Grading the Tigers

LSU was not at its best on Saturday night but it was more than enough to beat Sylvester Croom's pesky Mississippi State Bulldogs. After reviewing the film on Sunday it's time to hand out the grades.

Quarterbacks

Jarrett Lee was solid once again. He made a few errant throws but if he goes 18 of 27 for 261 yard with two scores and one interception in the coming weeks then LSU's offense will be tough to stop when it faces the big boys. The lone interception he threw could have been caught but it looked as if it was thrown too early and Dickson wasn’t looking for the pass.

 

Grade: A-

 

Running Backs

It’s still too early to start the campaigning but one more 100-plus yard effort in two weeks against a very fast and athletic Florida defense will change that. Scott’s 141 yards and two scores on 27 carries was another impressive performance by the junior back. The Quinn Johnson fumble prevented the running backs from acing this test but another outstanding job by the running game, including some good runs by Keiland Williams (2-15), Richard Murphy (2-13), and Trindon Holliday (2-14).

 

Grade: A

 

Receivers and Tight Ends

Demetrius Byrd was expected to be the go-to guy but Brandon LaFell has taken that role and he didn’t relinquish it against the Dawgs. The junior from Houston grabbed seven passes for 100 yards and could have logged his fourth touchdown but he coughed up the ball in the end zone.

 

Richard Dickson had his best game of the year with four receptions for 43 yards and he recovered LaFell’s fumble for a touchdown that could have been just what MSU needed to claw its way back. Demetrius Byrd put the game on ice with his 43-yard scoring reception and the blocking on the edge was once again good.

 

Grade: A

 

Offensive Line

The men in the trenches were outstanding against a good Bulldog front and they opened up some big holes for Charles Scott and company. The pass blocking was as good as it has been all year with the Bulldogs getting one sack on Lee but other than that they didn’t get near him much at all.

 

Grade: A+

 

Defensive Line

Ricky Jean-Francois logged his first sack of the season before he went out with what was reported as a groin injury and then Charles Alexander got dinged up as well but later returned. There wasn’t a consistent push up the middle but credit Mississippi State’s offensive line and game plan for creating some problems for the Tigers.

 

Tyson Jackson had a good outing with five tackles and a quarterback hurry but the pressure off the edge was not a problem for MSU. Aside from Jackson, LSU's other three defensive ends (Kirston Pittman, Rahim Alem, and Tremaine Johnson) combined for three stops and two hurries. LSU's ends are too good to not be more disruptive and make more plays.

 

Grade: B-

 

Linebackers

Mississippi State exposed LSU's linebackers and may have laid the foundation for future opponents with getting its running backs matched up with the linebackers out in space. Perry Riley led LSU with nine tackles but there is work to be done with Florida coming up in two weeks.

 

Grade: C

 

Secondary

The defensive backs played better this week and were in better position. This was a matchup that had Les Miles concerned with State’s big, fast receivers but LSU's secondary matched up well with only Chris Hawkins giving up a couple of big plays.

 

Grade: B

 

Special Teams

Brady Dalfrey boomed the ball again and coverage was there on punt returns. The kickoff coverage gave up the big 59 yard return to Derek Pegues to start the game and then gave up a 32-yarder in the fourth quarter. Aside from those breakdowns, the kickoffs were good and Colt David was perfect on his six kicks.

 

Grade: A-


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