Peeps, this one hurt. Honestly, I'm still not sure how I feel about what happened. Disappointed, obviously. But there were lots of positives to take away, too. I think the famous Dennis Green rant in Arizona sums it up best: "They are who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook!"
1. For 3 quarters, these guys were outstanding. LSU has one of the 3 best offenses in the SEC. Maybe the best. Unfortunately, it's a 4 quarter game, and we collapsed when it mattered. We gave up 21 unanswered when we were still in it. Hard for me to stomach the last TD on 4th and Goal when it was clearly over.
2. I thought we covered well most of the night. Mettenberger, Landry, and Beckham are just that good. They won every jump ball. We'd be in there hip pocket, hands all over them, and they'd still come down with it. Those 2 guys should be playing in the NFL today. And Mettenberger made absolutely perfect throws.
3. Overall, pleased with our run D. Gave up a couple big runs, but overall we stuffed them pretty well, especially on the inside runs.
4. Chris Jones is already a total beast. He disrupted LSU all night. He blew up a double team, got consistent pressure inside, made some HUGE stuffs in the run game. We've never seen a guy like this wear the maroon and white. 3 and done, top 5-10 Draft pick.
5. LBs played well. Solid in the run game, not bad in coverage.
6. Nickoe Whitley needs to sit. It's clear he's lost a step and isn't bringing the lumber the way he used to pre-injury. He's a liability out there right now. Sure, he had the pick, and it was big. But he was pretty bad the rest of the night.
7. Really hope Jamerson Love isn't seriously injured. Unfortunately, he wasn't putting any weight on that knee coming off the field. I expect him to be out a while.
8. Preston Smith is very, very good. He's fast, he gets pressure, he plays sideline-to-sideline as a DE. He'll be an NFL Draft pick. Very impressed with this guy.
9. Our tackling was awful. Like most players throughout football now, we're trying to hit hard and knock down players rather than wrapping up and drive through them. It's a football wide epidemic, but it still makes me angry. Virtually every big run last night was a result of missed tackles. Inexcusable.
10. We had LSU in 3rd and 20+.......and only rushed 3. Of course they convert. Classic MSU. BRING THE HEAT, COLLINS!!!!
1. Jameon Lewis was a factor in the return game the few times he had a chance. We really needed that from him.
2. Only a couple of punts by Swedenburg. Solid as usual. Hope an NFL team gives him a chance.
3. My weekly "Why is Devon Bell still on the team?" rant. Seriously, he is hot garbage. It wasn't a matter of IF he'd miss the long FG in my mind, it was a matter of how badly he'd miss it. I'd bet a lot of money I could find a better kicker somewhere on campus. It's embarrassing to not have a kicker. That's 100% on Dan.
1. For 3 quarters, we went score-for-score with one of the best offenses in the nation. 26 should be enough to win a lot of games. But this is the new football, so you better start thinking 31.
2. We were very balanced. Over 400 yards of offense. 200+ rushing and passing. Very nice to see that kind of performance and balance.
3. OL played well for the most part. QBs got rid of the ball or used their legs to avoid the rush. Gave up a couple sacks late when TR was in the game and we were in obvious passing situations, but that's not a big surprise. Pretty pleased with how this group played.
4. Not sure what our Rush YPC ended up, but it was well over 5.0 YPC. I don't care who you're playing, that's pretty damn impressive.
5. Our WRs continue to be inconsistent. While Beckham & Landry were putting on a clinic, our guys continued to have the dropsies. Good news is they blocked well in the run game and made some BIG plays of their own to keep us in it. Gotta win more of the jump balls, though.
6. Saw 2 VERY NICE blocks by Bear Wilson and Malcolm Johnson to seal the lane on Dak's first TD run. Big props to those guys, WR run blocking makes a ton of difference.
7. Speaking of Bear Wilson, he needs to be getting a lot more PT. And most of that PT needs to come out of Joe Morrow's snaps. He made a great catch in a jump ball situation and got a big TD. The more he plays, the better he gets. Best of all, he's unselfish and does the little things, as I noted in 6. Love watching him out there.
8. Jameon Lewis had a career night. He made some insane moves to get extra yards. Kid is absolutely electric with the ball in his hands.
9. Nice games from all our RBs, Perk ran hard and had some really nice runs. Still came away more impressed with J-Rob, though. He just refuses to go down on first contact and moves the pile forward. Always falls forward for the extra yard. He NEEDS more touches. Also nice to see us not spread carries among 5 RBs. Much better rhythm with just Perk & J-Rob getting the rock.
10. Joe Morrow made one really nice catch.....then returned to being Featherstone Morrow. He just doesn't use his size to his advantage at all. He plays much smaller than 6'4". As I said in 7, Bear Wilson should get his snaps.
11. Thought that our overall use of 2 QBs was pretty good, although I still prefer one QB. My only big question marks were using Russell at the end of the first half when we had a chance to run clock and get to halftime with a lead and the decision to stick with Dak when we fell behind by 12.
12. Russell's TD pass to Jameon was a thing of beauty. Of course, he came back later and screwed up by airmailing the easy slant to Lewis that allowed LSU to get the ball back and score right before halftime. I was impressed with Russell running early, too. Don't know where that came from, but it was fun to see.
13. Dak is still learning, but he's clearly got the skills. His mechanics make him a little bit inconsistent at times. But he more than makes up for it with his legs. His 2nd INT was really bad and essentially ended any slim chances we had at making a comeback. I wasn't terribly upset with the first one, though. He didn't see Perk in his read quickly enough, but it worked out about like a punt in that situation. Dak really gives us that extra punch.
14. Hope Ben Beckwith isn't going to miss anytime. We can't afford even a single injury on the OL at this point. If he's out, I have no clue how we shuffle the line. Holley at C and Day at G? Or simply insert Damien Robinson at G?
1. I thought the game really turned on 3-4 big things: 1) Failing to score after Nickoe's INT 2) Failing to run out the half & giving LSU the cheap TD 3) Failing to get a TD on the opening drive of the 2nd half 4) Bell's missed FG. If we get 2-3 of those to go our way, it's a different game.
2. I have absolutely no idea what Mullen was doing going for 2 after the first TD. Instead of being tied with LSU and the crowd being absolutely electric, everyone is looking around wondering what the hell we're doing. Really makes a good situation feel pretty terrible. Plus, it was wayyyyy too soon to try something like that.
3. Overall we had a good gameplan on both sides of the ball. Offense moved it and put up points. Defense was just outmatched by all-world athletes on the outside. Our 5 WR sets looked good and worked for the first time I can remember.
4. We've now been scored 49-17 in the 4th Quarter on the season. That is absolutely terrible. Now, there are several reasons for that - struggling O, big leads against Alcorn & Troy, etc. But the fact remains, it's a problem. We have GOT to start finishing games if we want to bowl and compete with the big boys in this league. 3 Quarters of a 4 Quarter game won't get it done. Makes me wonder a little about Balis and our S&C program. Hopefully we'll see the trend start reversing itself a bit, but it's definitely concerning.
5. Hats off to our fans. You showed up, you were loud, you made DWS a tough place for 3 quarters. Need all of you again next week for Bowling Green.
6. Props to our music guy. Excellent choices all night, sir. Wish I could say the same for our video department.
That's how I saw it, anyway. Feel free to agree, disagree, comment, whatever. I yield the floor.
In Mullen We Trust,