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If defense wins championships, LSU could be on the way
by Deke Bellavia,posted Sep 16 2011 2:11PM
As the 3rd-ranked LSU Tigers squared off against one of the best offensive units in the country, the biggest question was, “Could the Tigers shut down another top offense?” Well, the Tigers DID. For the second time in three weeks, LSU completely shut down an offense that had previously averaged over 500 yards per game.
Going into the Thursday night game, the Bulldogs of Starkvegas averaged 588 yards of total offense per game. The Bulldogs’ big-play offense had rushed for an average of 321 yards per game, and averaged 46.5 points per game.
Against the stout LSU defense, the Bulldogs -- or should I say “bull pups” -- got smacked in the mouth, and the smacking continued for four full quarters. The Tiger defenders held Mississippi State to 190 yards of total offense, with 59 of those yards coming on the final drive of the game. And, the Tigers limited MSU to just 49 yards rushing.
So, let’s break that down.
LSU held Mississippi State to 272 yards BELOW their rushing average, and 398 yards below their total offense average. State QB Chris Relf was limited to 170 yards below his 276 total average per game, and the nation’s leading rusher in Vick Ballard (who had averaged 9.71 yards per carry) gained a whopping 38 yards, for a big average of 3.8-yards per attempt. That’s a total of 5.9 yards LESS per carry for Ballard and 113-yards less than his total rushing effort per-game, as well.
Additionally, the Tigers got a solid outing from their massive O-Line, which has worn down each of their first three opponents.
And, how about the play of QB Jarrett Lee? Lee completed 21 of 27 pass attempts for 213 yards, with one TD and one interception. (That interception was his first in 131 passing attempts, which ranks him second in school history.)
So after three games, what have we learned?
We’ve learned that the Tigers have become a more complete team. LSU has dominated their first three opponents, and the Tigers have improved in each of their first three games as well.
But, consider this: If defense wins championships, then the LSU Tigers could very well be on their way to winning their fourth national title in school history, and their second under Coach Les Miles.