No. 14 Notre Dame Proved Too Much for No. 17 LSU in The Citrus Bowl Presented by Overton’s: The Takeaway
Orlando, FL — When LSU and Notre Dame were selected to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL, they expected Florida’s patented warm and sunny weather. Instead, they got sub 50 degrees and rainy.
The Tigers (9-4, 6-2 SEC) adjusted better early on than Notre Dame (10-3), in front of the 57,726 fans who braved the cold elements.
The first three quarters were lethargic and sloppy. Complete with a combined 13 points, nine punts, two missed field goals and a pair of LSU special teams miscues that could have proved disastrous.
However, the fourth quarter provided some fireworks with 25 points. Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book tossed a 55-yard touchdown pass to Miles Boykin with 1:28 remaining. Notre Dame won its first New Year’s Day bowl since 1994.
LSU’s loss to the Fighting Irish is their second consecutive bowl loss to Notre Dame.
Ian To The Rescue
Notre Dame starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush proved ineffective vs. LSU’s stout defense. Just 3-8 with 58 yards, Fighting Irish head Coach Brian Kelly pulled Wimbush in favor of Book.
Kelly made a similar move against the Miami Hurricanes earlier in the year. This time it paid off as Book went 14-19 for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Kelly has a tough decision to make at quarterback going forward. Wimbush is more mobile and helped Notre Dame become the seventh-ranked rushing offense in the nation. However, Book is clearly the better passer. The decision could decide Kelly’s future with the program.
Notre Dame vs. The SEC
The Fighting Irish improve to 2-2 vs. their last four SEC opponents. However, the two wins came against LSU in bowl games, with weeks to prepare.
Still, Notre Dame has to feel great about the Citrus Bowl victory, after playing a tough schedule that included 11 bowl-eligible teams. The Fighting Irish went toe-to-toe with LSU on the goal line, stopping them twice.
LSU Losing More Than The Citrus Bowl
Transfer quarterback Danny Etling, played extremely well for the Tigers, passing for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU will have to regroup on offense going into next season, losing Etling along with five other starters on offense.
Tigers running back Derrius Guice had 98 yards on the ground and scored LSU’s only touchdowns with two receiving touchdowns. Guice will decide his future in the coming weeks, stay at LSU for a senior season, or go to the NFL.
Both teams have no margin for error in the upcoming offseason preparations.
Notre Dame opens up against Michigan in week one. Kelly will have to replace three starters on the offensive line as the Fighting Irish decide which quarterback to play,
LSU opens up against Miami at AT&T Stadium. The Hurricanes bring back a lot of talent on offense and defense, to go along with a top-five recruiting class.