Sam Spiegelman/SEC Country
LSU linebacker Devin White is leading LSU to peaking when the team needs it most.

LSU is starting to reach its full potential, and at the right time, too

Nick Suss

LSU football is in the news every day, and the Bayou Bengal Briefing is here to keep you updated with the latest headlines five mornings a week. Join us every Monday through Friday for the biggest news on Tigers football, recruiting, baseball and more. Enjoy!

Wouldn’t you know it, LSU is 5-2

Two weeks ago, LSU fans everywhere braced themselves for the worst. LSU had lost two out of three, including an upset home loss to Troy. Ed Orgeron’s credentials as coach were called into question, and pundits and former players alike pointed out a lack of effort and toughness from Coach O’s players.

But after back-to-back ranked SEC wins? LSU sits solidly as the No. 2 contender for the SEC West title. LSU is one of four SEC squads that controls its destiny to reach the SEC Championship game, along with No. 1 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia and 5-1 Kentucky. Early season losses aside, LSU fans couldn’t ask to be in much better of a place right now than the team is.

Just as it has pretty much every year this decade, LSU’s season will come down to what it can do against Alabama. Not to look past Ole Miss or disrespect Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas A&M, but LSU’s year hinges on whether or not the Tigers can top the Crimson Tide for the first time since 2011. This isn’t news by any means.

But the lucky thing for LSU is it seems like the team is starting to come into itself and at the right time of the year. There’s an old adage about college football that it’s better to lose early than lose late. Just ask Penn State and USC, who started the season 2-2 and 1-3, respectively, last year before reeling off nine-game winning streaks and meeting each other in the Rose Bowl.

We’ve said it time and time again, but it’s still true. LSU came into this year an inexperienced team. Freshmen and first-year starters outnumbered veterans at the top of the depth chart. Seven games into this season, those young players are starting to play like veterans, especially on defense. Devin White, Rashard Lawrence, Eric Monroe, Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams came into the year with a combined zero starts but are playing like five of LSU’s best defenders right now.

When you’re as young as LSU, you’re going to get better as the season goes on. The trajectory of talent on this roster shouldn’t surprise anyone. Until three weeks from now in Tuscaloosa. Pulling out a win there would be ahead of schedule. That’s for sure. Not impossible, just the next surprise of an already surprising year.

Relive the magic

LSU’s 27-23 comeback win over Auburn was an instant classic. There were probably about 80,000 fans in attendance, but a few years from now, 200,000 of your friends are going to claim they were there.

It’s never too early to relive the experience. In case you missed anything, here’s a catalog of what SEC Country wrote about the game:

Grading the grades

Thanks to its new partnership with 247Sports, we get an expanded look at Pro Football Focus grades from now on. This week, we saw it in the form of a top 10 list of LSU’s top performers from the Auburn game. You can read the whole post by clicking here.

If you don’t have time to click, here’s their top 10:

  1. CB Donte Jackson: 93.1
  2. S Eric Monroe: 88.8
  3. WR DJ Chark: 85.7
  4. LB Arden Key: 82.0
  5. WR Russell Gage: 81.7
  6. CB Greedy Williams: 81.3
  7. CB Kevin Toliver: 81.0
  8. OG Adrian Magee: 79.9
  9. DE Rashard Lawrence: 78.9
  10. LB Devin White: 78.2

Looking ahead

LSU plays Ole Miss Saturday. Fresh off a big win over Vanderbilt and a mascot change, Ole Miss seems to be reaching a high point for its up-and-down season. Before we get too in the weeds previewing the game, here are three things to know about the Land Sharks.

1. They can score

Ole Miss is averaging 31.8 points per game, but that stat is skewed down a little bit. In games where Ole Miss didn’t play Alabama, the team is averaging 37.6 points per game, which would be tied with Georgia for the second-best scoring offense in the SEC.

2. They can pass

Sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson is third in the nation in pass yards per game with 357.2 and has thrown 17 touchdowns versus 6 interceptions. He’s one of 13 players in the nation averaging at least 9.0 yards per pass attempt.

3. They don’t stop the run

Ole Miss ranks 118th in the nation in run defense, allowing 238.5 rushing yards per game. Among SEC teams, only Missouri and Vanderbilt have allowed more rushing touchdowns than Ole Miss’ 16.

Leonard Fournette did a thing

Former LSU running back and rising Jacksonville Jaguars star Leonard Fournette started his afternoon with a bang Sunday, breaking out for 75 yards on the Jags’ first play from scrimmage.

Fournette finished the Jaguars’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams with 21 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. He left the game in the second half with a right ankle injury. Fournette was cleared to return, but the Jags kept him out of the game out of precaution.

If there are any injury updates, we’ll update you.

Elsewhere in NFLSU news

Fournette isn’t the only former Tigers star in the NFL. Here’s a collection of some of the other noteworthy performances from Sunday:

  • Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught 8 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, and the Dolphins beat the Atlanta Falcons.
  • Falcons linebacker Deion Jones led the team with 11 tackles. Duke Riley added 6.
  • San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson intercepted a pass in the Niners’ loss to the Washington Redskins.

Today in made-up holidays

According to the folks at NationalDayCalendar.com, Oct. 16 is “National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day.” Just when you thought made-up holidays couldn’t get more random.

I clean my virtual desktop at least once a week. Almost always on Tuesdays, so this holiday isn’t as perfect as it could be. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll partake in my tradition a day early and befriend my computer’s trash bin this afternoon. Join me in this noble pursuit, won’t you?

Miss a previous edition of the Bayou Bengal Briefing? Find every one of SEC Country’s daily LSU football columns right here.