Colonels score first win of the season

Saints



Quarterbacks – Whether it’s because of Sean Payton’s absence, his new contract or a poor offensive line, Drew Brees just isn’t the same this season. A 55 percent completion rate against the Chiefs? Yeah – something is wrong somewhere.



Grade: C+

Halfbacks – Mark Ingram pounded the Chiefs’ defense for a whole whopping 11 yards Sunday, giving him a resounding 79 yards for the season. Bust alert? I think so.



Grade: C



Receivers – Robert Meachem is sorely missed inside this group. Having one fewer weapon on the edges is making guys like Jimmy Graham (16 yards) and Darren Sproles (0 catches) so much easier to guard.

Grade: B-



Offensive line – Brees was sacked four times and hit countless others. Take away a 47-yard scamper by Sproles and the team would have rushed for about 30 yards. Yeah, the offensive line flagged this week’s test.



Grade: F

Defensive line – Speaking of people who flagged this week’s test, the Saints allowed Jamaal Charles to gash them for 231 yards on the ground. Prior to Sunday’s game, Charles had just 90 yards all season.



Grade: F



Linebackers – Curtis Lofton is a monster on the Saints’ defense. He has been the bright spot of what it hands-down the worst defense in the entire NFL.

Grade: B+



Defensive backs – For once, the Saints’ defensive backs weren’t the major culprit in the team’s defensive failures. Even in their best day of the season, they weren’t very good.



Grade: C+

Special teams – The Saints lost an overtime game on an afternoon when Garrett Hartley missed a chip shot field goal. According to my math, that is the culprit for the defeat just as much as the team’s inept defense.



Grade: D



Coaching staff – I won’t say overly bad things in print about Aaron Kromer because he didn’t ask for this job. But this guy is proving why he was always a lower-tiered assistant coach – we’ll leave it at that.

Grade: F



Overall – The Saints are now 0-3 and appear doomed. The teams who have beat them all aren’t worth their salts (they all only have one win – New Orleans) and the team’s defense regresses every week. I knew Sean Payton was valuable, but there is no way that he is this valuable. The team is just flat-out playing bad. There’s no excuse for that.



Grade: F

LSU


Quarterbacks – It’s so hard to grade Zach Mettenberger in this game. The stats weren’t great, but he had absolutely no time to throw the football. The kid did solid all things considered.



Grade: B-

Halfbacks – For the first month of the season, LSU’s backs were able to bully opponents. They were drawn into a dog fight on Saturday and fared well when one considers the best of the bunch was out of the lineup.



Grade: B



Receivers – LSU really misses Rueben Randle. The lack of a true No. 1 target is really making the team’s offensive line look worse than it is.

Grade: D



Offensive line – It’s easy to blame these guys for LSU’s struggles. But it’s also lazy, too. If the LSU receivers could simply beat 1-on-1 coverage, sacks would be turning into quick hitters for yardage. It’s hard to protect a quarterback when an opponent sends more guys than you have blockers.



Grade: C

Defensive line – Take away two gimmicky runs and Auburn couldn’t move the football through the ground all night. Even with them, they had just 85 rushing yards.



Grade: A-

Linebackers – The LSU linebackers have really matured into a group that fans can be proud of. If not for several open-field tackles to prevent big gains, the Alabama-based Tigers would have won this game.

Grade: B+

Defensive backs – These guys continue to impress after limiting Auburn quarterback Kiehl Frazier to just 97 passing yards and three interceptions.

Grade: A

Special teams – Drew Alleman and Brad Wing do a little bit too much tweeting for guys who collectively stink up the joint on an SEC Saturday. No one wants to hear a kicker, nor a punter speak. Shush your 100-plus character messages and just kick the football straight for a change.

Grade: D

Coaching staff – I’m pretty sure Les Miles and his staff would like to use a mulligan on this game. Facing overly aggressive pass rushers, the Tigers never utilized a screen pass, nor a draw play. They also rarely chipped the rushers with a tight end. Why? I’m not sure. But this strategic gaffe, combined with an eight penalty evening, nearly cost LSU its title dreams.

Grade: C-

Overall – A wise man once said that there is no such thing as a bad SEC win. That wise man is accurate. LSU played nowhere near its best game on Saturday, really laboring on offense for most of the night. But adversity breeds character and I believe the Tigers will be better because they learned how to win a close, hard-fought game. That type of grit lacked last year’s dominant squad.

Grade: B-

Nicholls

Quarterbacks – It may have come against an inferior opponent, but the Colonels were finally able to utilize a more vertical passing game. Time will tell if Landry Klann can build on Saturday’s solid performance.

Grade: B+

Halfbacks – Without LaQuintin Caston, three Colonels ball carriers rushed for 90 or more yards. Jesse Turner looked like he’s rounding into form nicely in a solid effort.

Grade: A-

Receivers – A total of 12 Colonels caught passes – a group led by Josh Hanberry. It’s hard to fault that type of production.

Grade: A

Offensive line – I’m always on the back of the Nicholls’ line. This week, they get their credit. A 600-plus-yard offensive day wouldn’t be possible without stout play up front.

Grade: B+

Defensive line – The Colonels’ defensive line could have played better. But a solid performance was plenty enough to clinch the team’s first win.

Grade: B-

Linebackers – Jordan Piper is a monster along Nicholls’ linebacker corps. He is really, really fun to watch.

Grade: B+

Defensive backs – Forcing three interceptions is nice, but Evangel shouldn’t have 285 passing yards on anyone, much less on Nicholls.

Grade: C

Special teams – The Colonels’ coverage teams surely were tested in this slaughter. All-in-all, it’s hard to fault Nicholls’ special teams for anything in Saturday’s game.

Grade: B

Coaching staff – With Caston out, I was very curious to see how Charlie Stubbs handled his offensive play calling. Instead of changing the game plan, he instead used youngster Tuskani Figaro to play the “Caston role” of the team’s offense. It worked against Evangel. How long will it last? Time will tell.

Grade: B

Overall – Sure, Evangel is nowhere near Nicholls’ caliber. But the Colonels have to play the team that’s on the schedule. A win is a win and the Colonels have to start somewhere. With a bye week coming, it will be interesting to see how Nicholls fares in Southland play. I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep this roll going.

Grade: A-