The LSU Tigers put their foot on the pedal from the start in their win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The LSU 41-14 victory, otherwise known as the Malik Nabers game, was a mismatch from the start. The Tigers not only held Will Rogers and the Bulldogs offense under 100 yards in the 1st half, they marched up and down the field led by the Daniels and Nabors connection.
Wide Receiver Malik Nabors entered halftime with over 100 yards and two touchdowns and finished the game with 239 total yards receiving. Quarterback Jayden Daniels’ accuracy was a big part of the Tigers success as he was practically perfect with 30 completions on 34 attempts.
But, it wasn’t just the offense that came to play, as the Tigers defense forced 4 consecutive “3 and outs” from the Bulldogs offense in the 1st half. Outside of one big play right before halftime, Mississippi State still hadn’t hit over 50 yards of total offense.
We’ll break down the rest of this LSU victory in this week’s good, bad and ugly.
The former Mississippi State commit came to play and probably had something to prove against the team that previously recruited him. Until now it had been somewhat of a quiet season for Nabers, scoring just one touchdown on the year.
Malik Nabers’ first touchdown of the game came on a 26 yard reception, and on that drive he brought 58 total yards of his 239. He scored his second touchdown on another Daniels deep ball that counted for 33 yards, putting him over the 100 yard receiving mark.
Malik Nabers was already on the radar of NFL scouts going into this season, he may have put himself on the map for the casual SEC fan in this one. He should receive SEC play of the week after this performance.
The LSU QB continues to put up video game numbers for the Tigers. Daniels broke an LSU pass record for completion percentage with his 30 for 34 passing (88.2%). He also added two rushing touchdowns to go along with his 64 yards rushing.
Daniels’ Heisman chances were somewhat diminished after LSU’s loss to Florida State in Week 1. Since then, the LSU QB has thrown for 7 touchdowns, 630 yards passing, 93 rushing and two rushing touchdowns. He should continue to put up similar numbers against the Tigers next two SEC opponents in Arkansas and Ole Miss.
LSU Running Attack:
It’s really hard to give anyone a bad or poor tag in a 41-14 win, but the lack of a running game is a bit concerning. LSU started Logan Diggs and he led the Tigers running backs with just 41 rushing yards.
We did see senior John Emery return for the Tigers, but you can tell there’s a bit a rust in his performance. Emery didn’t really show much in his season debut, but I expect he’ll be needed as the season continues.
One player fans are excited to see is freshman Kaleb Jackson, who came in during mop-up duty. He showed his power running skills over a Mississippi State defender in one of his four carries.
Coach Kelly said at halftime he wanted to get the running attack going in the 2nd half, but outside of Daniels carrying the ball on keepers, I don’t think he got what he intended from his backs. We did see new faces at tackle for the Tigers as Zalance Heard earned his way into the starting rotation.
Mississippi State Offense:
That was a rough performance for Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett’s team. QB Will Rogers had the look of someone who couldn’t have been less interested, after being hit on back to back plays in the 1st half.
The Bulldogs are going through an offensive transition from former coach Mike Leach’s team to a more traditional offense under Arnett. That has also hurt the performance of Rogers, who holds the majority of the Bulldogs passing records.
Don’t get me wrong, the Mississippi St offense looked out of place, but it was LSU’s defensive pressure and speed that really limited what the Bulldogs could accomplish. Linebacker Harold Perkins picked up his first sack of the season and was also used in coverage.
We also saw a new face lead the Tigers in tackles. Freshman West Weeks replaced the injured Omar Speights. Weeks led the Tigers in tackles with 8. Perkins was the second leading tackler for LSU with four tackles and two for a loss.
Up next for the Tigers are the Arkansas Razorbacks. If you remember, it was Harold Perkins performance in that game that gained him national attention. Maybe now that #4 has a sack under his belt, he’ll continue that trend into next week.