October 28, 2021
"Changing Lives, Improving Communities"

LSU Revenge Tour Starts With 28-25 Win

Photo credit Hilary Scheinuk

Here in Starkville, both teams will look to open up SEC conference play with the 11am kickoff. The Tigers come in having won nine of the last 10 meetings in Starkville dating back to a 42-0 win in 2001. LSU won the last meeting between the two teams here in Starkville in 2019, by a 36-13 victory. Last season, these two teams met in their season openers under new head coach Mike Leach and his air raid offense. The Bulldogs won the contest 44-34 in Tiger Stadium.

The Tigers (2-1) look to avenge that loss from last season and shut down the air raid. Defensively LSU leads the nation in sacks (19) and looks to increase that number today.

LSU is without All-American corner Derek Stingley Jr., who could possibly miss multiple weeks due to re-aggravating a previous injury earlier this week in practice. This is the second year the Tigers will be without Stingley Jr in the matchup. A big concern especially against a team that averages nearly 55 passes a game. The Tigers will need to lean heavily on their pass rush to keep Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers in check.

Freshmen Leading the Way

LSU must continue to find ways to get the ball into the hands of their young playmakers today. Kayshon Boutte has six touchdowns heading into today’s game, I expect him to continue to see success and also see double teams. Receiver Deion Smith and tight end Jack Bech need to be outlets for quarterback Max Johnson when the pocket collapses, because it will collapse eventually. Corey Kiner and Armoni Goodwin should get carries even though head coach Ed Orgeron mentioned earlier this week that Ty Davis Price is the starter.

Maason Smith moving to defensive end from defensive tackle in the wake of Andre Anthony being lost for the season, gives you the ability to stop the run from the outside. And with his 6’6 frame block passing lanes on quick hitting routes.

Defense, Defense, Defense

The defense needs to continue to play high tempo and aggressive. Having Jay Ward will help alleviate some of the crossing routes that plagued them last season. Look for him and Cor’Dale Flott to be difference makers on defense. Still waiting for Mike Jones to make an appearance on this defense, this could be the week.

The Tigers came out on fire! Also in a 3-2-6 look on defense. “We have been working on the 3-2-6 since the Sunday after our game last year,” said Orgeron. “We watched what Arkansas did to them, and it worked.” Cor’Dale Flott forced a turnover and Damone Clark scooped the ball up and returned it to the Bulldog 35. “I could have scored,” said Clark. “I just ran out of bounds, I should have scored.” Max Johnson would quickly find his favorite target Kayshon Boutte for the score. Tigers out to an early lead 7-0

Cor’Dale Flott would come up big again on the Bulldogs third possession of the game. Driving inside the Tigers 25 yard line, Bulldog quarterback Will Rogers threw a pick on 2nd and 5. Flott intercepted the ball at the LSU 11, this put the Tigers at +2 on the turnover margin for the day.

The defensive backs for LSU continue to keep everything in front of them, not giving up the big play. “We had a meeting this morning about 6:30,” said Orgeron. “Corey Raymond was steaming, I’ve never seen him that way.”

Major Burns and Cor’Dale Flott seem to be bullying these Mississippi State running backs when they come up in run support. Seeming to let them make the catch in open space so that the defensive backs can make a punishing hit on the ball carrier. “We tackle so well,” said Jay Ward. “Because we work the tackle drill every day. We have to be perfect in the tackle drill.”

The Tigers would get backed up to the shadows of their own goal posts and turn away the Bulldogs on three straight downs from scoring, causing them to settle for a field goal. Score LSU 7 – Miss St 3

Max Johnson would be picked on his next outing, a ball that was just a bit underthrown to receiver Brian Thomas. “Coach O told me, if I throw a pick or something just shrug it off,” said Johnson. “Defense has my back and I got theirs.” The defense indeed has his back, they got the ball back five plays later. Trey Palmer also had a punt return of 24 yards to set the Tigers up at their own 39 yard line.

The half would end with Ali Gaye sacking Will Rogers with three seconds left on the clock.

Tigers received the opening kick to start the second half. “We were planning on taking the opening kick,” said Orgeron. “We wanted to strike first, but Mississippi State beat us to the punch.” Ty Davis-Price had an 11 yard run to start the second half. Followed up by a 64 yard play action pass, that sucked in the entire defense, to receiver Kayshon Boutte. The extra point from Cade York would make the Score LSU 14 – Miss St 3

The Tiger defense has flashed brilliance of 2019 today. With the bend don’t break strategy. They’ve kept everything in front of them so far. Being backed up once again to the shadow of their goal post, Mississippi State brought out the kick to attempt what looks to be an easy chip shot from 33 yards out. However, nothing is guaranteed and Mccord misses wide left.

Both Armoni Goodwin and Corey Kiner get back-to-back carries to start the Tigers opening drive after the miss. Goodwin went for nine yards, Kiner stiff armed a defender, spun off another then tried to hurdle the last one but it looked like he was still in the grasp of the previous defender. Kiner picked up some very tough yardage for the Tigers there.

LSU would punt then force a 3-and-out on Mississippi State. Johnson would take an immediate shot to a wide open Trey Palmer for 58 yards. Palmer looked more like he was calling for a fair catch than catching a touchdown pass. That’s how wide open he was! He backpedaled into the end zone. Score LSU 21 – Miss St 3

Mississippi State was driving, going a bit up tempo. It appeared someone lost track of Christian Ford on a crossing route and he caught a 24 yard pass on the Bulldog sideline. After a review it showed that the received stepped out of bounds. The Bulldogs, went right back to the well, and ran basically the same play the very next play but with a different receiver. This time Malik Heath caught a 22 yard crossing route for the first down at the LSU 31. Two plays later Makai Polk streaked up the sideline for a 29 yard TD. Score LSU 21 – Miss St 10

Tigers got the ball to start the fourth quarter and the Bulldog defense held out. Forcing the Tigers to punt, however, a personal foul on the Bulldogs gave the Tigers 15 yards and a new set of downs. Max Johnson found tight end Kole Taylor for a 41 yard touchdown. Taylor used a ref to screen his route and it caused two Bulldog defenders to collide mid play. “Kole actually asked me what he had on that specific play,” said Johnson. “I told him his route.” Score LSU 28 – Miss St 10

The Bulldogs drive starts at their 25. Rogers completes to Marks on second and 10 for eight yards. Two plays Rogers finds Marks again for 11 yards. Rogers completes to Polk and converts a third down to keep the drive going. Three plays later Rogers finds Williams from two yards out. Williams wasn’t going to be denied that score, he kept his legs moving and stayed ahead of the chains. Score LSU 28 – Miss St 17

Mississippi State gets a delay of game penalty on the ensuing kickoff. This backs them up five yards, and causes them to kick the length of the field. Fair catch called by Josh Williams. Tigers get the ball at their 25.

Ty Davis-Price rushes for five yards on the first carry. Then is tackled in the back field on second down. Jack Bech, on third down, had what looked to be an insane bobble catch that bounced off every part of his body until he finally caught it after diving to the ground to make the catch. After review the catch was ruled incomplete. The Tigers were forced to punt.

On the next drive the Bulldogs would complete a touchdown pass to Marks from 16 yards out, and attempt a 2 point conversion. Tiger linebacker Damone Clark would be penalized for holding after hitting a receiver on the play that was crossing his face. “My first instinct is to hit the receiver,” said Clark. “We’ve seen that 2 point play. They run two plays like that and one of them is to crack me with the receiver. So my instinct is to hit him. I don’t agree with the call. But it is what it is.”

Final Score LSU 28 – Miss St 25