By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor
STOCK UP: Home Runs
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LSU’s offense has lacked explosiveness all season — until Saturday night. The Tigers entered the game with just two offensive plays of 50+ yards, tied for 85th nationally. Against Southern Mississippi, LSU bested that number in a single quarter, three times in the third quarter connecting on plays of more than 50 yards — a 61-yard Derrius Guice run and grabs of 80 and 63 yards by DJ Chark and Malachi Dupre, respectively. All went for touchowns, as LSU broke out from a 10-10 halftime stalemate for a 235-yard, 28-point third quarter explosion.
STOCK UP: Malachi Dupre
LSU’s junior wide receiver struggled to make an impact through the season’s first games, averaging only three catches for 27 yards per game, while failing to reach the end zone. He busted that slump on Saturday, twice finding paydirt. The first was a 63-yard bomb from Etling. Dupre maintained his balance after the grab, recovering from a near stumble to race to the end zone for his first touchdown of the season. Dupre then doubled his tally with a 23-yard snatch from Etling, skillfully keeping both feet in despite a defensive pass interference. He finished the game with three catches for 100 yards, the first LSU receiver to reach the century mark this year. The projected first round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft looked every bit the pro he’ll soon be.
STOCK DOWN: Kevin Toliver
LSU’s sophomore cornerback has slipped down the depth chart in the defensive backfield. Toliver didn’t play in the first half — Ed Orgeron said he was suspended for the half after breaking a team rule — and only featured on special teams in the second half. After a breakout freshman season, in which he established himself as the team’s starter at corner opposite Tre’Davious White, Toliver’s struggled to make the same impact in year two. Getting reps in his stead are Dwayne Thomas and Ed Paris, with Thomas moving to Nickel and White moving back outside. Whether that’s an indictment on his performances in games, or an indication of his work on the practice field (or off the field), it’s clear Toliver has descended in the pecking order at DBU.
STOCK DOWN: Travonte Valentine
The much-hyped junior college transfer has played less and less with each game, and the win over Southern Miss was the least we’ve seen him at all. By my calculations, the large defensive tackle played exactly zero snaps. Ahead of him in the depth chart appear to be Greg Gilmore, the starter, and freshman Ed Alexander. Valentine was thought to be the missing piece in the middle who would only play more once Christian LaCouture went down in the preseason. Now it appears he’ll have trouble making his way back into a rotation that’s moved past him.