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Looking back at the Good, Bad, & Ugly in LSU's 19-3 win vs Miss St

”The Last Lap with Seth Dunlap”
October 23, 2018 - 11:26 am
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By:  Tim Zimmer, producer of "The Last Lap"

The LSU football team came out of Tiger Stadium with a win Saturday night vs the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but this victory had a different feel. It wasn’t a win that left the LSU fan base feeling content knowing the Tigers knocked off the #22 team in the nation to improve to 7-1.

The night turned sour, when LSU linebacker Devin White was ejected from the ballgame, when he hit Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald. The hit itself is controversial, but the outcome will result in him missing the 1st half of the next upcoming game. That game is against the #1 team in the country Alabama on November 3rd.

While this incident will be the talking point for the next two weeks leading up to the biggest game of the season, there were some things the LSU Tigers did well Saturday.  And, on the flip side, there are aspects of the game they’ll need to improve during their bye week. So let’s breakdown the positives before we get into the negative.

Good:

I’ve preached all season that special teams has been the biggest turnaround on this Tigers team. LSU kicker Cole Tracy has not only been phenomenal, he leads the NCAA in most field goals made (21).  Tracy made all four of his field goals against Mississippi State and scored 13 of the Tigers 19 points. On a night where offense was hard to be found, LSU found a way to move the ball just enough to get points on the scoreboard. Tracy should be on his way to winning 1st team all-SEC kicker.

Another player with huge impact against the Bulldogs was Grant Delpit. The #9 of the defense, no Joe Burrow doesn’t play defense, may be LSU’s best player on the field. Delpit had two interceptions and now leads college football in total interceptions (5). To make his case even stronger, Grant Delpit also leads all defensive backs in college football in sacks and tackles for loss. Luckily for LSU, Delpit is only a sophomore and can’t declare for the NFL Draft after this season.

Finally, the Tiger pass defense held QB Nick Fitzgerald in check all night. LSU had four interceptions on the QB and only allowed one receiver to catch more than two passes. If the Tigers want to pull the upset on Nov. 3rd vs Alabama, they’ll need the defense to force turnovers and not give up the big plays. A performance like this past Saturday night can give them that confidence.

Bad:

The one glaring hole on defense was stopping Mississippi State from running the football. Fitzgerald, who’s a run-first QB, had 131 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs combined for 201 rushing yards for 5.4 yards a carry. While the Tigers did give up yards between the 20s, LSU’s 3rd down defense forced State to go 2 for 14 on the night. If there’s a weakness in the LSU defense heading into the Alabama game, it’s stopping the run.

One thing I was quite surprised about was the LSU offense in the 1st half. LSU had about 25 total yards of offense with about 3 minutes left before halftime. Burrow lead his team down the field doubling their yardage before ending the half with a Cole Tracy field goal.

The offense came out flat in this matchup, but as Coach O said in the postgame, “Give credit to Mississippi State and their defensive line. That’s one of the best in the conference.”

Add in the rain factor throughout the game, I’ll give a pass to the Tigers offense considering how they looked the week before vs the Georgia Bulldogs. LSU RB Nick Brossette went over 1,000 career yards rushing, and the one-two punch of Brossette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire has worked out well since the departure of Derrius Guice.

Ugly:

Well, this one is easy, officiating. I thought the SEC officials called a clean game overall, but then the Devin White hit happened. The SEC rule states that once a review for targeting is looked at and confirmed, it’s official. This means LSU will not have any chance to appeal White’s suspension. Now the officials in Birmingham also had a chance to look at the play and reverse the call during the game, but it stood.

This left LSU fans deflated, leaving the stadium upset, blowing up postgame show phone lines and even filling up the SEC headquarters’ voicemail lines. SEC fans, especially LSU fans, already believe there is a bias towards Alabama and this won’t help the SEC’s case moving forward.

 

The Tigers will have a bye week coming up as they rest up and prepare for the #1 team in the country. The College Football Playoff will also come out a week from now and it’s likely the Tigers will make the first playoff model of the 2018 season. Hopeful times for the LSU Football Nation.

 

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