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Behind the Box Score: New Mexico

Punch the time card and put in a day’s work

Who is having fun? That guy.
Photo by John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On the one hand, it is just New Mexico. This is what you are supposed to do to New Mexico. Good teams should blow out outmatched teams with little difficulty.

However, this postulates that LSU is a good team. And, looking around college football this season, easy wins have been harder to come by than the usual. The clinical destruction of another team, no matter how large the gap in resources or Q-rating, is impressive given how this season is going for almost everyone.

On the one hand, don’t read too much into this. On the other, the mere act LSU treated this game like a business trip is hard to understate. This team is improving, even if the big tests are still down the road.

545. The gap between LSU and New Mexico’s yardage totals. LSU had 633 yard of offense while holding New Mexico under 100. That’s utter domination. If anything, New Mexico is fortunate to have only lost by 38.

4/5. LSU’s red zone scoring rate. That looks good, but against a team like New Mexico, you really should be at 100%. And that’s not four touchdowns, it’s four scores. Twice, LSU settled for field goal attempts and only once walked away with the field goals. More accurately, LSU scored 24 points on its five red zone trips which is right about the line. Given the opponent, it probably tilts the wrong way. Finish drives.

0. LSU punts. OK, there were wo turnovers, one on downs and then a fumble on the last full drive of the game, but again, this is how you manage blowouts. Get the ball and don’t give it back until you score. Pretty simple, right? By contrast, New Mexico punted nine times.

9/10 for 135. Garrett Nussmeier’s passing line. More importantly, he had zero interceptions, didn’t take a single sack, and threw the game’s only passing touchdown. I think we’re at the point we’re done worrying about Jayden Daniels. He’s the guy and while he has his flaws, his assets suit this offense. So Daniels having another excellent game doesn’t move the needle until the competition moves up in quality. But Nuss? He needed this one. He’s looked shaky so far this year, like a guy trying to do too much on each play, trying to prove everything on each and every throw. This time, a near perfect outing as he calmly extended the LSU lead and put the game away.

10. LSU players with a reception. 8 of them had multiple receptions, and five players had at least 4 catches. There’s only one ball to go around, but LSU is doing a great job of getting everyone involved in the offense. It’s almost like Daniels has too many weapons to work with. Almost.

8. LSU tackles for a loss. On the night, LSU only made 48 total tackles, meaning that one sixth of their tackles in the game were for a loss. This looked like a classic LSU defense.

Again, take the opponent into consideration. But this was another game in which LSU looked better and more encouraging, better prepared. It seems they are ready for the teeth of the schedule.