LSU’s stout run defense made State one-dimensional
Mississippi State surprised LSU by emphasizing the pass in its early play-calling Saturday night, but the Bulldogs were hampered by their inability to ever establish the running game.
LSU held State to 47 rushing yards in the Tigers’ 37-17 victory. It was the 22nd time in John Chavis’ 50 games as defensive coordinator that LSU has held its opponent to fewer than 100 rushing yards.
The Bulldogs were playing without leading rusher Ladarius Perkins, whom coach Dan Mullen said suffered a quadriceps injury in practice last Wednesday.
State threw the ball on seven of the 10 plays on its opening possession, during which it drove 74 yards to a touchdown.
“We didn’t expect them to come out and throw the ball as much,” LSU safety Eric Reid said. “We were focused on the run, but they came out throwing so we had to make a couple of adjustments. We did for the most part.”
The Bulldogs finished with 39 pass attempts and 24 rushes. They averaged 2.0 yards per rush and completed 27 of their passes for 304 yards.
Night and day
Saturday’s game was LSU’s last night home game and last night game of the regular season.
The Tigers play their home finale against Ole Miss at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, then finish the regular season with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff at Arkansas on Nov. 23.
Their game against Ole Miss is the only daytime kickoff among LSU’s eight home games this season.
Last season, the Tigers had six home games, just two of which were at night, and all four SEC games were played during the day.
LSU went 6-1 in home night games this season and is 37-2 in home night games in coach Les Miles’ eight seasons. Both losses came against No. 1-ranked teams — Alabama two weeks ago and Florida in 2009.
Since 2000, the Tigers have won 91 percent of their night games in Tiger Stadium (61-6) and 75 percent of their day games at home (18-6).
Noting the defense
- State’s quick passing game makes it difficult to get to quarterback Tyler Russell. The Bulldogs entered the game having allowed the second-fewest sacks (eight) in the Southeastern Conference. The Tigers managed two sacks, one each by ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. The sacks came at an especially helpful time, as they occurred on third and fourth down after the Bulldogs had reached the LSU 15 with an opportunity to get within one score midway through the fourth quarter.
- State had reached the Tigers’ 15-yard line, thanks primarily to Russell’s 40-yard completion to Chad Bumphis, who finished with nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. That completion was just the third play of 30 yards or more allowed by the LSU defense this season.
- Reid, who has played the past several games with a painful sternum injury that has twice forced him out of games briefly, was especially physical against State. He tied linebacker Lamin Barrow for the team lead with nine total tackles and had a team-high six solo tackles.
Noting the offense
- LSU had five plays that gained 20 or more yards against the Bulldogs, matching the number it had against Alabama a week earlier. The five are the most such plays the Tigers have had in games against Southeastern Conference opponents this season.
- Zach Mettenberger passed for 273 yards, one week after passing for a season-high 298 against Alabama. He is the first LSU quarterback to pass for 200 yards in consecutive games since Jarrett Lee did it in 2008 against Mississippi State and Florida. In the past six quarters, Mettenberger has passed for 477 yards.
- Jarvis Landry’s career-high 109 receiving yards provided just the second 100-yard game by a Tigers receiver this season. Odell Beckham Jr. had 128 receiving yards against Towson.
- Freshman running back Jeremy Hill’s streak of three consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards came to an end, as he finished with 48 yards on 15 carries. Hill, though, increased his season total to 477 rushing yards, moving him past Joseph Addai for the 10th-most rushing yards by an LSU freshman. Addai had 438 yards as a freshman in 2002.