3. The running backs
As I touched on earlier, the running backs were a huge part of LSU’s game plan against Mississippi State. The run game was poor against Florida State, and it seems as if Denbrock—like many spectators—realized that after the Week 1 defeat. They became a lot more involved against Southern a couple of weekends ago, as well.
The Tigers’ insistence on trying to run the ball shows their commitment to trying to be a well-rounded offense. The entire country knows that Kelly possesses some of the most talented receivers, they will be the focus of any defensive coordinator prepping for the Bayou Bengals. Therefore, establishing a successful ground attack is paramount for LSU.
John Emery Jr.’s return to the field will be helpful as the Tigers try to construct a presence in the running game. He didn’t look great against the Bulldogs, but which running back did? LSU averaged 5.4 yards per carry (206 yards on 38 rushing attempts) on paper, which is a deceiving figure. Armoni Goodwin’s 47-yard touchdown rush skewed the numbers in the Tigers’ favor.
All of that being said, that doesn’t mean LSU doesn’t get credit. The Tigers were running behind a new offensive line for the third straight week. This time they were also facing an SEC defense.
The running game was mediocre—nothing more, nothing less—in the first half when LSU was struggling to move the ball. In the second half though, they came to life. Touchdowns from Daniels, Goodwin and Josh Williams helped propel the Tigers to victory and wear down an already exhausted Bulldogs defensive front.
It was a prototypical SEC win on Saturday for LSU. The Tigers utilized their running game and stubborn defense to power them to victory in a relatively ugly slugfest. Emery Jr.’s presence, along with Goodwin’s emergence, will allow LSU to be a lot more sound on the ground going forward. One does wonder where this leaves the Penn State transfer, Noah Cain, on the depth chart.