It seems as if LSU football is finally starting to click on all fronts. The Tigers struggled to put the pieces together against Florida State. The offense, defense and special teams couldn’t string together consecutive successful stints. They improved drastically against Southern, but that was merely a warm-up for bigger things to come.
The Bayou Bengals fell flat once again on the offensive and special teams sides of things in the first half against Mississippi State. However, LSU was firing on all cylinders in the second half against the Bulldogs, which led to a massive 31-16 victory last weekend. The offense scored three touchdowns in the game’s final quarter, but it was the defense that emerged as the talking point from the Tigers’ first conference win of the season.
LSU football defensive duo picks up a couple of SEC weekly awards
LSU’s defense dominated Mississippi State’s offense from the moment the ball was snapped. Sure, the Bulldogs busted off a handful of big plays here and there, but for the most part, it was rendered useless. This is thanks in large part due to a tremendous effort by Matt House’s unit. There were a couple of players that shined on the evening though.
Jay Ward was the individual to receive the most praise from fans on social media afterward. The senior safety was the living embodiment of a guided missile against Mississippi State. He recorded a team-high 11 tackles (five of which were solo tackles) and added 1.5 tackles for loss, one pass breakup and an interception on the evening.
Ward’s mature presence steadied the ship after the Tigers went down 13-0 early on in the game. He emerged as the leading playmaker for a near-flawless Bayou Bengals’ defense. Ward’s amazing performance earned him the SEC’s Week 3 Defensive Player of the Week honor.
Another player to pick up an award in the Southeastern Conference for his performance over the weekend was BJ Ojulari. Ojulari was named the SEC’s Defensive Lineman of the Week for his stellar showing against the Bulldogs. Similar to Ward, LSU’s No. 18 showed up all over the stat sheet. He recorded four tackles (three of which were solo tackles ), 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and he had two quarterback hurries.
These leaders on the Tigers’ defense ensured House’s unit helped contain Mississippi State’s lethal air raid attack. Mike Leach looked stumped on the visiting sideline throughout much of the night due to the spectacular play of LSU’s secondary. Will Rogers seldom looked comfortable in the pocket due to the incredible pass rush comprised of Harold Perkins Jr. and Ojulari.
The Tigers were tasked with something that seemed near impossible coming in: stopping an offense that averaged 44 points per game. The quarterback leading this charge led the SEC in almost every passing statistic before he visited Death Valley. He left Baton Rouge after posting a mediocre 41.1 QBR in his team’s first loss of the season.
Ojulari and Ward will be given a lot of credit—especially because the duo picked up weekly conference honors—for the victory. It must be said that none of this was possible without the entire LSU defense on the night. The Tigers may be able to make some noise here in a couple of weeks when conference play gets truly underway.