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Behind the Box Score: Mississippi St

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Yawn. Another big win.

LSU v Mississippi State
Open field!
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ho hum. Just an ordinary blowout win over a conference rival on the road. You know, the same conference rival who blew you out the last time they played you in their home stadium.

Now? The win barely measured an arched eyebrow. LSU treated this like a business trip, and they got off the bus, took care of business in short order, and went home without much fuss. There were some nerves early, but the game was pretty much over by the half as LSU asserted its dominance.

Before we look ahead to the consecutive games against the hated Alabama state schools, let’s beak down the numbers that mattered in the win over Mississippi St.

25. The length of Cade York’s longest field goal. It’s nice for him that he went three of three, and the scorebook will take notice that he doinked one in off the post, but seeing LSU’s first three drive result in short field goals is a bit a mixed blessing. This is where we get into the misleading nature of Red Zone Conversions, which had LSU at 5/5. But had LSU scored touchdowns on those first three drives, the score is 21-0 and the game is already put to bed. Instead, it was only 9-0, opening the door for State to make a game of things for a while.

21. The number of first downs each team had. LSU won this game 36-13 and squandered early opportunities to turn this one into a blowout, but State… had a good game? They were outgained by a mere 413-340, won the battle for possession which kept LSU’s offense off the field for long stretches, and only had one three-and-out before the fourth quarter, and that was early in the third. So why wasn’t this closer? Well…

5. Mississippi St. turnovers. OK, to be fair, two of them were turnovers on downs, which at least showed some good old fashioned aggression, but State fumbled on their third drive, giving LSU a short field to work with for the second time in their first three possessions (the first drive ending with one of those failed 4th downs). State would add two picks, including a back-breaker right before the half which allowed LSU to take a 22-7 lead into the locker room.

25-32-327. Joe Burrow’s stateline. He added four touchdowns and zero interceptions. This is what qualifies as a mediocre game for him. That is mind-boggling. He completed 78.1% of his passes and his season completion percentage went down. I don’t even know what to say about that.

3.4. LSU’s yards per rush. That’s a bit misleading as it includes sacks and kneel-downs, but it is still a bad game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire averaged 4.8 on 11 carries and Ty Davis-Price averaged 8.2 on 6 carries. So Team Hyphen did their job, carrying the ball 17 times for 104 yards and a 6.1 average. Still, the running game didn’t add much this weekend.

3. Mississippi St. sacks. A big part of that was that State got to the quarterback. We’ve been singing the praises of the o-line this year for keeping Burrow’s jersey clean, but they didn’t have their best day in Starkville. Giving up three sacks and six TFL bodes ill going forward against two of the most ferocious defensive fronts in the nation.

11. Grant Delpit tackles. Welcome back, Mr. Delpit. He added a QB hurry, but more importantly, he seemed active and all over the field, and he made a bunch of tackles near the line of scrimmage, and wasn’t failing to make that initial takedown. With the addition of JaCoby Stevens turning into a bona fide star at safety (8 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception) plus those two amazing corners… LSU’s secondary is rounding back into its usual form.