1.1.19 LSU vs UCF

LSU sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) runs down the field during the Tigers' 40-32 victory over UCF on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, in State Farm Stadium.

The 2018 season for the LSU Tigers football team can be summed up to about two words — exceeded expectations.

During the lead-up to the Tigers opening matchup with pre-season No. 8 Miami , many fans and pundits alike feared the Tigers might lose their season opener, and many more games to follow.

Optimistic predictions had LSU finishing the regular season 8-4, while some had the Tigers finishing as low as 6-6. ESPN’s Football Power Index gave LSU only a 50 percent chance or better to win five of their 12 games, which would give the Tigers a 5-7 record.

But after seeing those 12 games played out, it became very clear just how inexact pre-season predictions can be. The opener against Miami would prove to be a lopsided 33-17 victory, and Miami would go on to finish the season 7-6 with a 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Following a win over Southeastern Louisiana, the Tigers pulled off an upset over No. 7 Auburn with a Cole Tracy walk-off field goal, proving the win over Miami was no fluke. A tough loss at Florida left the Tigers a daunting date with No. 2 Georgia in Tiger Stadium, and the result was shocking to say the least. A 36-16 scoreline in favor of LSU, prompting the student section to rush the field in one of the biggest wins at Tiger Stadium maybe ever.

A boring but easy 19-3 win over Mississippi State set the stage for a one versus three matchup with Alabama in Tiger Stadium.

This result however, did not prove to be positive, as the Crimson Tide rolled the Tigers 29-0, in what was a very disappointing result considering how LSU had played up to that point in the season.

A string of wins over Arkansas and Rice gave the Tigers a chance to get their first 10-win regular season since 2012, but would need to win at Kyle Field over Texas A&M to do it.

What ensued might be the wildest result in an LSU football game: seven overtimes, 146 combined points (the most ever in FBS history), and a tie for the longest game in college football history. Unfortunately for the Tigers, the 74-72 score favored the Aggies, and LSU would finish the regular season 9-3.

A bowl game provided the Tigers with a chance to reach that 1oth win, and it was in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl against 2017 self-proclaimed National Champions UCF.

LSU would start the game down seven starters, and then lose cornerback Terrence Alexander and safety Grant Delpit to ejections in the first half. But the Tigers persevered, winning the game in convincing fashion with a 40-32 score that didn’t quite match the run of play.

A 10-win season, wins over four AP top-10 teams and dethroning the self-proclaimed national champs certainly exceeded all expectations set for the Tigers. Now, with expectations already rising for the 2019 season, the question will become whether or not LSU will live up those expectations, or exceed them like they did in 2018.

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