Because I have been at extended tailgates during the first two weeks of the season, I have not had a chance to sit down and watch much college football this season. But tonight I was able to sit on the couch and watch almost all of the Thursday night match up between LSU and Mississippi State. It was a throwback game to earlier days in the SEC when running the ball and defense ruled. Here are my thoughts about the game and the two teams:
- LSU's defense is ridiculous. Quick to the ball, solid tackling, and they make big plays. Mississippi State was averaging 300 yards a game rushing during the first two weeks. Tonight they barely had 200 yards of total offense.
- #17 for LSU (can't remember his name) was mentioned in the game as early target for MSU to pick on. The guy finished with two interceptions.
- LSU has enough talent on defense that they will never need to score a ton of points to win. That is good, because Jarrett Lee will not be lighting up the scoreboard. He is the very definition of a game manager.
- LSU has some good young receivers and the duo of Ware and Ford in the backfield are very solid.
- All the injuries on the Mississippi State line are really killing them. They were getting little to no push against the LSU front.
- Relf makes some pretty good moves for such a big guy, but he doesn't sell play action well at all.
- Ballard is a bowling ball, you've got to keep him off his feet.
- Mississippi State's defense looked out of breath in the second half. If you can sustain long drives like LSU did tonight, you can wear them down and then begin hitting long passes.
- Overall, Mississippi State has not progressed much from last year. Don't get me wrong, they are a solid team who hung with the number 3 team in the country. But, they are still too one dimensional offense which makes them vulnerable late in the game (as evidenced by Relf being pulled in favor of Russell). The defense is solid, but they still rely so heavily on the blitz that a decent quarterback should have little trouble tearing them apart. Fortunately for them, Jarrett Lee is not that type of player. When they play Arkansas, expect big numbers from Wilson and his trio of receivers.
It was a really fun game to watch. I love seeing old school SEC games where you think the final score may be 6-3. I feel like the Dawgs will have a tough challenge when MSU comes to Athens in three weeks, but it won't be much different than waht we saw in Starkville last fall.