By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
STOCK UP: The Deep Ball
Danny Etling was dialed in downfield on Saturday, and he was sure to spread the love. Drake Davis snagged his first career touchdown – a 36-yarder in the first quarter – by toasting the Chattanooga defense with his 4.4 speed. Stephen Sullivan followed up by elevating to grab a 46-yard reception over two Moc defenders, setting up the Tigers’ second score. Etling then found D.J. Chark streaking down the sideline for another 46 yards in the second and down the middle for 48 in the third. LSU hit on just eight passes of 40+ yards in 12 games last season. They have five through two games this season. If Matt Canada can transform the deep ball into a legitimate offensive weapon, it gives the Tigers’ offense an entirely new dimension.
STOCK UP: The Other DJ
LSU’s plan in the fall was to have Donte Jackson return punts, but Ed Orgeron gave D.J. Chark the role prior to the BYU game in an effort, he said, to get more ball security back there. The decision has more than paid off. Chark took two punts back for scores on Saturday, though one was negated by an illegal blocking call. On both, he displayed first round speed, elite vision, and the ability to navigate through crowds and patiently wait for holes. He also managed the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. And, yes, his ball security was fine.
STOCK DOWN: Penalties…again
The flags were falling en masse against LSU on Saturday night, yet again. The Tigers were penalized 11 times, all but one of which in the first half. One cost LSU seven points, when Chark’s first electric punt return for a score early in the second quarter was called back on a Todd Harris illegal block. Another cost the Tigers three points: Danny Etling was flagged for intentional grounding later that drive, and Jack Gonsoulin missed the ensuing field goal. Donte Jackson’s running into the kicker gave Chattanooga a second look from five yards closer at a field goal to end the first half. Derrius Guice earned an unsportsmanlike conduct flag after celebrating a touchdown. A mostly clean second half is progress, but the total is still troubling. One week of penalties is an aberration. Two is a trend. Three means this team has a real discipline problem.
STOCK DOWN: College Kickers
LSU’s field goal kicking has been poor in recent years. The Tigers haven’t ranked better than 49th in field goal percentage nationally since 2014. The 2017 season isn’t off to any better a start. Gonsoulin missed his first kick from 40 yards against Chattanooga, and Orgeron immediately sent Connor Culp in, only to watch the sub miss short from 47 yards into a head wind. Culp later knocked in a 45-yarder with the wind at his back and finished the game kicking extra points, so it would seem he has an inside track at the job.