LSU Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Washington Game

Jake Martin@JakeMartinSECCorrespondent IIISeptember 10, 2012

LSU Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Washington Game

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    LSU's 41-3 win against Washington Saturday night was a dominant one, and quite honestly, it could have been a lot worse.

    Despite having multiple drops on offense, LSU was able to control the game and assert its dominance in every single phase of the game.

    LSU out-gained the Huskies in total yards 437 to 183, while LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger outperformed Washington quarterback Keith Price. But most importantly, the Tigers improved after a somewhat unimpressive performance against North Texas.

    So after another LSU victory, here are the grades from their big non-conference win in Week 2.

QB: Zach Mettenberger

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    Mettenberger's numbers fail to describe just how good he was in this game.

    He finished the game completing 12-of-18 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, and that's after five drops—including a dropped touchdown pass to Russell Shepard.

    The best part of his performance was that he looked comfortable.

    He climbed the pocket when he had to and made solid reads throughout the game.

    Mettenberger continues to evolve as a quarterback, which will add another dimension to the offense in the future. 

    Grade: A

HB: Alfred Blue

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    You're my boy, Blue.

    In Tiger Stadium, Alfred Blue is everybody's boy. Blue became the first LSU tailback to rush for over 100 yards in back-to-back games since Stevan Ridley in 2010.

    Blue benefited from some great holes provided by his offensive line, but he never stops moving his feet until he absolutely can't make any more progress.

    He's reminiscent of South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore, and he's proving to be one of the best backs in the SEC.

    Grade: A

FB: J.C. Copeland

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    LSU and J.C. Copeland play grown-man football.

    When in doubt, line up and pound the ball. That's the mentality of this football team, and the biggest reason for that is because of Copeland.

    Copeland clears paths for his running backs with his brute strength, and for his hard work, head coach Les Miles rewarded him with another carry on the goal line.

    This marks the second straight week that Copeland has scored a touchdown, and his goal-line carries are certainly well deserved.

    Grade: A+

WR: Odell Beckham

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    This was a game that Odell Beckham will want to forget.

    Beckham fumbled the opening kickoff, which led to Washington's only score of the game. Unfortunately for Beckham, things would only get worse.

    Beckham, who is usually a sure-handed receiver for the Tigers, had three drops in the game. He finished the game with two catches for 40 yards, and without a doubt, Beckham's numbers could have been far more impressive. 

    He needs to put this game behind him quickly before SEC play arrives. Heck, everybody has a bad game in their career.

    Grade: D

WR: Jarvis Landry/James Wright

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    Jarvis Landry and James Wright picked up Beckham's slack.

    Wright had Mettenberger's first completion, and they seemed to be on the same page all night. Wright led the Tigers in receiving with five catches for 75 yards.

    As for Landry, this guy is the complete package. In fact, he's very similar to former LSU standout receiver Michael Clayton. He's a complete football player who blocks just as well as he catches.

    Both players performed to their abilities, and as LSU continues to open up the offense more in the future, expect both guys to contribute more and more to the offense.

    Grade: B+

LT: Josh Dworaczyk

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    Josh Dworaczyk had the best performance of the night.

    Dworaczyk, who played guard most of his career at LSU, filled in for Chris Faulk at left tackle, and Faulk's absence was unnoticeable.

    Dworaczyk was outstanding protecting Mettenberger's blind side, and his run blocking was tremendous all night.

    Moving forward, the Tigers should be just fine with Dworaczyk now occupying that left tackle spot.

    Grade: A+

LG: La'el Collins

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    In his second straight start at left guard, La'el Collins was solid.

    He pass blocked well, protecting the interior of the offensive line, and he was able to make key blocks in the running game as well.

    Although Collins was impressive for most of the night, he wasn't perfect. Collins was called for a chop-blocking penalty that negated a large gain for the Tigers and forced them to punt.

    Had he committed the penalty in a bigger game, it could have proved to be a costly mistake.

    Grade: B+

C: P.J. Lonergan

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    Mettenberger can thank his offensive line for keeping his jersey clean Saturday night.

    More importantly, he can thank P.J. Lonergan and the offensive guards for allowing zero-to-very-little pressure in the middle.

    Lonergan was fantastic throughout the game and placed every snap in Mettenberger's hands perfectly.

    Grade: A

RG: Josh Williford

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    As the game went on, the right side of the offensive line grew stronger.

    Josh Williford and Alex Hurst both played well throughout, but as Washington's defensive line started to wear down, Williford and Hurst turned it up a notch.

    Williford used his body frame to overpower defenders and clear holes for the running back committee.

    Another solid game by the right guard.

    Grade: A

RT: Alex Hurst

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    Hurst dominated at the point of attack.

    When it comes to any offensive lineman, that's all you can ask for.

    Hurst, along with the entire offensive line, bullied the Huskies and helped the running backs total 242 yards rushing.

    LSU undoubtedly has one of the best offensive lines in the nation.

    Grade: A

TE: Chase Clement

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    Chase Clement is primarily a blocking tight end.

    Though he improved his catching ability in fall camp, Miles continues to use Clement to seal off edges and create running room for his running backs.

    Clement did this well against Washington. In fact, he helped spring Blue loose for the first touchdown of the game. Though he didn't register a catch in this game, his blocking was superb all night.

    Clement may have turned in his best game yet as a Tiger.

    Grade: A

DE: Barkevious Mingo

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    Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery are extraordinary.

    Because both defensive ends are so quick and able to put pressure on the quarterback, LSU was able to drop seven players into coverage.

    Mingo's speed didn't allow Price a lot of time to make decisions, which in turn caused Price to throw a lot of incompletions.

    Simply put, Mingo's pursuit was a game-changer.

    Grade: A

DT: Josh Downs

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    It's staggering that Josh Downs starts over Anthony Johnson.

    Downs isn't a bad player by any means, but Johnson always makes an impact every time he enters the game.

    Johnson has a knack for disrupting the pocket and making tackles at the line of scrimmage, while Downs has basically been a wall.

    As the Tigers inch closer to the heart of their schedule, expect Johnson to receive more playing time.

    Grade: B

DT: Bennie Logan

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    Bennie Logan is an all-out stud.

    Logan was in Price's face all night, and he was once again an anchor for the Tigers on the defensive line.

    He shut down any signs of an inside running attack and asserted his will all night.

    Grade: A

DE: Sam Montgomery

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    Sam Montgomery was much better this week.

    Montgomery saw limited action last week, but against Washington, he made his presence felt early.

    While Montgomery didn't load up the stat box, he did get his first sack of the season and was able to get pressure on Price time and time again.

    It's safe to say Montgomery has returned to form.

    Grade: A

LB: Luke Muncie

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    Luke Muncie continues to play sound football.

    Muncie earned the starting job despite the influx of talent at linebacker coming in, and Tiger fans are beginning to see why.

    Against Washington, Muncie covered backs out of the backfield well and showcased some great closing speed when he had to.

    He's also a solid tackler.

    Grade: B+

LB: Kevin Minter

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    Kevin Minter had the best game of his career Saturday.

    He was sensational, and after having an inconsistent showing against North Texas in Week 1, Minter put together a near-flawless performance.

    Minter was all over the field making plays for the Tigers against the Huskies.

    In the first half, Minter had four tackles and batted down two passes, which really illustrates how good he was both in run support and pass coverage.

    Grade: A+

LB Lamin Barrow

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    Lamin Barrow and the front seven shut down Washington's offense all night.

    Barrow and company only allowed 26 yards rushing from the Huskies while limiting the dangerous Price to only 157 passing yards.

    Barrow turned in a great performance with his tackling, but it was his coverage that made a bigger difference.

    Grade: A-

CB: Jalen Mills

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    For the second straight week, Jalen Mills was tested. For the second straight week, Mills passed with flying colors.

    If Mills keeps it up, he should be the next great shutdown corner for LSU.

    All night, Mills was blanketing receivers, and he even recorded his first career interception.

    All signs point to another solid career at DBU.

    Grade: A

S: Craig Loston

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    Craig Loston finally looks like that heavily recruited safety coming out of high school in 2009.

    Loston was solid in coverage and lowered the boom on Washington receivers when they put their hands on the football.

    Many thought losing Brandon Taylor would affect the Tigers' defensively, but so far, Loston has manned the position brilliantly.

    Grade: A

S: Eric Reid

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    Reid is the commander in chief.

    It's easy to see who the face of this team is without Tyrann Mathieu on the team, and it is, without a doubt, Reid.

    Reid covered well, made big hits along the sideline and even had a pass deflection. Reid was called for pass interference on one play, so it takes away from his performance just a little bit.

    Still, Reid looks the part of an All-American safety.

    Grade: B+

CB: Tharold Simon

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    Tharold Simon is the cornerstone of this defense.

    Simon allows LSU to get creative in its schemes and looks, which allows them to blitz off of the edge and create pressure.

    It's all because Simon locks down his receiver, and in this case, that receiver was Washington's top receiver, Kasen Williams.

    Simon really is living up to the hype.

    Grade: A