Instant Reaction: LSU Tigers Overcome Shaky Start To Dominate Southern Miss
Things got off to a very rocky start to say the least in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The LSU Tigers kicked off to Southern Miss to open the game, and the Golden Eagles then proceeded to go on an eight minute demoralizing touchdown drive to put the Tigers in a 7-0 hole. LSU then quickly punted the ball back, and Tiger Nation was officially worried.
The rest of the first half did nothing to ease the nerves of the LSU faithful, as the offense was brutally stagnant and the defense struggled to contain an offense from Conference USA. The Tigers headed into the halftime intermission tied with Southern Miss at 10 a piece, and a sense of hopelessness clouded a fanbase that had been fired up just a couple of hours prior.
Southern Miss executed their game plan to perfection for much of the first half. They came into play looking to move the ball in small chunks of yardage, milking the clock as they went on slow, methodical drives deep into LSU territory.
Before Saturday’s game, we told you that one of the biggest things the Tigers needed to do in this game was shut down the Southern Miss running game. Ito Smith and Golden Eagles build their entire offense off of running the football, so taking away that strength was a big key going into the contest.
The team struggled to do that in the first half, and it had a devastating result. Smith was able to rack up yards, and that allowed quarterback Nick Mullens to play off of his success and get some key completions. The inability to slow the run allowed USM to keep the ball out of LSU’s hands, and it led to points for the Golden Eagles.
But coming out of halftime, EVERYTHING changed for the LSU Tigers. They received the kickoff to open play in the third quarter, and mere seconds later Derrius Guice was off to the races for a long touchdown run. Southern Miss got the ball back, but Jamal Adams quickly forced a fumble and before you knew it Guice was back in the end zone.
Danny Etling would then throw long touchdown passes to D.J. Chark and Malachi Dupre, and just like that it was 38-10 and the game was all but over. The Tigers would tack on an additional score on another touchdown pass to Dupre to wrap it up at 45-10.
After the first half, many fans were very concerned about this team and its chances going forward in conference play. But the Tigers were able to overcome that extremely shaky start and absolutely dominate in the second half. Derrius Guice shined again, Danny Etling showed a lot of improvement, and the defense was remarkable. There are a lot of positives to take away from this game going forward, and we will break those down for you over the next couple of days here on Death Valley Voice.