The LSU Tigers’ expectations for the 2022 season have already been exceeded. Through eight games, the Bayou Bengals are 6-2 entering a marquee match-up against Alabama on November 5. In Brian Kelly’s first year at the helm, the Tigers look to be rebounding from the abysmal final two seasons under Ed Orgeron. Currently tied for first in the SEC West, LSU has shocked the SEC with the team’s dominating play on offense.
After the season-opening loss to Florida State, many wrote the Tigers off for the year. However, the team reeled off five straight wins into mid-October. Wins over Mississippi State, Auburn, and Florida put the Tigers into contention for a division title. But two weeks ago, LSU lost in disappointing fashion to Tennessee 40-13. Then last week, the program looked alive and well as the Tigers defeated No. 7 Ole Miss 45-20 inside Tiger Stadium.
Offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock has done a tremendous job coaching the offense to gain the success that the unit has accomplished so far. Jayden Daniels continues to impress under center with each game. Running backs Josh Williams and Armoni Goodwin are leading the charge on the ground. At wide receiver, Kayshon Boutte grew frustrated early on with the lack of targets. But as of late, his numbers have gone up. In the win over the Rebels, Boutte had four catches for 43 yards.
LSU’s offensive line has improved as well. While plagued with injuries to starters Will Campbell and Garrett Dellinger, the Tigers have found depth in the back-ups and continue to give Daniels time in the pocket. Early in the season, it looked as if that was going to be an issue. However, that narrative is no more as the unit has shown progress each week.
In the past two games, LSU has allowed a total of 55 points and 799 yards of offense. While those numbers are head-scratchers, the key plays the defense is making is what has the unit on the upswing. B.J. Ojulari, Ali Gaye, and Micah Baskerville have taken leadership on that side of the ball. But newcomers Mekhi Wingo and Harold Perkins have made significant impacts on defensive coordinator Matt House’s unit.
In the secondary, Sage Ryan and Joe Foucha have defended opposing receivers well. The Tigers are on a tear defensively and show no signs of slowing down. In House’s first year with the program, his defense looks solid. It seems as if the Tigers are back to the Dave Aranda days on defense. Fast, physical, hard-hitting key defensive plays elevated the unit to have numerous NFL Draft picks in Aranda’s tenure.
The final four games for LSU are critical. Many had LSU finishing 8-5 or 7-4 in Kelly’s first season. However, there is the opportunity for the team to finish 9-3 or 10-2. A win over Alabama would be monumental for the season. Games against Arkansas, UAB, and Texas A&M still await the Tigers in November. If the offense continues to roll, LSU could pave its path to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. Arkansas and A&M are on a down year, and UAB is an almost guaranteed win barring a bad coaching day from Kelly and the staff.
What Kelly did previously at Notre Dame looks to be transferring well to LSU. The amount of draft picks, quality wins, and National Championship contentions is one of Kelly’s greatest attributes as a storied coach. After what transpired in 2019, the Tigers are hungry for another title. While it is unlikely to happen this season, Kelly could well end up winning one or a few in Baton Rouge.
As the season rolls into the final month of the regular season, the LSU Tigers’ expectations will continue to increase in the final four games.