LSU football got SEC play started the right way on Saturday when it defeated visiting Mississippi State by a score of 31-16. The Tigers’ victory over the Bulldogs takes them to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in conference games. It was a massive victory for Brian Kelly’s team, who earned a bit of respect around the nation for their efforts in this contest.
The Bayou Bengals used a second half surge to power past their visitors after falling behind early on. The determination of Jayden Daniels and Co. was on full display for the nation to see. After going behind 13-0 early, LSU clawed its way back. The Tiger Stadium faithful roared as they watched their team outscore Mississippi State 31-3 the rest of the way behind some incredibly physical and fundamentally sound football.
Which LSU football players earned their stripes against Mississippi State?
It was truly a team effort across the board. There were many unspoken heroes in this match-up. Before getting into the best players on the evening, a couple of individuals deserve special shoutouts for their performances.
Daniels is the first one that comes to mind. While the Tigers’ signal caller didn’t have his best game in purple and gold, he fought until the final whistle. Jaray Jenkins also deserves a mention. It was the veteran receiver’s valiant effort on the goal line that opened up the scoring for the Bayou Bengals on the evening. Mike Denbrock’s offense was struggling up until Jenkins found the end zone, and he lit a fire underneath them that willed the team to victory.
Here are the LSU players who earned their stripes in the win over the Bulldogs:
1. Slade Roy
I think I speak for the entirety of the fanbase when I say I had no idea a long snapper would be one of the most influential players in this contest. Slade Roy ensured he would leave his mark on the game with his contributions though. Roy’s craft often goes unnoticed by many, but when he got his moment to shine, he seized the opportunity.
Set the scene.
The Tigers had scored 10 unanswered points on either side of the half, but the Bulldogs responded quickly. After LSU had cut the lead to three, Mississippi State answered with a field goal and a defensive stop. Things were looking grim for Denbrock’s offense once again as the third quarter drew to a close. The Tigers were forced to punt. The Bulldogs would be getting the ball back clinging onto a six-point lead heading into the game’s final period.
Special teams errors had plagued LSU for the entirety of the season up until this point. Roy—who was in on the play as the long snapper—sprinted down the field in coverage, where Mississippi State was set to receive the punt inside the 10. The punt was muffed and Roy was rewarded for his efforts as he picked up the loose ball. Daniels would go on to punch the ball into the end zone a few moments later. This gave the Tigers a lead that they would never relinquish.
Roy’s impactful fumble recovery was a game-changing moment. LSU’s special teams unit had another night to forget at the office, and if it weren’t for the East Carolina transfer’s heroics, it would’ve been a subject of conversation following the game. However, it was this heads-up play that would go on to help lift the Tigers to victory in the end.