Good morning, Tigers fans and welcome back to the Bayou Bengal Briefing, the easiest way to get your daily dosage of LSU news. In today’s briefing, we discuss whether Arden Key’s dominant performance Saturday puts him in the discussion for best pass rusher in college football, catch up with some former Tigers who are lighting up the NFL, drudge up some potentially-less-than-pleasant Wisconsin memories and begin previewing this weekend’s game against Auburn in one of the least logical ways possible. Strap in, folks, and let’s get going.
LSU’s Key to victory
There’s no such thing as a player single-handedly winning a football game. That said, Arden Key got pretty close Saturday, turning his play up in the fourth quarter of LSU’s win over Mississippi State with two sacks, the last of which effectively ending the game.
Through three games, Key has been spectacular. He’s up to five sacks, which ties him for second in the nation, and 5.5 tackles-for-loss, putting him second in the SEC. To put that in perspective, Key recorded five sacks and six TFLs in all of 2015. That’s quite an improvement over just one offseason.
But is it enough to make him the best edge rusher in the SEC? That’s what we’ll look at today.
Now, the reigning crown-bearer for the Derrick Thomas Award for the best pass-rusher in the SEC (I just made this award up) obviously is Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett. The dude followed up an 11.5 sack freshman season in 2014 by putting up 12.5 sacks as a sophomore last season. Now a junior, the man ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. ranks as the best prospect in college football has three sacks and four TFLs through three games for the unbeaten, No. 10 Aggies.
Luckily for us, both Key and Garrett notched two sacks Saturday. Let’s take a look at the video and see what, if anything, separates the two from one another.
The above video is a mash-up of Key’s first sack against Mississippi State and Garrett’s first sack against Auburn. Both men employed a speed rush tactic on the play, opting to just run past blockers instead of have to contend with speed bumps. And, as impressive as Key’s balance was with the way he established leverage by dipping and ripping through the offensive tackle, the advantage has to go to Garrett here. I mean, the man got to the quarterback pretty much as soon as he got out of his play-action. Garrett is no stranger to Jadeveon Clowney comparisons, and this play is no exception, as his instincts are unmatched. So, not-so-narrowly, Garrett gets the edge on this one.
With their second sacks, however, their strategies diverge and we get to see ability match up against strategy. Garrett goes with the old-fashioned bull rush here, driving the opposing tackle into submission before wrapping his arms around Auburn quarterback Sean White, who just kind of falls down, knowing that when dealing with Myles Garrett, giving up might be the best course of action. Key, however, uses a more nuanced approach, stunting from his perch on the edge of the line back into the middle of the field. Key found a lane, fired through it like some bizarre mix of Usain Bolt and a jungle cat stalking its prey, and crushed the quarterback, knocking the ball loose and effectively ending the game.
If we’re just going by these two plays, Key has the advantage. He showed more skill and the play came at a much more pivotal time in the game. But we’re obviously not just going by these two plays. That’d be ridiculous. So Garrett still gets the edge.
But is Garrett better at defensive end than Leonard Fournette is at running back? Well, we’ll wait until Thanksgiving time to answer that one.
Your weekly NFLSU update
As is true every week, LSU was well-represented in NFL action this week, with three players who took carries, six players who caught passes and six players who recorded two or more tackles. Here’s a summary of some of the best performances from former Tigers this week.
- Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson supplied the highlight of the day with an interception of Buccaneers and former Florida State Jameis Winston. Peterson also added four tackles and a pass break-up.
- Former teammates and star wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. of the New York Giants and Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins had characteristically strong days. Beckham caught eight passes for 86 yards while wearing cleats that repped New Orleans and Landry posted his fourth-career 100-yard receiving game behind 10 catches and 137 yards.
- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones led all former Tigers in tackles Sunday with 10, helping the Falcons to a win over the Oakland Raiders.
- New York Giants punter Brad Wing had himself a day against the New Orleans Saints. Though he only punted twice, Wing lit up the field, averaging 58 yards per punt with a long of 63 yards.
- A trio of former LSU running backs took the field Sunday. Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware led the way, rushing for 57 yards on 10 carries and adding 48 yards on two catches. Jeremy Hill, who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, carried 11 times for 22 yards and caught three passes for 37 yards. Alfred Blue carried five times for 11 yards for the Houston Texans.
What’s the deal with Wisconsin?
As if making LSU look bad once wasn’t enough, Wisconsin had to go out Saturday and almost lose to Georgia State.
The Badgers, who — as you probably remember — defeated LSU Week 1 at Lambeau Field, barely squeaked past Georgia State with a 23-17 win in a game in which they trailed with as little as eight minutes left on the clock. And even though the result of the LSU/Wisconsin game was actually closer (the Tigers lost 16-14), it’s hard to not look at the results and say LSU lost both games.
So what was Georgia State able to do that maybe LSU couldn’t? For one, it threw the ball well. Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning (no relation) completed 20 of his 29 passes, averaged more than 9 yards per attempt and didn’t turn the ball over, while LSU quarterback Brandon Harris was 12-for-21 with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Additionally, Georgia State didn’t have to contend with Corey Clement. Clement didn’t play against Georgia State, but he ran for 86 yards and a touchdown against LSU. That said, Wisconsin rushed for more yards per carry (3.8) against Georgia State than they did against LSU (3.2).
The difference was that turnover margin. Georgia State didn’t turn the ball over and LSU had the aforementioned interceptions. The results of both games are in the past, but perhaps if LSU had the roadmap for getting to Wisconsin that Georgia State provided, the Tigers would still be a top 5 team.
Here are some of our links here at SEC Country LSU from this weekend:
- Kyle Tucker argued LSU might have found a way back into the national title discussion.
- Alex Hickey asked “Does Leonard Fournette have fumbleitis?”
- DJ Chark overcame quite a bit en route to a career game.
- An LSU commit set an impressive high school football record.
- LSU jumped two spots in the AP Poll.
- Les Miles had this to say after LSU’s win Saturday.
From animated mascots to CGI renderings to the real-life thing, pop culture has no shortage of iconic Tigers. And to honor this week’s “Tiger Bowl” between the Auburn Tigers and the LSU Tigers, this week at the Briefing, we’re counting down the top 5 tigers in pop culture history. Today we’re going to end the column with No. 5 and we’ll work toward No. 1 by Friday. If your favorite Tiger isn’t represented, well, there’s a reason this is called Arbitrary Analysis.
No. 5: Shere Khan, The Jungle Book
What would a countdown of tigers be without perhaps the most iconic baddie in the history of fictional tigers? Whether you know him from the 1967 animated Jungle Book, this year’s live-action Jungle Book or from the actual Jungle Book book, it’s hard to deny the terrifying stature of the dastardly creature. Bonus points for being voiced by Idris Elba in the most recent version of the Jungle Book. It’s hard not to be cool when you have that cool of a man reading your lines.
That’s all for today’s Bayou Bengal Briefing. If you missed last Friday’s edition, click here to catch up. And make sure to join us again every weekday morning for more LSU news updates and, occasionally, countdowns about fictional tigers.