Well, LSU fans, I hope you enjoyed your impromptu bye week. But, barring any surprise weather distractions, it’s game week again. And that’s why the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here. Today on the Briefing, we take a quick look at LSU’s next opponent, catch up with scores from around LSU and the NFL and, possibly, close the book on the LSU-Florida game that could have been. Let’s get to it:
After four straight weeks of preparing for SEC foes (and three successive weeks of playing them), LSU will have to prepare for a nonconference game this week against Southern Mississippi. As a 4-2 team hailing from the Conference USA and coming off a loss where it allowed more than 50 points, Southern Miss might seem like it’s only one or two rungs above “cupcake status” on the ladder.
But upon closer inspection, Southern Miss — much like actor Liam Neeson — has a particular set of skills that, if used properly, could match up very well against LSU’s weaknesses.
For starters, Southern Miss is spectacular in third-down defense. Opponents are converting only 19.44 percent of their third downs against the Golden Eagles defense this year, the fourth-best mark in the country. This presents a bit of a challenge for LSU. In their three wins this season, the Tigers have converted 53 percent of their offensive first downs. But in losses? LSU is only converting 26 percent of the time. If the Southern Miss defense continues to excel in getting off the field, it’ll dominate tempo just like it wants.
Which leads us to the Southern Miss offense. The Golden Eagles score more than 40 points per game, the 21st-best mark in college football. They gain about 60 percent of their yardage through the air (318.7 passing yards per game), compared to 40 percent on the ground (213.5 yards per game). The three most-prominent performers in their offense all rank in the top 20 in overall yardage gained at their positions, with quarterback Nick Mullens ranking No. 7 in the country with 1,874 passing yards and 16 touchdowns thrown.
Behind this offense, Southern Miss came back from a 25-point first-half deficit against an SEC foe to win, 44-35. And yes, that team was Kentucky. But SEC talent still is SEC talent. And not only did Southern Miss prove that it has a talented base, it also proved its resiliency.
All this is to say this: LSU shouldn’t look ahead to Ole Miss next weekend. The Mississippi team visiting this weekend could be a handful in its own right.
Your weekly NFLSU update
With the Cardinals and 49ers starting the NFL weekend on Thursday night, a significant portion of the LSU contingent in the NFL didn’t square off Sunday. But the core of former Tigers in the NFL who did compete Sunday still made up a good group of playmakers and difference-making defenders. Here’s a quick roundup of Sunday’s action:
After saying he's "not having fun anymore," Odell Beckham Jr.'s gloves remind him to "Just Smile." pic.twitter.com/K5MqbIvm4z
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 10, 2016
- Last week, Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t having fun. If he didn’t at least have a little bit of fun Sunday night, he should hang up his cleats for good. The third-year wide receiver for the New York Giants caught 5 passes for 52 yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ loss to the Green Bay Packers, with the touchdown representing his first score of the season. Despite this, Beckham’s 5 catches came on 12 targets, meaning that the Packers still did a pretty good job or corralling him, or Eli Manning did a pretty bad job of getting him the ball. Good thing he had his gloves to remind him what to think. Also, Odell seemed to make up with his old nemesis.
if they can make it work, anyone can pic.twitter.com/p2vfpU9cJ3
— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) October 10, 2016
- When it’s come to this season, the safe bet for most dominant LSU wide receiver has been on Miami Dolphins pass catcher Jarvis Landry. But Landry was limited to 3 catches and 28 yards Sunday. The actual most-dominant crown belonged to Cincinnati Bengals’ Brandon LaFell, who caught 8 passes for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys on Sunday, albeit in a losing effort.
- It was a rough weekend for former Tigers running backs. Houston Texans tailback Alfred Blue carried 6 times for 39 yards and Bengals back Jeremy Hill was held to 12 yards on 4 carries. Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware was on bye.
- Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter is a key cog in the NFL’s most intimidating defensive unit and on the league’s only remaining unbeaten team. He showed out a bit Sunday, notching 3 tackles, 1 sack and 1 pass defensed as the Vikings routed the Texans.
- Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne had his second consecutive solid showing, defensing 2 passes and making 3 tackles in the Cowboys’ 28-14 win.
Your bi-weekly nonrevenue sports update
Just because the football team didn’t play this weekend, that doesn’t mean the whole sports world stopped spinning. Here’s a quick glance at some of the highlights from this weekend in LSU sports:
- Riding high off the good vibes of its huge comeback victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday, the LSU volleyball team extended its winning streak to two games Sunday with a victory in straight sets against Georgia. LSU established the tone with a dominating 25-13 first-set performance, and continued the sweep with 25-21 victories in the second and third sets.
- Keeping with its winning ways, the No. 4 LSU men’s golf team won the David Toms Intercollegiate Tournament this weekend, posting a cumulative score of 11-under par, 35 strokes ahead of the runners-up. LSU golfers Brandon Pierce, Eric Ricard, Louis Gagne and Sam Burns finished in a four-way tie for the individual title, all finishing the weekend at 1 under.
- The swimming and diving teams won a meet against Loyola of New Orleans this weekend by a score of 125-23.
- The soccer team was underwhelming again this weekend, losing to Tennessee Friday by a score of 3-1 and then falling again Sunday, this time to Georgia, 3-0. The team now is 1-6 in SEC play and 6-9 overall.
Sad tweets (say so much)
LSU’s players were rightfully frustrated that they weren’t able to take the field Saturday to face off against Florida. So, like the good millennials they are, they took to Twitter to complain. Here are some of my favorite examples:
Hope we make this game up…. #LSUvs.Florida
— DeSean Jamal Smith (@bigdesean) October 9, 2016
When should the game be played and what's the best choice? #LSUvsUF
— Lewis Neal (@ImBallinNeal18) October 8, 2016
Despite the disappointment of not playing today, I've been reminded how much fun it is to hang out and watch college football..
— Blake Ferguson (@bferguson50) October 8, 2016
LSU VS UF needs to be reschedule I don't care if we play in somebody back yard.
— Arden Key (@ArdenKey49) October 8, 2016
Anybody wanna remind me why we didn't play today ? ?
— 8️⃣ (@Saivion_1k) October 8, 2016
Makes me sick we aren't playing right now.
— G2 Greg Gilmore (@The_GilmoreEra) October 8, 2016
And, for the positive outlook, there’s D.J. Chark:
Gotta learn to accept the things you can't change… we got a home game Saturday.. be excited for that
— DJ Chark (@DJChark82) October 8, 2016