The offense was humming and the defense offered up its best performance of the year. LSU needed the win to keep its playoff hopes alive and get momentum back on its side.
LSU is now 2-1 with a conference win under its belt. Next up for LSU is a match with Arkansas in Baton Rouge. The Razorbacks are coming off a loss to BYU.
Expect LSU to be a heavy favorite again in that one.
Here are five numbers that defined LSU’s win over Mississippi State.
56% success rate on passing downs
Even when Mississippi State knew LSU was going to throw it, it didn’t matter.
You can't be serious @whyguard13
📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/Fz9jiq3iNH
This is what fans have clamored to see from this offense for some time. The coaches put trust in Daniels, and Daniels put trust in his receivers. The result was an explosive down field attack.
If teams continue to pressure LSU in these spots, the Tigers have the receivers to win man coverage battles on the outside. If defenses want to drop back and play zone, Daniels has the athleticism to extend the play until a man comes open.
Jayden Daniels 4 for 4 on passes of 20+ yards
This goes hand in hand with what we just looked at, but here’s a closer look at just how good Daniels was on Saturday.
On passes that travelled 20 yards or more, Daniels was 4/4. No other Power Five quarterback who attempted at least four 20+ yard passes had a 100% completion rate in Week 3.
On the year, Daniels leads the SEC in completion percentage on deep balls. His 30.6 yards per attempt on such plays leads the conference too.
We’re looking at a different quarterback than what we saw last year. That changes everything for this offense.
Logan Diggs' 71 total yards
This might seem insignificant. Seventy-one total yards from a running back isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
But it’s meaningful for LSU considering its search for stability at this position.
Logan Diggs followed up his 100-yard debut in Week 2 with another solid performance. He touched the ball 12 times, averaging 5.92 yards per play.
On the year, his success rate of 71% leads all LSU running backs.
He impacted LSU in all phases, including pass protection and receiving out of the backfield.
Pass pro is not passive.
RB finish! 😤 pic.twitter.com/4YkhNYQJww
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 16, 2023
LSU will continue to use a running back-by-committee approach, but Diggs is the closest thing LSU has to an RB1 right now.
LSU had one sack on the year entering the MSU game. The Tigers surpassed that total on Saturday alone, racking up four sacks on the Bulldog offense.
Harold Perkins, Sai’Vion Jones, Mekhi Wingo and Major Burns all got one.
Jones made an impact early, tallying another pressure to go along with his sack. If Jones emerges as a legit pass-rushing threat, LSU’s defense can find a next level.
The front seven made it easy on the secondary. Rogers didn’t have much time to throw and LSU kept MSU behind the chains, leading to some predictable play-calling.
LSU’s secondary issues will flare up again at some point. The best way to deal with it is a dominant performance from the guys up front.
Malik Nabers' 13 catches on 13 targets
After LSU’s loss to Florida State, I wrote about only six of Nabers’ 12 targets turning into catches.
On Saturday, all 13 of Nabers’ targets were converted into catches.
It wasn’t just because Nabers played the best game of his career, but Daniels’ ball placement was perfect.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) September 16, 2023
Mike Denbrock knew what buttons to push, lining Nabers up all over to give him favorable situations in man coverage.
Nabers is one of the best receivers in the country and on Saturday, he looked the part.