BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 17: Jayden Daniels #5 of the LSU Tigers throws the ball during the first half of a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
An underdog in their own house, LSU used some stifling defense to hamper Mississippi State’s air-raid offense and a big fourth quarter from the offense to seal the game en-route to a 31-16 win over the visiting Bulldogs.
Here are five observations from LSU’s big win over Mississippi State Saturday night.
Punched in the mouth early, but not knocked out
After forcing a punt on LSU’s opening drive of the game, Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach called a gutsy dive play on 4th-and-1 from the Bulldogs’ own 22 yard line. Dillon Johnson took the play up the gut for a four-yard gain and a first down. Mississippi State would proceed to keep the drive alive and ultimately drove the ball 87 yards, capped off with a 37-yard touchdown run by Jo’Quavious Marks to put the Bulldogs up 6-0 early.
The Tigers could have easily folded and let the game slip away, but Jayden Daniels showed Moxie and continued to play tough and had LSU in position to win the game with a go ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter. No play was bigger than the 4th-and-3 play from Mississippi State’s 34 yard line where he found Malik Nabers for a 27-yard reception good for a first down. The Tigers would punch it in on a first-and-goal from the seven yard line to put the Tigers up eight with 6:53 to play and they would never look back.
Harold Perkins Jr is a true freshman stud
Now we know why this guy was expected to see playing time early as a true freshman. Perkins was all over the field Saturday for the LSU defense making play after play. He saw considerable playing time in both of the first two games for LSU’s defense and he did not disappoint in the SEC opener. The former five-star prospect could wind up being one of the best freshmen in the SEC in 2022.
Welcome back John Emery Jr… Or not
After last seeing a snap in 2020, John Emery Jr. returned to the sideline for LSU on Saturday. Though he didn’t get the start, we expected Emery would be featured heavily in the game plan against Mississippi State’s 3-3-5 defense. After getting four first-half carries, Emery was never really utilized in this game like a feature back. Even late in the game when LSU’s was looking to establish a ball control offense it was Armoni Goodwin they turned to. Emery finished the night with just 32 rushing yards on 11 carries and a 2.9 yards-per-carry average.
More tempo please
Punt, punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt. That’s what LSU’s first six drives looked like against Mississippi State. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter when LSU came out in their two-minute offense and some tempo that they finally put a drive together. With the tempo, junior Jayden Daniels led LSU on a seven play 75-yard touchdown drive with 46 seconds left in the second quarter. They went to it a few times in the second half with success, it seems this offense performs at its best when using tempo.
That looked like an SEC defense
Jay Ward led an LSU defense that looked reminiscent of some of the glory days for the purple and gold. Trailing 16-10, Ward came up huge for the Tigers, deflecting a pass on 4th and 1 and thwarting the Bulldogs 4th down attempt and changed the tide of the game the rest of the way.
The defensive front came up big for the Tigers as well, led by BJ Ojulari, the Tigers got after Will Rogers all night and really made the defense a difference maker in this matchup as Rogers was under pressure all night. The Tigers finished the game with four sacks on the Bulldogs standout gunslinger.
- Jay Ward – 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a game clinching interception late in the fourth.
- BJ Ojulari – 4 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss including 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.
- Harold Perkins JR – 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one quarterback hurry.