Across the (By)Line: LSU Tigers


Kentucky defensive back Tyrell Ajian (23) celebrates after a tackle during the University of Kentucky vs. Florida football game on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 20-13. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Barkley Truax

The “Across the (By)Line” series will give Kentucky football fans an in-depth look at their opponent for this week — from the mind of the opposing school’s sports editor. 

This week: The Reveille, Reed Darcey, LSU

What’s the feel around the program and fanbase after that tough loss to Auburn?

Reed: Everyone is frustrated. The fanbase was stoked for the 8 p.m. kickoff against Auburn to hear Death Valley back for the first time, really, since Joe Burrow’s last home game. Because LSU led for most of the game and Auburn didn’t take the lead until the end, I think fans are still trying to process what happened. It’s a confusing time — we’re all trying to figure out where LSU belongs in the SEC, post-national championship. Will it be without Ed Orgeron? Just a gut feeling: it really feels like it will be, barring a miraculous turnaround. Which is unbelievable, considering the state of the program less than two years ago. 

I get the general feeling that LSU is better than their record shows. Do you feel the same?

Reed: No. I think this team has some deep-rooted problems that will take a long time to solve. To name a couple:

One: The offensive line has been a huge disappointment. The talent simply isn’t there, which shouldn’t be the case because the starters are veterans. Only recruiting will solve the problem. That will take a couple years, at least.

Two: The coaching staff is not in sync with the offense. LSU spent five timeouts on Saturday night — four of them were to prevent delay of game penalties. That’s inexcusable, especially the most egregious one, which came on the final drive right after a kickoff when the offense needed a touchdown to win. It’s no secret Orgeron and his coordinators poorly managed the locker room and failed to communicate with the players in 2020. To see that issue pop up again the following year in a crucial moment was discouraging. 

Is it fair to say LSU is the underdog coming into Saturday’s game?

Reed: You bet. I saw an early line that had Kentucky as three-point favorites — that feels about right. Congrats to the Wildcats for making their Student Media Poll debut at No. 17! LSU didn’t receive a single vote for the top-25. It’ll be tough for them to pull out a win on the road. 

What’s LSU’s biggest strength offensively? Defensively?

Reed: The biggest strength on offense is receiver Kayshon Boutte. He’s the real deal. He and Max Johnson have a nice chemistry. Smooth route-runner, weapon in the red zone, improving on contested catches and nice open field speed. He’ll probably be a first-round pick.

Defensively — the defensive line. Entering the Auburn game, they were one of the best in the country. They were near the top of the country in sacks and tackles for loss. It’s a deep veteran group on the interior with some young legs on the edge. Bo Nix embarrassed them last week, so expect them to be extra motivated to bounce back against Kentucky. 

What’s your overall opinion on the Kentucky football program through five games in 2021?

Reed: They have my attention. After I saw how Florida played Alabama, I was high on the Gators — taking them down is a big deal. Shoutout to Mark Stoops for turning the program around. I’m excited to learn more about them on Saturday. But Georgia will still win the SEC East.



  • Will Levis — 73-118, 989 yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions.

  • Wan’Dale Robinson — 29 receptions, 467 yards, three touchdowns. 

  • Chris Rodriguez Jr. —  104 rushes, 612 yards, four touchdowns.

  • JJ Weaver — 15 tackles, 11 solo, four sacks, one interception.

  • DeAndre Square — 38 tackles, 23 solo, one sack.


  • Max Johnson — 113-181, 1,469 yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions.

  • Kayshon Boutte — 30 receptions, 436 yards, nine touchdowns.

  • Corey Kiner — 32 rushes, 166 yards, two touchdowns.

  • Damone Clark — 55 tackles, 36 solo.