Friday, 16 September 2011 14:04

Defense, Jarrett Lee Were Keys To LSU Win Over Mississippi St.

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LSU's arrogant, amazing defense allowed only 193 yards and had 13 tackles for loss, while Drew Alleman kicked four field goals to give the third-ranked Tigers a 19-6 SEC West victory over 25th-ranked Mississippi State on Thursday night at Starkville.

LSU (3-0, 1-0 SEC) beat Mississippi State (1-2, 0-2 SEC) for the 12th straight time and the 19th in the past 20 meetings.

The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 361-193. Despite committing nine penalties for 83 yards, the Tigers managed to hold the ball for nearly 38 minutes.

Quarterback Jarrett Lee was nearly flawless, completing 21-of-27 passes for 213 yards including a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rueben Randle with 12 minutes to play in the game. In the fourth quarter, Lee was intercepted for the first time in 131 pass attempts when Randle broke off a route on the sideline.

Tigers running back Spencer Ware carried the load offensively, gaining 107 yards on 22 carries. Michael Ford took 13 carries for 50 yards as the Bengals totaled 148 yards rushing on 38  tries.

"I like Lee's play," said LSU coach Les Miles.  "He gave us leadership. He stepped up. They kind of crowded the box to take away the run, and that gave us some one-on-one situations."

Lee played within himself. The much-maligned quarterback rose to the occasion. On the Tigers' TD drive, he completed all five of his passes for 68 yards, capping the drive with a touchown toss to Randle.

The Tigers defense found the Bulldogs' offense an oasis. When defensive star tackle Michael Brockers (four tackles, three for loss) came out, sophomore Bennie Logan (five tackles, 3..5 for loss),  entered the game. When defensive end Kendrick Adams (three tackles, two for loss, one forced fumble, one pass breakup) got a blow, Barkevious Mingo (one forced fumble) took his place.

They call LSU "Defensive Line U," but the Bengals defensive backfield could be the best in the country.

Is LSU the best team in the country? That remains to be seen.

"We played the defending national champs (Auburn) last Saturday and just played the best team in the nation," said Bulldogs coach Dan Muller. "These are big bumps to get over. If you win the SEC West, you're the best in the country.

West Virginia is next for the Tigers. NCAA suspended receiver Russell Shepard returns but he will have to battle freshman Odell Beckham Jr. for the starting assignment. Beckham had a game-high eight catches for 61 yards on Thursday night.

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\ to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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