Houston (CBS Houston) – Kenny Hilliard played the hero as he crossed into the end zone for his lone touchdown of the night. His score capped off 21 straight Tiger points leading his team to a 28-24 win in the Advocare Texas Kickoff.
It didn’t seem like the Tigers would ever take-off on the ground. The typically potent ground game amassed just 49 yards through three quarters.
“We had young lineman mistakes,” said LSU Head Coach Les Miles.
The young linemen grew up in a hurry.
77 yards on the ground along with two interceptions by their defense led Miles’ Tigers back to victory.
“I think we played sloppy,” Miles said. “I think we did everything we could have possibly have done to the latest possible time to do it, before we decided to, you know, play best.”
Miles said it will be easier to address some of the mistakes by young players since the team pulled out a win.
One of those young players was Miles’ standout signal caller Anthony Jennings.
Jennings finished the day with 238 yards and two touchdowns despite completing just nine of his 21 passes.
“We all knew what we had in our locker room,” Jennings said. “Went in, coaches said what they had to say. We just have to play man. We came a little slow.”
The Badgers dominated through most of the game. Despite losing multiple players along the defensive line throughout the game the Wisconsin defense stifled LSU at nearly every turn on the ground. A broken play for 80-yards was the lone egregious error by the Badgers through three quarters.
“Played very well in the first half,” said Wisconsin Head Coach Gary Anderson. “We pretty much had one big play on offense in the second half. We obviously wore down on defense.”
The big play Anderson mentioned in the second half was a Melvin Gordon rush for 63 yards which eventually led to a Wisconsin touchdown. That would be the last time the Badgers scored and looked cohesive as an offensive unit.
Badger quarterback Tanner McEvoy struggled to find receivers throughout the game. Anderson laid the blame on bad routes and said he never thought about a change quarterback because his offensive line played so poorly.
It was Miles’ team who was adjusted for the long game. Jennings said the team takes pride in being a force in the final quarter of the game. Miles echoed the sentiment in a way only he could.
“We’re a blue-collar team that will fight like hell,” Miles said. “and get in competitive games, and scrap ya. This was one of those times.”
Miles’ team will take their blue collars, purple, and gold, back to Baton Rouge as Advocare Texas Kickoff winners. As far as Miles’ black hat?
“I plead innocent to that,” he said. “They said they wanted me to try it on, I did. I’m not a black hat guy.”
Get in touch with Cody Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots