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Winners and Losers: Mississippi State

The Malik Nabers Game

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 LSU at Mississippi State Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

That’s more like it.

LSU (2-1, 1-0) played by far and away its best game of the 2023 season, taking care of Mississippi State with ease 41-14. Starkville ain’t an easy place to play, especially with an early 11:00 A.M. kick, but LSU didn’t sleepwalk in the slightest. All of LSU’s goals are still in front of them, and if they string together a few more performances like yesterday then a New Years Six/playoff spot would appear to be in the cards.

Winner: Malik Nabers

Nabers had one of the best days a wide receiver has ever had in program history: 13 catches, 239 yards, and a pair of scores. The 13 catches is tied for fifth most in a single game, and the 239 yards is tied for fourth. Nabers’ day may not be remembered as fondly as Josh Reed versus Alabama, and the stage certainly wasn’t nearly as big as Justin Jefferson versus Oklahoma, but for one early morning in 2023, Malik Nabers looked like the best player in America.

Winner: Jayden Daniels

30-34, and an LSU record 88.2 completion percentage. From a pure quarterbacking “stand in the pocket and deliver” perspective, it’s the best game Daniels has ever played. He had bigger games last season against Florida, Ole Miss, and Alabama, but yesterday’s Daniels was something we haven’t seen yet. He took chances downfield, was deadly accurate, and oh yeah he can still hurt you with his legs. To echo what I said in the intro, if this is the Jayden Daniels LSU gets from here on out they’re the best team in the country.

Loser: Will Campbell

Campbell had four penalties yesterday, including a false start on LSU’s opening drive that wiped away a 4th and goal touchdown run. He also channeled his inner Kyle Turley and threw a Miss State player’s helmet.

Winner: Whit Weeks

I gotta say, I really liked what I saw from 40 yesterday. Weeks flashed in a way that Omar Speights hasn’t and he’s certainly deserving of more reps. Could this be a Kendall Beckwith-DJ Welter situation?

Winner: Kaleb Jackson

Speaking of deserving more reps. Man.

It might be sacrilegious to say this but I haven’t seen an LSU running back run through someone like that since Leonard Fournette. Logan Diggs and Kaleb Jackson should probably be LSU’s 1-2 punch moving forward.

Winner: Harold Perkins

Welcome back, 4. Perkins had a couple of tackles for loss, his first sack of 2023, and even broke up a pass. It should be no surprise that LSU’s best defensive game of 2023 synced up when Perkins finally got to play like Perkins.

Loser: Kickoff Coverage

Maybe I’m picking nits here, but LSU’s kickoff coverage is leaving a lot to be desired. Mississippi State popped a couple of big ones yesterday.