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Explosive Second Half Plays a Key Ingredient to LSU's Offensive Success

Tigers convert on three big plays downfield against Mississippi State, becoming a trend for this group
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LSU kicked things off against Mississippi State firing on all cylinders. The passing attack of Max Johnson was on full display, connecting with Kayshon Boutte for two touchdowns, providing a spark to this Tigers offense.

The explosiveness of the offensive scheme was a prominent figure in Saturday’s victory as the Tigers began SEC play. Coordinator Jake Peetz stuck to the game plan and got the ball in his playmakers hands to give the Tigers the edge.

“I think Coach Peetz dialed up some really good plays,” Max Johnson said. “Whether they were playing zero coverage or man to man, I think Coach Peetz called specific plays to beat their coverage and capitalize. Kayshon made some big plays for us.”

Coach Orgeron praised the offensive scheme Peetz put together against the Bulldogs, even commenting on how he predicted Boutte’s touchdown to kick things off in the second half.

“I could hear Jake on the headset saying the safeties coming down, we’re going to throw it to Kayshon,” Orgeron said. “So, it was a combination of hitting them where they had open holes and great play calling.”

Max Johnson looked as poised as ever in the pocket Saturday afternoon, sliding up when feeling pressure and making the smart play. Despite throwing a rare interception early, he stayed true to the game plan and continued making the correct reads.

The connection of Johnson and Boutte has this offense as explosive as ever. Leading the nation in touchdown receptions with eight, Boutte is Johnson’s most consistent, versatile weapon on this offense.

“The first one we had ran it the first time it was open, he tried to throw it, but he had got hit so we came back with it the second time and it was open again,” Boutte said on his touchdown reception. “The same thing with the second one, it was open the first time, but he handed the run so the safety could come down on it hard. And then we ran it back, he did the exact same thing, so he pulled back and threw it.”

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With the four explosive plays for touchdowns of more than 20 yards against Central Michigan followed by the three against Mississippi State, all of the sudden the Tigers offensive identity is trending towards scoring on big plays down field.

The in-game adjustments of the offense is what allowed the scheme to be so potent. Johnson in the RPO opened up the playbook to give the rushing attack force. As the defense continued biting the run in the RPO, this allowed Johnson to connect with Boutte over the middle for their second touchdown connection of the afternoon.

Despite starting off the game as hot as can be, the careless mistakes to close out the game almost cost the Tigers their victory. The pass protections got weaker as the game went on and the reads weren’t quite there for Johnson.

Though correctable mistakes, this lackadaisical approach will doom the Tigers once they reach the hefty portion of the SEC schedule.

“I wish we could've finished a little harder, but you have to give them the credit,” Orgeron said.

The consistent passing attack from Johnson along with the dynamic backfield of Corey Kiner, Ty Davis-Price and ArmoniGoodwin gives the Tigers a chance to expand their playbook as the offensive line gets into a groove.

The nagging injuries of the line has caused some weakness offensively whether it be pass protections or providing no chance for the run game to develop. The trio of running backs made the most of their opportunities Saturday evening despite not much to work with.

As the Tigers continue diving into SEC play, this first true SEC road test showed what LSU is capable of doing. Though the inconsistency to close the game was brutal, this team still has the chance to prove their offensive power is talented enough to make a splash in conference play.