LSU vs. Mississippi State: 10 Things We Learned from the Tigers' Win
In a 59-26 winning effort against Mississippi State, the LSU Tigers offense proved how deadly it truly is.
As Mississippi State stalled on drives in the second half, the Tigers capitalized on turnovers, scoring opportunities and mismatches on the outside en route to scoring 31 unanswered points.
We continue to learn that this LSU offense is one of the best units in the country, but what else did we learn about the Tigers?
True Freshmen Are Ready
The best players have to play.
Raw or not, Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson must see the field on LSU's defense. Both with athletic builds, uncommon ability and spectacular speed, they may very well give LSU its best chance to win.
White picked up his first interception of his young career on an overthrown pass by Dak Prescott. However, he did give up a touchdown pass, while acknowledging Mississippi State did get away with a pushoff.
The rest of the night he stuck to his man like glue, while Robinson did much of the same, recording a few nice pass breakups. They are the future for LSU's defense, but the future might be now, considering the struggles in the secondary this year.
You Must Defend the Pass Against LSU
You want to stop LSU's offense? You have to stop the pass first.
Even though LSU has been successful though the air this season, teams continue to try to stop the run. It's as if SEC schools are just as surprised as the rest of us.
It isn't until Zach Mettenberger starts to find Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry on the outside that opposing defenses change their strategy against the Tigers.
By the time they do so, LSU hands the ball off to one of its stellar backs. Advantage Tigers.
Alarming Halftime Stats Starting to Become Trendy
After the defense gave up 300 total yards in the fist half to Georgia, the Tigers gave up 274 against Mississippi State.
Even for LSU's prideful defense, the Georgia game was somewhat excused. But Mississippi State? Um, "hold that, Tiger."
I'd like to sugarcoat it for LSU fans, but I simply can't. This defense looked awful in the first two quarters. Preseason fears have now become a reality, as the Tigers' inexperience on defense is becoming the scapegoat of this LSU squad.
Georgia racking up yards against the Tigers? Forgivable. Mississippi State running around, through and over LSU's defense in the first half? Shameful.
Odell Beckham Has Improved Catching Ability
Of the dynamic duo, Landry is the better possession receiver.
Well, or so we thought. Yes, Landry continues to make remarkable catches, but Beckham's large hands were snagging anything thrown in his direction against Mississippi State.
Beckham had 89 receiving yards in the first quarter alone, burning Mississippi State's coverage time and time again.
LSU looked to its star receiver in the second quarter, as Beckham reeled in a magnificent leaping touchdown grab to put the Tigers up before the break. He finished the game with 179 receiving yards, which is the largest total recorded by a wide receiver since Devery Henderson did so in 2002.
Irrelevancy Won't Capture Anthony Johnson
Starkville, we have a sack. No, I'm not talking about Chris Jones barreling over LSU offensive linemen to get to Mettenberger.
Instead, I'm referencing a player many LSU fans have been disappointed in—Anthony "Freak" Johnson.
Ah, prayers were answered against Mississippi State. After a slow start to the season, Johnson picked up his first sack of the season in the first half against Mississippi State.
His presence was known throughout the night, providing pressure, making plays against the run and clogging holes all night. It was a performance Freak desperately needed.
School Records Are Within Reach
This train ain't slowing down.
LSU's offense continues to amaze LSU fans, and after playing a team that was second in the conference in total defense, LSU proved once again that scoring is not a problem.
Maybe five years ago 59 points on Mississippi State might not be a big deal, but with the Bulldogs' incredible front four and hard-nosed linebackers, scoring 31 unanswered points is a big deal.
For the first time in school history, the Tigers recorded 400-plus yards and 30-plus points in the first six games of the season. This trend doesn't look like it's going to end anytime soon, even with the Florida Gators coming to town next week.
Danielle Hunter Has Potential
Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.
That seemed to be the case with Danielle Hunter early in the season. He showed athletic ability, but he wasn't a dominant pass-rusher LSU fans were jonesin' for.
Well, after the Mississippi State game, fans might have something to look forward to. I've been taking notice of Hunter's play (Georgia game excluded), and after causing pressure against Mississippi State and making nice plays in run defense, I'm starting to believe in Hunter.
Yes, he's still teetering on being a great defensive playmaker, but don't be surprised to see Hunter develop into a solid pass-rushing defensive end by the season's conclusion.
Offensive Line Gets Stronger Later in the Game
If at first you don't succeed, keep pounding away.
Isn't that how the saying goes? As LSU struggled to pick up yards early in ballgames in recent years, the Tigers' bruising running game eventually caught up to defenses.
This old storyline repeated itself against Mississippi State. After the Bulldogs had to adjust their defense to address the passing game, the Tigers rode the back of Jeremy Hill and Co.
The Tigers finished the game with 223 rushing yards, as the offense produced gaping running lanes for the running backs in the fourth quarter.
Red-Zone Defense Is Much Improved
There are some bright spots for this LSU defense, fans.
Whenever Mississippi State reached the "striking zone" (LSU's 35-yard line), the Tigers locked down and caused the Bulldogs to turn the ball over.
Yeah, Mississippi State might have drove down the field like a warm knife diving into a slice of butter, but hey, give the Tigers' red-zone defense its due.
Buckling down near the Tigers' own end zone is a nice start to fixing an entire landscape of defensive woes. One step at a time, right?
The Offense Is Getting Better...
Here's a scary thought for SEC defenses—this offense is only getting better.
Get out your checklist.
Mettenberger? He was smooth and poised as ever, accurate on most of his deliveries on the night.
Receiving corps? Beckham was a standout, Landry was gutsy and Travin Dural made a huge third-down reception.
Hill and the running game? As good as ever, as Hill continues to prove that he's one of the best running backs in the SEC.
This isn't a stagnant offense. No sir, this is an explosive offense that somehow packs on more dynamite every single week.