (+3.9) combined to record 3 sacks, 4 hits and 11 hurries.
RB Leonard Fournette (+6.5)
DE Tashawn Bower (+4.9)
DT Davon Godchaux (+4.4)
DE Arden Key (+3.9)
LT Jerald Hawkins (+3.8)
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Similarly to Fournette, Texas Tech running back DeAndre Washington (+1.9) also played well in yesterday’s bowl game. While his numbers were not really good when he carried the football, he had to fight for every yard as he did not get a lot of help from his offensive line. Washington actually averaged more yards (2.5) after contact than before (1.2). He was a contributor in the passing game as well by catching all seven of his catchable targets and earning all 81 of his yards after the catch.
Washington was not the only player on the Texas Tech offense who played well and wide receiver Jakeem Grant (+2.7) actually played even better than the running back. Similarly to Washington, Grant created a lot of problems for LSU’s defense after the catch as he gained 108 of his 125 receiving yards with the ball in his hands. He caught 10 of his 14 targets on the day, including three touchdowns, and the fact that he beat six different LSU defenders for a reception shows how difficult it was for the Tigers to contain him.
Although everyone wrote down the Texas Tech defense prior to the game, the unit actually played relatively well in the early stages of the game and was not the kind of liability in this game that everyone expected them to be. In addition, while they had one of the worst run defenses in the country, their two lowest-graded players in this game were cornerbacks Nigel Bethel II (-1.9) and Justis Nelson (-1.8) who earned such low grades because of their performance in coverage.
WR Jakeem Grant (+2.7)
RB DeAndre Washington (+1.9)
RT Emeka Okafor (+1.8)
CB Tevin Madison (+1.3)
ILB Malik Jenkins (+1.3)