No. 2 LSU starts 'slow' finishes fast in 36-13 blowout win over Mississippi State
As the LSU season has worn on, it was a matter of when, not if senior quarterback Joe Burrow would break the program's single-season touchdown record and Saturday Tiger fans got their wish.
Burrow tossed four touchdowns in a 36-13 win over Mississippi State Saturday afternoon but it didn't all click to start the game.
In fact, the story for much of the first half was the Tigers inability to get in the endzone. After averaging eight yards a play coming into Saturday's game, the Tiger offense was held to just over five yards a play midway through the second quarter against the Bulldogs.
The first three LSU drives went down to the three, five and seven-yard lines before ultimately settling for Cade York field goals. For LSU this season that's about as slow a start as you could think of, but it didn't hold for long.
After the Bulldogs went down and scored a touchdown with 5:24 to go in the first half, making it a 9-7 ball game, the Tigers were in need of a big play.
And they got it.
On a blown play by the Bulldog defense, Burrow made them pay, connecting with junior receiver Racey McMath on a 60-yard touchdown pass. It was a play that really got the LSU offense cooking.
Junior safety JaCoby Stevens made the play of the game with a leaping, one-handed interception off of Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader to get the offense the ball back with just over two minutes to go in the half.
Burrow and the offense wouldn't let the interception go unwarranted as a five-play, 55-yard drive was capped off by a touchdown throw from Burrow to sophomore Ja'Marr Chase, the ninth time the two have connected in the endzone this season.
The two drives sky-rocketed the Tigers average yards per play to 10.7 and put LSU up 22-7 as the team's jogged to the locker room for halftime. It was a sucker punch to the Bulldog fans in the stadium, silencing the cowbells for much of the second half.
It was also the perfect ending to an otherwise head-scratcher of a first half. The LSU defense continued it's recent bend, not break strategy as the Bulldogs were able to move the ball consistently, but not able to capitalize.
Junior safety Grant Delpit was all over the field Saturday, racking up eight tackles in the first half alone and 11 for the game.
The recently healthy LSU pass rush was also able to make its presence felt Saturday afternoon, racking up two sacks and five tackles for a loss as K'Lavon Chaisson and Michael Divinity were able to get consistent pressure on Shrader all day.
Divinity himself had quite the game, forcing a fumble in the first half and sacking Shrader in the third quarter.
Then there was Burrow, who made LSU history, tossing four touchdowns for 327 yards against the Bulldogs, giving him the LSU record for passing touchdowns in a season, jumping Jamarcus Russell and Matt Mauck for the accolade with 29 total touchdowns.
Burrow broke the record on an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior Justin Jefferson in the third quarter that put the Tigers up 36-7 late in the quarter. Jefferson, along with the sophomore Chase had another fantastic outing, combining for 13 receptions, 137 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Myles Brennan also received some snaps in the fourth quarter, though the offense wasn't able to get much going with Brennan at the helm.
The LSU defense continued to dominate in the second half, holding the Bulldogs to 169 yards and one score.
The Tigers will now prepare for what is likely to be their third top-10 matchup of the season when Auburn travels to Baton Rouge for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.