Week 3

LSU 23, Mississippi State 20: 5 Things That Matter


LSU survived a rough day against Mississippi State. What are the 5 Things That Matter about the 23-20 Tiger win?


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LSU 23, Mississippi State 20: 5 Things That Matter

It’s still not working

LSU still has as much talent and as many NFL-ready players as anyone in college football, but it’s just not quite meshing right. This is supposed to be a team built to put teams away after getting up early, and despite a big early lead it just couldn’t get comfortable with an offense that didn’t score in the second half. Up 20-0, the Tigers should’ve pounded away with Leonard Fournette and relied on the loaded defense to get out and move on. It made it much harder on itself than it had to be.

The Danny Etling experience

He was fine. The Purdue transfer got the start ahead of Brandon Harris, completing 19-of-30 passes for 215 yards and a score, while running for 23 yards on three carries. He didn’t throw a pick, and he was able to hit just enough third down throws – that’s all LSU really needs out of a quarterback. However, that’s assuming the rest of the team is playing up to its talent level.

Nothing seemed to go right for Mississippi State, but …

The Bulldogs never quit and they made LSU sweat it out late. They only converted 1-of-14 third down chances, and they didn’t have any running game whatsoever, but Fred Ross was great late, Nick Fitzgerald and Damian Williams kept firing, and they hung around just enough to get a shot after recovering an onside kick. It’s going to be a fight to get to six wins, but there’s an upset somewhere in MSU’s season over one of the SEC’s better teams.

Leonard Fournette is taking a beating

He caught four passes for 27 yards, and he did what he could to grind out the game with 147 yards and two score on 28 carries as he started to look right despite all the bumps and bruises. LSU is supposed to have a dangerous passing game considering its tremendous receivers, but it’s not happening. It’s supposed to have a brick wall of a defense, but it’s been just okay. Fournette has to carry this team until it starts to play like it’s supposed to – if that happens.

What Does This All REALLY Mean?

As rough as this has been for LSU, at least the Tigers got the SEC win and doesn’t have it too hard over the next two weeks. If the season is going to be anywhere near what it could and should be, LSU has to get past Auburn and Missouri to set itself up for the trip to Florida. It’s insane to think about the SEC championship right now, but as long as LSU is able to keep on winning, eventually it might break out of this funk.

Mississippi State needs to go on a run. It should be able to handle UMass, and it needs to take care of Auburn at home before going to BYU. With Kentucky and Samford to follow, a 6-2 start is absolutely possible. It’s going to be a grind, but again, there’s just enough fight in this group to get in bowl range by November.