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Grading Out: Mississippi State

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Taking a look at the performances of each LSU unit against the Bulldogs

LSU went on the road and got a win in their SEC and season opener vs Mississippi State. That is good. For the most part, the performance was really good too. But there were things to work on along with the highlights. So yours truly and Paul took a look at how each unit performed, and what they need to get better at going into Auburn and the rest of the season.

Quarterback

Jake: Harris played really well, but didn't throw it a lot. There were no mistakes though. He made good decisions and made a couple quality throws. Grade: B+

Paul: Not sure what more you could have asked for from Harris too. The low passing totals were a byproduct of him not getting his number called. He protected the ball, commanded the huddle and never once look flustered despite being stuck in cowbell hell. Impressive performance even if his numbers were modest. Grade: A

Running Back

Jake: Fournette and Williams were great. There's not much you can really say that hasn't been said about No. 7. He creates runs by himself, finds holes that aren't there, has a ridiculous acceleration, and the legs never stop moving. Williams is a great option to spell him as a plow through the defense type guy. Grade: A

Paul: Fournette is a man. Williams is a hammer. Didn't see much else from anyone else. John David Moore seems capable at FB. Grade: A+

Jake: Moore did look really good. It'll be interesting to see how much more they involve him, or if they just keep him as a great blocker.

Wide Receiver

Jake: This is really down to the fact that there weren't many catches to go around. Dupre had some nice moments, and that little crossing route throw that Harris made to Dural for a 1st Down was nice, but over all...not much to see. Grade: C+

Paul: Diarse's block almost single handedly drags this grade down here. The receivers were decent, but need to continue to grow up. Grade: C

Jake: Diarse's block was bad. I thought they got off blocks a lot better than they did last weekend. And hey, a TE caught a pass!

Offensive Line

Jake: They didn't always create great holes, and some of Fournette's runs were down to him just finding a hole himself and going through it. But overall they were still good and for most of the night Harris had a clean pocket. Grade: B

Paul: LG is currently a black hole. Boutte was flat out bad. Teuhema looked very much like a true freshman making his first ever start on the road in the SEC. I'm not terrified because the talent is there, but they need to grow up fast. Luckily, they won't face a guy like Chris Jones every week and the OTs should be able to stave off the quality ends at Auburn. Grade: C

Jake: Boutte was really slow off the block. I'll stick with a B just because Harris did have a clean pocket for the most of the night, but there's definitely some growing up to do. Hopefully they'll iron it out before November.

Defensive Line

Jake: They were an A and a darn near perfect performance until they started to gas late. That's when they stopped getting pressure on Dak and as he got the ball out quicker, MSU started to drive more. Key was a monster, and they only allowed 43 rush yards. Grade: B+

Paul: Good pressure early. Arden Key will be the starter sooner rather than later. They tired as the game wore on, which makes sense considering the lack of depth. We need guys like Clark and Teuhema to step up to be viable options. Grade: B

Jake: Clark and Teuhema will be big from a depth stand point. And Herron and Gilmore have got to do better when spelling LaCouture and Godchaux.

Linebackers

Jake: I struggled with this group. Debo and Beckwith were both flying, making tons of tackles. And Debo rushed the passer well on a few downs. Dude is really fast. But they also were vulnerable in pass coverage later in the game. That was part of the reason Dak was able to nickel and dime us so well. I was encouraged, and they should be a good unit...but can't quite pull the trigger on an A here. Grade: B-

Paul: Beckwith is pretty damned good downhill but not stellar in his pass drops. We played only two guys pretty much all game. The backups hardly touched the field. I go B rather than A because they got gashed up passing wise, but were stellar in run d, completely nullifying anything State did on the ground. Grade: B

Defensive Backs

Jake: They were really good until the 4th. The pressure dried up in the 4th Quarter and Dak got the ball away very quickly. Kevin Toliver was absolutely lockdown and Rickey Jefferson flew all around the field. Grade: B

Paul: There were some moments but if this unit wants to lay claim to the best in the nation they've touted all offseason than they gotta play better than this. Tre got bullied by De'Runnya some. They allowed 300+ passing yards, a lot of it in the second half. Dak is one of, if not THE, best QB we'll face. So give credit where it's due there. But this unit simply could have played better. Grade: B

Jake: I give Tre a bit of a pass because MSU put Wilson in positions to take advantage of the size disparity. And while Dak did throw for over 300 yards, it came on 52 pass attempts. They weren't quite as good as they could be, but they were pretty darn good.

So quite a lot of B's, 1 or 2 C's, and some A's as well. Pretty good all around. The 4th Quarter impacted some things, but LSU looked the part of a great team for long stretches on Sunday. Now it's onto Auburn.