The Good, Bad and Ugly from LSU’s 65-14 win against Northwestern State

WWL Newsroom
September 17, 2019 - 5:13 pm
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It was a tale of two halves for the LSU defense. The Tigers went into Saturday’s game against Northwestern State Demons as a 52-point favorite, but only led by 10 at halftime. The defense held its own shutting out the Demons in the 2nd half. LSU scored 41 points in the half and went on to win 65-14. 

Joe Burrow and the offense continued to roll like they did in Texas, last week, with 610 yards of total offense. No. 9 became the just the sixtth quarterback in LSU history to throw consecutive 300-yard games. Stephen Sullivan was involved early in the game was peppered with targets in the first half. 

We also saw our first punt return for a score this week from true freshman Trey Palmer. Starting kick returner Derick Stingley Jr nearly took one to the end zone, as well, but was tripped up on a return. Freshman kicker Cade York was perfect on field goals, now 6-for-6 this season, but did miss an extra point in the third quarter.

Here’s the good, the bad and ugly from the game. 

Good:

Once again, Joe Burrow increased his Heisman chances. This week he finished 21-of-24 for 373 yards and two touchdowns. His only flaw of the game was interception in the second quarter.

Terrace Marshall and Stephen Sullivan received most of the attention on the night. Marshall had two touchdowns along with 75 yards, and Sullivan added 51 yards on four receptions. Ja’Marr Chase was held out of the game, so it was nice to see guys like Sullivan and Derrick Dillon get involved in the passing offense. 

Over on the other side of the ball, Jacob Phillips and Damone Clark played great. Michael Divinity Jr was held out for the second time this season and the linebacker core didn’t miss a beat. Clark and Phillips combined for 14 total tackles. 

Bad:

The LSU running game hasn’t looked like the power running game fans are used to seeing. Steve Ensminger has used the passing game to set up the run which has worked efficiently, but gone are the days of the toss dive. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the clear-cut No. 1 option in the backfield. He finished the night with 51 yards on 13 carries. After him, that’s where the picture becomes a little blurry. Lanard Fournette came into the game but only received three touches. Freshmen John Emery and Tyrion Davis-Price each scored a touchdown in the second half and look like they’re capable of a No. 2 role.

Another thing that the Tigers struggled with was creating a pass rush, especially, early in the game. Plenty of defensive starters were out including K’Lavon Chaisson, Rashard Lawrence and Glen Logan leaving Northwestern State QB Shane Eppler all day in the pocket to pick apart the LSU secondary in the first half. 

Coach O said after the game a lack of pass rush, plus the inability to play a zone defense effectively kept the Demons in the game early on. LSU did come out in the second half with adjustments, which included switching to man coverage, and forcing multiple three-and-outs.

Ugly:

What LSU fans saw from the defense early on was not the performance you’ll be seeing going forward. Some were already frustrated with the performance of Dave Aranda after the second half of the Texas game, and the first half on Saturday night didn’t make things better.

It will be interesting to see how the defense stacks up against the rest of the SEC, when the Tigers start conference play this week. The Tigers are ranked 34th in the nation in total defense, 6th in the SEC, so the time to panic isn’t right now.

LSU will make its first road SEC game this upcoming Saturday, but it’ll be an early one, as kickoff at Vanderbilt is for 11 a.m. They’ll come in ranked No. 4 in the nation behind SEC foes Georgia, Alabama and the defending national champion Clemson.

 

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