It's been a recurring theme for almost a decade, as the Rebels yet again lost a fourth quarter lead against the LSU Tigers in Death Valley last night, falling 35-41 by surrendering 21 points in the game's final 15 minutes. It sucked, but it was not unexpected, as this team has shown that it can scheme and effort its way around superior opponents for good portions of ballgames, only to fall short due to its lack of depth, experience, and size.
My mind is wandering all over the place right now, and I do want to hear what you all think about yesterday, so I'm going to simply offer some of my takeaways from yesterday:
- Bo Wallace is a good SEC quarterback. As just a redshirt sophomore, he has shown that he can lead an offense and score against any competition. As with just about any quarterback playing his first season at this level, he is prone to making some mistakes, but he has improved significantly as the season has progressed. If the rumors of his injured shoulder are indeed true, then that could explain the lack of zip he had on a few of his passes yesterday. Still, his touchdown passes to Moncrief, as well as his 58-yard touchdown in the first quarter, were fantastic.
- Speaking of Moncrief, aside from an inexcusable dropped pass which fluttered into the hands of an LSU defender, he was absolutely dominant yesterday. The fact that he and Wallace are only sophomores is pretty damned exciting.
- We are going to miss Randall Mackey next year. He isn't particularly dominant at anything, but his versatility is very valuable. Few players can pose both a receiving and running threat as well as he can.
- I think Hugh Freeze called his offense masterfully last night. I also think he had this team as prepared as anyone could have for the game.
- The defense did well at times, getting pressure on the quarterback and forcing some big turnovers. Senquez Golson's over-the-shoulder interception was absolutely excellent. They were absolutely exhausted late in the game, and it showed. I do think that, if recruiting continues to go as well as it has been and our strength and conditioning program is as good as we want to believe it is, that this defense is going to improve significantly over time.
- Special teams cost the Rebels the game. I know we're hard on the guy, but it is fair to ask if Korvic Neat surely is the best option we have to return punts. His decision-making is really suspect at times, and has cost us some significant chunks of field position in several games this season. His muffed punt was also huge for LSU.
- I do admire the efforts of Jim Broadway most of the time, but it'll be nice to have Tyler Campbell back next season.
- And, really, y'all need to, like, tackle Odell Beckham and stuff.
But if there's any solace in the loss, it's that we sorta caused this to happen:
Oh well, that's over and done with. We fought hard but fell short. I think this team has proven that they're working hard and heading in the right direction, something which I'm confident much of the rest of the Southeastern Conference has noticed.
On to the Egg Bowl, y'all.