TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It was unlike any offensive game plan LSU ran against Alabama in recent memory.
At least for a while.
Danny Etling threw deep often. Russell Gage ran the jet sweep more than he ever has. And the most explosive play of the Tigers' 24-10 loss to the Crimson Tide on Saturday was a 54-yard run by Darrel Williams out of a wildcat-style formation.
Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. Alabama extended its winning streak over the Tigers to seven consecutive games.
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Still, if only for a moment, LSU's different approach on offense, led by first-year head coach Ed Orgeron and coordinator Matt Canada, was a breath of fresh air for a program that seemed stuck in the mud the past few years under Orgeron's predecessor, Les Miles.
The new-look offense wasn’t a total surprise to the Crimson Tide, which surely watched video of Canada's multiple shifts and players in motion since the first play of the season.
The difference between LSU's previous games and Saturday's attack, however, was the frequency with which the Tigers used some unfamiliar plays.
Etling attempted 16 passes in the first half — more than he threw in all but three games this season. (He completed 8 of those first 16 throws.)
Though the majority of those passes came on third down, Canada wasn’t afraid to let Etling and wideout DJ Chark try the deep ball throughout the night.
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It might have worked, too, if Etling had not underthrown and sometimes overthrown his receivers on several downfield shots.
Still, the senior completed six passes for 10 or more yards.
Orgeron said if a couple of those long passes could've connected the game may have ended differently.
"Mistiming, misjudging and things like that," Etling said. "Whether it was a misjudged ball or maybe I just should've put it out there a little farther and given them a chance instead of just throwing it out there and making them make the play — that's on me."
One of LSU’s favorite plays Saturday was the jet sweep to Gage.
It was effective at first. Gage broke his first run for 9 yards, but gained fewer with each attempt in the first half. As Alabama keyed in on Gage every time he went in motion, the receiver ran for 9, 6, 2 and then no yards on four attempts before halftime.
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He got back up to runs of 6 and 5 yards before Canada and LSU abandoned the jet sweep in the fourth quarter.
Gage described the play as a double-edged sword for defenders, opening up other areas while they focused on him. He added, however, execution could've been better.
Perhaps the most surprising play of the night was Williams’ long run out of the wildcat due to it being the first time the Tigers showed a direct snap to the running back.
In the limited number of times LSU ran the wildcat before Saturday, Williams never received the snap.
He did so twice Saturday, with the second setting up his own short touchdown run a few plays later.
"Looks like we needed (the wildcat)," Orgeron said. "Maybe a little more of it.
"Our guys busted their tails with the game plan. We've been working on these guys for two weeks. I thought we had the right plays called. We just didn't make the plays we needed to."