It wasn’t pretty, but it was an improvement and the Tigers got a win to open SEC play in Starkville 28-25.
LSU dominated most of the game. A late push by Mississippi State, who scored two touchdowns in their last two drives, made the Tigers sweat it out for a recovered onside kick.
LSU’s defensive coordinator Daronte Jones new he had to do the obvious. Don’t run the same game plan has his predictor Bo Pelini that gave up over 600 passing yards in last season’s opener.
Jones had to stick with a three-man rush and played six defensive backs in coverage and stop explosive plays from Mississippi State.
LSU won the turnover battle for the day with a fumble recovery in the first quarter and a Cordell Flott interception in the second.
LSU capitalized on the State fumble on the ensuing drive with a Max Johnson touchdown pass to Kayshon Boutte. The Tigers went to halftime up 7-3.
The Johnson-Boutte connection continues to be a bright spot for the Tigers. Johnson had 280 with four TDs while Boutte had two scoring grabs for 85 yards for the game.
The plan was working for Ed Orgeron’s staff, but the key was them sticking with it for four quarters. Eye discipline and communication has been a problem for LSU’s defense dating back to last year.
Johnson threw three more touchdowns in the second half to go up 28-10 in the fourth.
Mississippi State’s QB Will Rodgers threw a two-yard pass to WR Austin Williams at the 6-minute mark and a 16-yard wheel route to running back Malik Heath at the 1:53
The questionable call of the day was Bulldogs head man Mike leach challenging an obvious State penalty on the onside kick which sacrificed his last timeout of the game.
From there, all LSU had to do was take a knee in victory formation.
LSU still has their problems; the offensive line cannot consistently pass block. While the run blocking had better moments on Saturday, the Tigers only had 63 total yards on the ground.
LSU has yet to gain 100 yards rushing in any game this season. That stat probably won’t improve against SEC defenses this season, but the Coach O’s staff continues to show adjustments to win games in multiple ways.