Tiger offense struggles in 27-14 win over ULM

LSU quarterback Max Johnson (14)
LSU quarterback Max Johnson (14)(Josh Auzenne | WAFB)
Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2021 at 11:35 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The LSU Tigers (5-6, 2-5 SEC) struggled offensively, specifically in the red zone, in their 27-14 win over Louisiana-Monroe (4-7, 2-5 SBC) on Saturday, Nov. 20.

The Tigers had four trips to the red zone and only came away with 10 points.

This was the first game the Tigers have played against an in-state opponent in which they failed to reach the 30-point mark since 2009 when they defeated Louisiana Tech, 24-16.

Max Johnson got the start at quarterback with freshman Garrett Nussmeier taking the redshirt. Nussmeier will not play the final two games of the regular season.

Johnson was 22-of-33 passing for 319 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a score.

The Tigers had 91 yards rushing. Ty Davis-Price led the ground attack with 21 carries for 82 yards.

LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers (8)
LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers (8)(Josh Auzenne | WAFB)

Freshman Malik Nabers caught four passes for 143 yards and a touchdown and fellow freshman Brian Thomas Jr. had with four receptions for 61 yards and a score.

The LSU defense got things started by forcing a quick three-and-out. The offense kept the momentum going with a five-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off with a 3-yard touchdown run by Johnson to make it 7-0.

The Warhawks responded with their own march down the field to the 2-yard line, but on fourth down, Rhett Rodriguez’s pass fell short of the end zone and LSU got the ball back on downs.

Next, LSU went 73 yards on 12 plays but Cade York missed a 44-yard field goal attempt. Jay Ward then intercepted Rodriguez’s pass on third down and returned it for what looked to be a pick-six, but after review, it was ruled he stepped out of bounds.

The Tiger offense took over on the Warhawk 33-yard line but the offense struggled and only managed to advance the ball 24 yards on nine plays and settled for a 27-yard field goal from York to make it 10-0. Johnson threw three straight incompletions from the 9-yard line on the drive.

LSU’s defense forced another three-and-out and the Tigers took a 17-0 lead when Johnson connected with Nabers on a 67-yard touchdown pass.

The Tigers got the ball back after another ULM punt but the offense gained just seven yards on six plays. LSU then tried a fake punt but Avery Atkins’s pass was intercepted to give the Warhawks great field position.

ULM capitalized on the mistake, as Rodriguez found Boogie Knight for a 28-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 17-7 at the half.

LSU received the ball to start the second half and put together a 15-play, 51-yard drive but the red zone woes continued as the Tigers elected to go for it on fourth down from the Warhawk 14-yard line and Johnson’s pass was incomplete.

The defense for the Tigers forced another punt. The offense finally found the end zone again as Johnson moved around the pocket and found Thomas for a 42-yard score to make it 24-7.

The Warhawks also found the end zone again as Chandler Rogers hooked up with Zach Rasmussen for the 27-yard score to cut the lead to 24-14.

ULM tried an onside kick but the Tigers recovered the ball. LSU added another York field goal. This one was from 50 yards out and extended the lead to 27-14.

The Tigers will look to become bowl eligible and reach .500 when they host Texas A&M on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 6 p.m.

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