LSU’s second half performance proved what this team is capable of when clicking on all cylinders. Taking the final two quarters by storm and going on a 31-3 run to close out the night, it showed the immense potential this roster has.
Whether it be the youngsters stepping up to take significant snaps or Jayden Daniels using his legs to move the chains, it was a sight to see in Death Valley Saturday night.
Here are three observations from the Tigers’ victory in their first SEC matchup of the Brian Kelly era:
Youth at offensive line held their own
For better or for worse, Kelly and his staff went with who they felt would give them the best chance to win and that just so happened to be with two true freshmen in the lineup. For the first time in school history, the Tigers started two freshmen at the tackle position.
Though there were a few hiccups along the way, this unit provided Jayden Daniels with impressive time in the pocket to open up the offense in the second half. LSU was without starting guard Anthony Bradford Saturday night, giving freshman Emery Jones the start.
LT Will Campbell (Freshman)
LG Garrett Dellinger (Sophomore)
C Charles Turner (Junior)
RG Miles Frazier (R-Sophomore)
RT Emery Jones (Freshman)
Defensive line will handle business without Maason Smith
Yes, the loss of Maason Smith is a crucial blow to the depth of this defensive line, but this unit held it down Saturday night. Whether it be BJ Ojulari or Saivion Jones making plays, there was some continuity shown within that group.
It’s a given that if the Tigers had Smith they’d have an elite front four, but this unit continued to show they’re going to be a force this season. Kelly has detailed their concern with this position group from a depth perspective, but as for right now, the front four looks like they’ll be in a good place this year.
BJ Ojulari did his thing Saturday night, proving why NFL scouts are so high on the dynamic defensive end. The heart and soul of this defense, Ojulari appears to have his guys ready for SEC play.
Third Down Defense
The Tigers held Mississippi State to 3-for-14 on third down conversions and 1-for-4 on fourth down conversions. Getting off the field and halting the Bulldogs’ offense late was what sealed it for this squad.
It all comes down to the mastermind of defensive coordinator Matt House. The scheme he drew up to contain this passing game was executed to perfection. A Mississippi State squad who thrives on third down, LSU played their cards right Saturday night to keep their offense sidelined.
Time of possession was also crucial in this one. Mike Leach has proven to be one who succeeds in keeping the ball out of his opponents’ hands, but the Tigers controlled the clock as well in this one to put themselves in position to get Brian Kelly his first SEC win at the helm of LSU football.