We’ve reached the midway point in LSU’s SEC opener against Mississippi State. Despite no offensive rhythm until the end of the half, LSU remain within striking range, trailing 13-7. After a masterful first half by the defense, led by defensive back Jay Ward, the Tigers have life in this one.
It’s been a struggle for this LSU offense with their first six drives resulting in five punts and a fumble, but there is still significant room for improvement.
Here are a few first half takeaways:
Another week, another different starting offensive line
The Tigers elected to go with an extremely young starting group tonight:
LT Will Campbell (Freshman)
LG Garrett Dellinger (Sophomore)
C Charles Turner (Junior)
RG Miles Frazier (R-Sophomore)
RT Emery Jones (Freshman)
On the first two drives, this unit fell victim to three false starts, halting any offensive progress that could be made. Though there have been a few miscues, Jayden Daniels has had time in the pocket with better blocking by this unit.
Starting two true freshmen, it’s a given there would be hiccups along the way and that’s been a main takeaway in this first half.
LSU’s defense stepping up to the plate
After a Major Burns missed tackle gave the Bulldogs a 37-yard touchdown run, this defense hasn’t budged since. Led by Jay Ward being virtually all over the field, BJ Ojulari asserting his dominance inside and freshman Harold Perkins getting it done, the Tigers have been effective from all three levels.
We’ve seen a few different rotations come in with Micah Baskerville getting significant snaps early to lead the linebacker unit. In the secondary, Major Burns and Sage Ryan have been two who have taken some big reps here early.
In the second half, this defensive line must continue getting to Will Rogers and get rotations going so fatigue doesn’t become a factor. If you give him enough time in the pocket, this could get out of hand quickly.
Lack of production from LSU’s playmakers
It was a struggle for the first few drives, but this offense showed life to close the half. Short, quick passes to your playmakers have to come into play come the early third quarter. After a catch on the first drive by Kayshon Boutte, he’s been relatively quiet ever since.
When given time in the pocket, it’s imperative this offense finds their guys. With an assortment of weapons, look for LSU to find their weapons early.
A positive takeaway has been Daniels using his legs to create explosive plays. On the Tigers' final drive of the half, he used his wheels to make something out of nothing consistently.