1 – Points Mississippi St. defeated LSU by in 1999 (LSU finished 3-8, and Miss. St. finished 10-2; this is the only Miss St. win over LSU since the 1991 season). This season’s game was also 1 point shy of the record combined score in the series.
3 – consecutive SEC games for LSU that the two teams combined for the second-highest point total in the all-time series: Auburn (56 points, second of 48 meetings), Georgia (85 points, second of 30 meetings), Mississippi St. (85 points, second of 107 meetings). Going back to the Ole Miss game last season (76 points, second of 101 meetings), it’s 4 SEC games out of 5.
26 – Wins by LSU over Miss. St. in the past 29 seasons. The Bulldogs had won 5 in a row before that.
27 – LSU home games since losing to Florida, 13-3, in 2009. LSU’s only loss in those games was the last-minute loss to Alabama last season.
32 – Years since Georgia beat South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida in the same season. They’ve never beaten all three AND LSU in the same season, although they did beat Florida, South Carolina, and LSU in 2004.
Getting back to the LSU/Mississippi St. game, giving up 26 points is hardly embarrassing, but that doesn’t fairly represent how bad the LSU defense looked for most of the game. They couldn’t penetrate into Miss. St.’s backfield; and when they did, it didn’t matter too much, because then they couldn’t tackle.
Dak Prescott (a Louisiana native) can run, but he’s not Johnny Manziel. LSU seemed to give him way too much room to manœuvre out of fear of a big play. Prescott ran for 103 yards and threw for 106. LSU did a little better with tackling Tyler Russell, who ran for negative yardage overall despite a 15-yard scamper, but Russell threw for 146 yards. 468 total yards given up against Miss. St. is a problem, especially after giving up over 400 yards to Auburn and nearly 500 to Georgia.
The Bulldogs were only 4/11 on third downs and had two failed fourth-down conversions. Still, it was worrying that the score was 28-26 just under three minutes into the second half.
The LSU defense does deserve some credit for playing better under pressure–and for playing well toward the end of the game–but this game could have been a lot closer for a lot longer. Miss. St. made two fairly short field goals (one 22-yarder, one 35-yarder) and missed a 42-yarder. If Miss. St. had a decent field-goal kicker (which arguably accounted for the three extra points Georgia had to end the game two Saturdays ago) and made just a few more good plays. (I’m not taking anything away from LSU’s kicker, but the Georgia guy is incredible.)
I’m expecting a slightly more typical SEC game next week, when the Gators visit Baton Rouge. (Here is the LSU/Florida rivalry blog, if you’re interested. I think that’s the most popular feature of this blog.) I will be very concerned if Florida starts scoring at the rate Miss. St. did for the first 33 minutes on Saturday though. I don’t trust the LSU offense to keep up with something like that against the Florida defense. Playing from behind still isn’t our game, as the Georgia game showed.
Mentioning that Georgia kicker reminded me of Ryan Succop, formerly South Carolina’s kicker, now of the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. I also couldn’t help but notice that the Chiefs had Dustin Colquitt, punter from Tennessee, Dexter McCluster, running back and kick returner from Ole Miss, and Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver from LSU. Those are all recognizable positions, and it almost seems like yesterday when each player was playing in the SEC. They didn’t all overlap, but it seemed like it.
Too bad former Alabama QB Brodie Croyle couldn’t make it as a Chief (or NFL player in general), then it could be even more like an SEC all-star team. Former Tennessee QB Tyler Bray did play extensively in Kansas City’s last pre-season game but has been inactive for all of the regular-season games. Chase Daniel is the current #2 QB. Although he didn’t play in the SEC, his alma mater Missouri does. In other backup QB SEC news, Matt Flynn, who led LSU to the 2007 BCS championship, has been released by the Raiders, the Chiefs’ next opponent.