Bowl season opens Saturday with the Celebration Bowl’s noon kickoff.
Mark Clements and Jerit Roser will, of course and as always, dive into specific analysis and breakdown of LSU’s next matchup, in this case a Citrus Bowl date with Notre Dame.
But, with nearly three weeks until that 2014 Music City Bowl rematch, the Tiger Pride Podcast duo decided to dive head first into “college bowl mania” and open the door to a little friendly competition in Baton Rouge, too.
Perkinston, Miss. — Lindsey Scott Jr. turned to the overflowing stands with less than four minutes remaining Sunday and waved his arms to encourage the sea of red-clad fans to roar behind the East Mississippi defense.
EMCC quarterback Lindsey Scott prepares to take a snap during the Lions’ 31-28 national championship defeat of Arizona Western in Perkinston, Miss. (Photo by Jerit Roser, DatBoot.com)
The standout quarterback could finally feel his three-and-a-half month detour culminating in the goal he had set at its inception — one he prioritized more than almost anyone seemed to understand.
No. 1 EMCC closed out a 31-28 defeat of No. 2 Arizona Western to claim its first NJCAA national championship since 2014.
And only now will Scott and his family finally turn their focus to his highly anticipated second Division-I recruiting process.
“I wanted to take care of this game first,” he said at the conclusion of a fall that began on hometown LSU’s roster. “And now that we’ve won it, I’m extremely happy. And now I can look to see where I’m gonna go next. I think I did it the right way. And anybody else that’s taking the same footsteps, that’s what I’d consider is football first.
“Football is about your teammates and about winning. And everything else will take care of itself.”
The heavy criticism that swirled around first-year coach Ed Orgeron and his LSU football team less than two months ago seem so much more distant.
The Tigers (9-3, 6-2) rolled past Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4) on Saturday, 45-21, to claim a sixth win in their past seven outings to not only salvage a bumpy September, but put together an impressive season overall.
And set the foundation nicely for the near-future in the process.
“After the Troy game (Sept. 30), I couldn’t think but about one second at a time, to be honest with you,” Orgeron said. “I could not look that far. I knew that we could get the team together, try to take it one day at a time, try to get the team right, fix the things that we could fix.
“After looking back at all the things that we went through, it’s a remarkable feat by a football team and our coaching staff.”
Next up: another struggling SEC foe in Tennessee, fresh off a coaching change.
Can the Volunteers present much of a challenge? Or will the Tigers carry their momentum right through the trip to Knoxville and back home against Texas A&M?
Jerit Roser and Mark Clements break down the eventual rout of the Razorbacks — including Danny Etling’s 11-for-16 performance, D.J. Chark’s big day, Derrius Guice’s three touchdowns, the kicking issues and the top defensive performances — and preview the trip to Knoxville, Tenn.
A muffed punt in the opening minutes provided a moment of concern that Saturday’s rare 11 a.m. kickoff might provide some difficulties for D.J. Chark and 16-point favorite LSU (7-3).
But the senior wide receiver bounced back from the early miscue, just as he had during the team’s most recent home game, and played a leading role in the Tigers’ eventual 33-10 dismissal of Arkansas.
“You’re gonna make mistakes,” he said. “But I’m blessed to be able to get another opportunity after I might mess up. No one wants to mess up. But if you do, you have to shake it off and worry about it after the game … I just came in after the mistake early on and was able to talk to the special teams guys and just find ways to not let that happen again, try not to force things and take what they gave us. And I’m just happy to just go back out on offense and contribute.”
By the end of the first quarter, Chark had hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Danny Etling for the morning’s first score.
The duo added a beautiful 68-yard connection — one of their best of the season and a highlight of a 26-point second half — on the first play of the fourth quarter to essentially, finally put the Razorbacks away.
“I’m just blessed to be put in those opportunities,” Chark said. “We never really think about the statistics. We just play to each other’s strengths. And I feel like the coaches see (the long ball) as one of my strengths, and we were able to execute it.”
And Chark’s 130 yards on four receptions led Etling’s six different receivers and accounted for 59.9 percent of the quarterback’s passing yardage for the day.