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LSU ERASE MISS ST 41-14

By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

FOLLOW ON X @LonnPhillips


Head Coach Brian Kelly picked up a ball that was on the visiting locker room table, held it aloft in his hands, and stared at his players kneeling before him.

When he spoke, they listened to every raging, impassioned word, a dedication to a fallen brother, Greg Brooks Jr, LSU's starting safety and an early bright spot for Matt House's under-fire defense (the safety was absent due to a medical issue).

The emotions were intense but focused, harnessed....Kelly and his staff kept the players alert, loud music could be heard blaring from 6am on, the Tigers were well rested, easily traveled, and had the look of something special brewing in their eyes.

As the 2023 LSU Tigers ran out on to Mississippi State's field in Starkville, welcomed by belting cowbells & a din of furor from the home fans, they already knew they'd won.

Over 4 quarters, Brian Kelly's Tigers played perhaps their most complete game since his arrival in late November 2021, asserting themselves in a dominant showing along the trenches, physically belitting & erasing Zach Arnett's Miss St team 41-14, rising to 2-1 on the season....and it wasn't even that close.

Behind Jayden Daniels' historic passing performance, an equally historic Malik Nabers receiving exhibition, and a rampaging display from Matt House's front seven (including an epic showing from Harold Perkins), the Tigers opened their SEC schedule in the most impressive fashion possible.

This was LSU football.....big hits, even bigger personalities intimidating opponents, dominating both lines of scrimmage as we said the Tigers would need to (and predicted they would), but the defensive masterclass from House's unit, backed by Jayden Daniels' record-breaking precision, deserve extreme notice & praise.

For all the Tigers fans clamoring for a high octane passing game & the unleashing of JD5's right arm, Jayden Daniels' passing performance against Mississippi State was football pornography for offensive junkies....limitless, exacting, zero hesitation....relentless.

Taking control early, Daniels commanded the offense with incredible poise and ease, dialing up a program record-breaking 30/34 (88.2 completion percentage) next to 361 passing yards and 2 TDs through the air, connecting with Malik Nabers on both touchdowns as well as 13 overall catches from 13 targets for 239 yards.....

.....you could say the Daniels to Nabers connection was literally automatic @ Mississippi State.

On his career night (4th all time single game performance in LSU receiving history), Nabers imposed his will, dominating DBs on a variety of deep routes, back shoulder fades, tear drop bombs in the corner of the end zone...right over the top of scrambling, hapless, flailing outstretched limbs....drowning Mississippi State's secondary in constant aerial oblivion.

Now at 3 touchdowns through 3 games in 2023 (0 drops from 32 targets), Nabers already equalled his 2022 endzone total....and it's about time we witness Mike Denbrock's offense feed the Biletnikoff candidate.

Elsewhere, Daniels hit Brian Thomas Jr for 60 yards off 7 catches, continuing his run of strong form to open 2023. Saturday was the junior wide out's 3rd straight appearance catching 6 passes.

Jayden also led the way for the Tigers on the ground, taking 15 gallops for 64 effective yards, headlined by a pair of touchdown runs that iced proceedings, delivering in every way, shape or form, and on every frontier.

In full command and looking to be the killer at QB as promised this off-season, JD5's demonstration of perfection wasn't just impressive or record breaking, it was vindication for the senior slinger:
After years of questions or analysis into his passing acumen.....even as he is still in a section of LSU fans' crosshairs (who actively root for his benching), Daniels silenced his doubters today.

But as unstoppable as LSU's offense were, I must say I was more surprised and impressed by the rising standards from our defense: they were imperious.

With starters Greg Brooks Jr and Omar Speights out, we were treated to much needed rotation on LSU's defense, and it paid major dividends.

Freshman Whit Weeks led the team with 8 tackles on his starting debut, playing a key role in freeing up Harold Perkins as House's defense held Mississippi State to 7 total yards until the final drive of the first half, giving up 201 total, 94 on the ground, a paltry 107 through the air (limiting Will Rogers to just 11 completions from 28 attempts), 3/13 on 3rd down attempts (only 10 first downs in the entire game) while constantly blowing up plays, batting passes and pressuring Will Rogers into a backfield coma thanks to Harold Perkins' best game of 2023.

Harold's movement from left, right to center, nickel, linebacker, ans edge rusher allowed his teammates, as well as himself, to feast on Rogers and Miss State's offensive line, destabilizing the Bulldogs' entire game plan by the end of the first quarter.

Although it was also his venomous energy which was just as infectious for his teammates, jawing at opponents, constantly walking the walk....stalking the field like a predator of swaggering doom.

Leading the team in pressures heading into the game, defensive end Saivion Jones delivered on his preseason promise by finishing off Rogers for his first sack of the season and the opening sack of the game (following plenty of Tigers linemen hunting Rogers).

Soon, like a dam busting loose, Mekhi Wingo added another sack, then Harold Perkins himself got in on the act for his first of the season, before safety Major Burns also grabbed a second half sack on Rogers.....

....4 sacks, 7 tackles for loss (most at critical moments) and 4 broken up passes doesn't even begin to highlight the havoc created by LSU's defense in Starkville....taking over their town and painting it with their blood.

Transfer safety Andre Sam stood out as an uncompromising, big hitting powerhouse enforcer that this writer admittedly overlooked. Laying out ball carriers with 4 solo tackles, producing consistent impact plays thanks to his elite anticipatory skills on intermediary or underneath routes, while adding a pass break up, #14 performed like a starting safety for the Tigers.

Other key defensive contributors on the day were Bradyn Swinson (3 tackles, 1 batted pass at the line, 4 pressures and a QB hit), Paris Shand & Sage Ryan recording tackles for loss, Maason Smith batting a pass at the line during limited activity, however it was really all about Harold Perkins' brilliance:

Perkins showcased his complete athletic powers, breaking up a would-be touchdown target in coverage, nabbing his aforementioned sack, posting 2 tackles for loss on the day, and unleashing an illustrious pressure package that was not only impossible to stop, this was finally Perkins utilized in his best "position", doing what he does best: attacking the ball, wherever it may be.

Overall, this was a thunderstruck LSU Tigers performance:

A straight up vintage, primal, in your face defensive showing from a unit in desperate need of swagger & confidence, fronted by a divine offensive showcase from Daniels, Nabers and co, thoroughly delivering on the promise of their 2023 offense, while key Tigers of the future such as Whit Weeks, Kaleb Jackson, Lance Heard, Mac Markway, Dashawn Womack, and Ryan Yaites stood up and became at times explosive present contributors.....Brian Kelly's Tigers answered many of the questions that lingered around his program heading into their SEC opener.

Still, this is the crazy game of college football, featuring a landscape where Alabama flirted with a second loss in their 3rd game, Florida State looked like a CFP team vs LSU but only beat Boston College by 2 points, Napier's Florida goes from bottom of the SEC basement to an upset over #11 Tennessee....a 2x defending National Champion who do not appear to be world beaters.....there isn't a single team in the entire country who seems capable of finishing undefeated....on any given Saturday.

2007 vibes???

Well....we all know how that ended.


POSTGAME SHOW



By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN

©️ 2023 Uninterrupted Writings Inc, a subsidiary of Uninterrupted Media LLC

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Such a great summary. I admit to having a lot of heartburn concerning our defense. I did not have faith they could clean things up this quickly. I hope this is sustainable over the season.

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