How it Happened
After a poor first half that ended in a 10-10 tie, LSU exploded with a 28-point, 235-yard third quarter. The Tigers managed only 121 yards in the first half and Danny Etling completed only four passes. Derrius Guice scored a touchdown on the first two drives of the second half: first on a 61-yard run and then on a 20-yard run after Jamal Adams forced a fumble. Elting completed a 80-yard pass to DJ Chark and a 63-yard pass to Malachi Dupre for touchdowns in the third quarter. Elting and Dupre connected again for a 23-yard score in the fourth quarter. Dupre came into the game without a touchdown catch this season. LSU finished with 459 total yards and held USM to 242 yards. Elting completed 11-of-18 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns, his first game over 250 yards at LSU.
What it Means
After a 42-point, 634-yard night vs. Missouri two weeks ago, LSU's offense looked like it did pre-coaching change during the first half. In the second half, LSU relied on its running game and executed blocks well. Despite struggling on downfield passes in the first half, LSU didn't abandon them in the second half and got its wide receivers the ball, which it has struggled to do at times this year. With five straight ranked opponents to end the season, LSU can't afford any more slow starts on offense.
Player of the Game: Derrius Guice
When LSU needed to get its offensive going in the second half, it relied on Guice. His two touchdown runs in the first five minutes of the third quarter pulled LSU out an offensive funk. Playing in place of the injured Leonard Fournette again, he ran for 162 yards on 16 carries (10.1 yards per rush) and two touchdowns. He also eclipsed 1,000 career rushing yards.
LSU has already had injury problems on its offensive line, especially on the left side. K.J. Malone and Maea Teuhema started the game at left tackle and left guard, respectively. Both left the game early with apparent injuries. If their absence is prolonged, it will test LSU's offensive line depth even more.
LSU gets back into SEC play when it hosts No.12 Mississippi next Saturday at 8 pm CT.