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Behind the Box Score: Mississippi St

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Boutte is really good, y’all

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 LSU at Mississippi State
Defenders get this view of Boutte a lot
Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We took a few weeks off for Behind the Box Score because, well, there’s not much we can honestly glean from glorified scrimmages. Any conclusions we would have drawn from the body bag games were bound to be flawed at best, so better to wait until SEC games.

Now, Mississippi St. isn’t a very good team either, but they are at least a Power 5 opponent. And we can start making real observations against a real, live opponent that had a legitimate chance to win.

63. LSU rushing yards. Let’s be frank, LSU cannot run the football. The Tigers averaged 2.3 yards per carry, and only 3.8 yards per carry if you take out Max Johnson’s rushing stats. The longest run of the game was 18 yards, the only carry to go beyond 10 yards. No LSU running back averaged over 4 yards per carry. That’s terrible.

62. Mississippi St. pass attempts. State can’t run the ball either, and this was against a three-an in front in which LSU was practically begging State to run the football. Even faced with only nominal opposition to its run game, the Bulldogs chose to throw the ball on 62 of its 88 snaps. And that’s with a running back averaging 6.4 yards per carry n Dillon Johnson.

216. Yards gained by MSU on its last three drives. Look, there was a lot of postgame discussion about whether LSU should have even attempted to try and milk clock by running the football ineptly rather than trying to pick up first downs and run its full offense. But that almost misses the point. LSU allowed drives of 8 plays for 75 yards, 12-75, and then 12-66 while protecting its lead. How about the defense makes a stop in crunch time. It’s nice the D made them burn clock, but still, make a play. Speaking of which…

12/18. State’s 3rd down conversion. Just… ugh. Forget the high percentage for a second, the sheer volume of third downs is a concern. LSU kept getting chances to get off the filed, and repeatedly failed to cash it in. Third and Chavis was always a tad overrated, more perception than reality, but… Third and Daronte is becoming a very real thing. State’s last failed third down came with NINETEEN minutes left in the game. They would go 8 of 10 on 3rd downs in the second half. That is… not good.

26. Tackles by Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville. The linebackers have come in for a lot of criticism, but this defensive strategy against State relied on them actually making tackles to prevent big plays. They delivered. LSU’s top two linebackers each had double digit tackles, and they combined for 12 solo tackles. Damone Clark even had a heads up play in which he took the time to scoop a fumble rather than falling on it to give LSU great field position on his return. I’m not saying the issues in the middle are solved, but they did come through on Saturday.

4-85-2. Kayshon Boutte. What else is there to say about this guy? He is awesome. We just enjoyed some of the best receivers in LSU history, and right on their heels, Boutte has shown up and he might own the record book if he keeps up this pace. He’s the offense.