For LSU, the thrilling 31-27 victory over Arkansas gives the Tigers a shot to do something that no other LSU team has ever done.
If the Tigers win their bowl game, they will get to double-digit wins for the fourth-straight year. With scholarship limits, players leaving early for the NFL draft and constant changes on the coaching staff, that is quite an accomplishment.
This LSU team lost Tyrann Mathieu, Sam Montgomery, Barkevious Mingo, Tharold Simon, Eric Reid, Kevin Minter and Bennie Logan early to the NFL draft on defense and it certainly showed in their play in 2013. But you saw an offensive explosion rarely seen from an LSU football team. The 2013 version of the Tigers averaged 37 points per game, scoring 58 touchdowns and 444 points in 12 games.
The Tigers also averaged 5.1 yards per rush and quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw for 3,083 yards, 22 touchdowns and completed 64.9 percent of his passes.
Give Mettenberger full credit for playing since the Ole Miss game with a knee injury. We all saw his courage and football grit late against the Razorbacks. Halfback Jeremy Hill, who was suspended for the first two games, rushed for 1,185 yards this season, averaged 6.8 yards per carry and scored 14 rushing touchdowns.
The best wide receiver tandem in college football, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, caught a total of 132 passes for 2,289 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Late in the Arkansas win, we also got to see a glimpse of the future in quarterback Anthony Jennings and wide receiver Travin Dural.
The bad news is that Mettenberger is a senior and there are strong indications that LSU will lose Landry, Beckham, Hill, offensive lineman La’el Collins and running back Kenny Hilliard early to the 2014 NFL draft, but those gentlemen have a chance to do something no one could have believed - win 10 or more games four straight seasons.
Tiger fans soak this moment up because we may not see another offense this talented for some time.
Now for 2014, the rebuilding has to continue on defense and the young puppies brought in during the 2013 recruiting class, Tre’Davious White, Rashard Robinson, Destrehan’s Rickey Jefferson, Duke Riley, Greg Gilmore, Christian LaCouture, Frank Herron, Tashawn Bower, Kendell Beckwith and Maquedis Bain, have to grow up to full grown men out on the field.
Late in the year I liked what I saw from defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Jermauria Rasco and linebacker Kwon Alexander. However, this unit will have to be much better next year for the Tigers to get to 10 or more wins.
The good news on offense is that four offensive linemen return for the Tigers along with a new-age version of Kevin Faulk in Terrence Magee.
Top prep recruits, like halfback Leonard Fournette and wide receivers Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil, also got to see a glimpse of the future in Anthony Jennings at quarterback late in the Arkansas contest.
Lots of folks give Les Miles quite a bit of grief, and at times you can well understand why, but give this quirky coach a lot of credit for being on the verge of doing something no coach in LSU history has ever done before.