By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Named the SEC's Defensive Lineman of the Week for a second time in 3 games, it isn't a stretch or even the slightest bit of hyperbole to say "without BJ Ojulari, LSU could be 2-3".
Following his incredible showing vs Miss State (6 pressures, 1.5 sacks) BJ's strip sack completely changed last Saturday's game vs Auburn, blowing up Bryan Harsin's 17 point lead.
Needing a play, down 3 scores in the second quarter, as QB Robby Ashford tossed over 300 yards, the Tigers' pass-rushing prince relentlessly pursued Ashford around the edge, beat his blocker utilizing his pure motorhead pace and silenced Auburn's engaged crowd by slamming into their freshman quarterback and knocking the ball loose for Jay Ward to collect....his teammate rattling off toward the end zone.
Suddenly the score was 17-7 and momentum swung quickly.....all thanks to #18's unbelievable strip sack, a moment Brian Kelly called "a captain's play".
From first snap to last, Ojulari attacked the backfield or line of scrimmage like a man possessed by fury, even showcasing next level athleticism when he tracked an Ashford pass 20 yards downfield with his back turned, managing to get a hand on the ball.
Kelly's choice to wear LSU's iconic #18 is a next level athletic freak, realizing his full potential as a Tiger right before our very eyes........
At 3.5 sacks, 5 hurries and 7 QB hits among 18 total pressures (acc. to Pro Football Focus) through just 3 appearances, collecting a pair of national SEC awards as the best in his position, Tiger fans are witnessing the start of what could become an incredible season from Jamar Cain's edge rushing phenom.
At LSU, Ojulari has reached bewildering heights before.
The future 1st Round pick once recorded a sack-trick (3 sacks) as a freshman during a massacre of South Carolina, created sacks or turnovers vs Florida & Ole Miss in 2020 & 2021, recorded strong displays vs Alabama, Arkansas or A&M last year, posted 1.5 sacks and 6 pressures vs Mississippi State this season....but in the end, Ojulari's achievement on Saturday night looms largest among the highlights of his LSU career thus far.
In fact, with just three outings on the board, Ojulari's junior year is already becoming his best season as a Tiger. Posting an 83.0 pass rusher grade (a near 14% improvement from 2021), anchored by his team-leading 18 pressures, 7 QB Hits, playing a central role in 6 different sacks (3.5 individually recorded, already half of his 2021 total, 7 over 12 games).
After just 3 appearances, rested during New Mexico & Southern, BJ returned with a vengeance, cultivating his most powerful outing yet and leading LSU's defensive front.
Pretty soon, the words "All American" and 1st Round NFL Draft pick will be synonymous with BJ Ojulari, however....I also wonder:
Could he top Arden Key's single season LSU sack record???
Key grabbed 12 sacks during 2016, meaning Ojulari would need 9.0 to break the record, with 8 games (including a bowl) to achieve the mark.
Can he do it???
Surrounded by this brick wall defensive unit, yes...of course he can break Key's record and i expect him to at this point or performance level.
Records are made to be broken....
7 QB HITS
-(6 acc. To PFF)
-Created Def. TD
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
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