Sept. 26, 2009 from the Bleacher Report:
It has not been easy and it most certainly hasn't been pretty, which is not necessarily a bad thing when you think about where the LSU Tigers are after four weeks of play.
With today's 30-26 win in Starkville, Miss., LSU improves its record to 4-0 (2-0 SEC).
Like the first three games, vs. Washington, Vanderbilt and UL-Lafayette, it wasn't easy.
First-year head coach Dan Mullen inspired his Bulldogs to get off the porch and run with the Tigers. Sr. RB Anthony Dixon led the way with 106 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns.
Overall, the offense was able to put up 374 total yard with three touchdowns. Sr. QB Tyson Lee was able to shake off three interceptions and lead a comeback that culminated in their final drive that found the Bulldogs inside the two-yard line with first and goal and just a little over a minute on the game clock and down by only six.
Getting to that point may have been ugly in the eyes of some LSU Tiger fans, but the ensuing four plays were anything but.
On third and ten from LSU's 20 yard line, Dixon broke several tackles to rush for 18 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Chris Hawkins at the two.
After being stuffed on first and second down, the Bull Dogs lined up in a power I and looked intent to try to force it in on all four downs, if necessary.
When Lee took the snap and faked the hand-off, TE Marcus Green slipped off his block and was seemingly wide open for the winning touchdown. S Chad Jones, the Tigers MVP, did not bite on the fake and made a spectacular play, knocking down the pass.
The touchdown saving play set up fourth and goal from the one for all the marbles. Lee faked an option pitch to Dixon and attempted to slide into the end zone.
Again, the Tigers stopped him cold and LSU took over at their own one-yard line.
The loss drops MSU to 2-2 (1-1 SEC) and leaves the Dogs on the bottom looking up in one of the toughest divisions in the country.
On the other hand, No. 7 LSU remains undefeated, is battle tested and is staring at what could be the defining stretch of their season with four of the next five at No. 21 Georgia, No. 1 Florida, and currently unbeaten Auburn in Baton Rouge before traveling to Tuscaloosa for a wild (SEC) west showdown with No. 3 Alabama.
Tiger fans across the country - including the 30-plus at Providence Road Sundries in Charlotte, N.C., where your humble correspondent took in the game with the Carolina LSU Alumni Association - were left with as many questions as were answered.
So. QB Jordan Jefferson (15-28 233 yards, two tds) was spectacular early, connecting with receivers Brandon Lafell, R.J.Jackson and Terrance Tolliver for deep strikes of 58, 40 and 39 respectively, answering the question: can he throw the ball effectively?
At the same time, questions abound in the trenches, particularly on the offensive side. Jefferson, typically hard to corral, was sacked twice and hurried on countless plays.
Perhaps more disconcerting was the inability to open holes for the talented backfield. The Tigers were only able to net 30 yards on the ground.
On the defensive side MSU was able to move the ball effectively at times, but the Tigers forced four turnovers and turned MSU back four times on fourth down including the aforementioned game-saving goal-line stand.
Additionally, special teams play was mixed. Chad Jones’ 93 yard punt return for a touchdown highlighted a strong night for the return team.
On the other hand, a third snap in four games, deep in their own territory, sailed over punter Derek Helton’s head setting up a one yard touchdown drive for the Bulldogs.
There was also a missed extra point due to a bad snap-hold transition after Patrick Peterson’s interception touchdown on the first play of the game.
At the end of the day, (the dreary, wet, mushy, rainy day) it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t easy, it may not have even been fun but like the not-so pretty king of the hard way, Al Davis, likes to say, “Just win, Baby!”
The Tigers keep doing that and that’s the bottom line.
By Henry Ball (Southern Man) Syndicated Writer @ the Bleacher Report
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