By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
STOCK UP: Dan Mullen
There’s no question – in my mind, at least – who the second-best coach in the SEC is, right now. Mullen has given LSU fits since 2014, when his Bulldogs knocked off LSU in Baton Rouge. State could have won either of the last two matchups, both of which went down to the final minutes. His ability to develop under-recruited prospects at the game’s most important position, signing and grooming players like Dak Prescott and, now, Nick Fitzgerald, levels the playing field in almost every game. How long he remains in Starkville remains to be seen, but give him the resources of any other SEC West program, and I’d bet he’d have a championship or two of some sort to his name.
STOCK UP: Rashard Lawrence
Such was the state of LSU’s performance on Saturday night that the only Tiger who falls into this category didn’t play a single snap. Without Lawrence manning the defensive front, LSU was powerless to stop State’s power running attack. Aeris Williams and Fitzgerald helped gash Dave Aranda’s defense down the center for 286 rushing yards, and a 6.1 yard per carry clip. Meanwhile, LSU also suffered an injury to Ed Alexander at nose tackle that left them even shorter on interior depth. The Bulldogs bested the Tiger in tackles for loss, sacks, and quarterback hurries. Lawrence can’t get back into the fold quickly enough. I wonder if he can play offensive line, too.
STOCK DOWN: Even More Penalties
LSU officially has a penalty problem. The Tigers entered the game 123rd nationally in penalties, averaging a whopping 10.5 per game. Against the Bulldogs, they picked up another 9 for 112 yards, which will keep them near the bottom of all programs in the country – if not at the very bottom. Some were the product of poor calls – including a costly offensive pass interference on Stephen Sullivan that negated a D.J. Chark touchdown. Others were simply a lack of discipline, like the personal foul that got Donnie Alexander ejected from the game for targeting in the third quarter, or the very same foul committed by and ejection issued to Neil Farrell. Any criticism levied Ed Orgeron’s way in the coming days about his team’s lack of discipline is completely justified by the numbers.
LSU games with 70+ penalty yards, 2016: 0 (12 total)
LSU games with 70+ penalty yards, 2017: 3 (3 total)
— Cody Worsham (@CodyWorsham) September 17, 2017
STOCK DOWN: LSU Football
This is the sort of defeat LSU hasn’t seen in more than a half-century. The program’s worst-ever loss to Mississippi State was a 25-0 defeat in 1954, Gaynell Tinsley’s last season on the job. Since 2000, LSU had only lost once to the Bulldogs, a 34-29 defeat at the hands of Dak Prescott in 2014. Mississippi State scored 30 points for the first time ever against LSU in Starkville, and LSU scored less than 8 points in Starkville for the first time since 1923. The offense was poor. The defense was poor. The special teams were poor. The coaching was poor. The program, as a whole, was poor. There’s plenty of time to get back on track, but plenty of work to do in order to get there.