BATON ROUGE, La. — There’s just something about the second half with Ed Orgeron and LSU.
For the second straight week, the Tigers went to the locker room tied with an opponent from the state of Mississippi. And for the second straight week, LSU blew the doors off said opponent in the second half, holding it scoreless and cruising to a comfortable win.
That bodes well when you’re getting graded by someone like me.
All the LSU offense does under Steve Ensminger is rack up yards and put up points. Against Ole Miss it was 515 yards to go along with 38 points. Of course, many of those were produced by Leonard Fournette, who had a school-record 284 yards along with 3 touchdowns on 16 carries.
But Ensminger also called a good game for quarterback Danny Etling, who completed 19 passes to seven different targets for 204 yards and hit a long pass for a touchdown for the second straight week.
I don’t even think they have put it all together — but they are getting pretty darn close.
The unit was on its heels early as Ole Miss swung with a vicious first punch and traveled 77 yards on just six plays. The Rebels moved the ball with ease on their second drive, too, before finally being limited to a field goal.
But after that, the defense stiffened, critically limiting the Rebels to another field goal after they got to the LSU 4. The only other Ole Miss touchdown came when the Rebels got the ball on a fumble at the LSU 9 at the end of the first half. Ole Miss was shut out in the second half and held to its lowest scoring output of the season.
The Tigers were flagged three times for pass interference — one of which seemed like it might have been a stretch — but that is something future officials will be watching closely from LSU.
Special Teams: A
Lost in the Fournette hubbub was a great effort from punter Josh Growden. He averaged 44.8 yards on his 5 punts, with a long of 57, and 2 were downed inside the 20.
As always, Tre’Davious White was a pest in the punt return game, bringing back 4 for a total of 54 yards.
Colby Delahoussaye also connected on a 44-yard field goal.
This was possibly LSU’s best special teams performance of the season.
Orgeron’s decision to be aggressive at the end of the first half was a costly one, with a sack and fumble giving Ole Miss the ball at the LSU 9-yard-line with just a minute left before the break.
And though I personally would have run out the half, I respected his answer for why he didn’t.
“We’re not gonna sit on nothin’,” he said. “We’re going.”
Sometimes being aggressive pays off, sometimes it doesn’t. And overall it has for Coach O, who is 3-0 at LSU.
All that aside, he is the king of the halftime adjustment. LSU has outscored its foes 73-7 in the second half under Orgeron.
Nobody’s beaten Ole Miss like this in 2016. Not Alabama and not Florida State. With another dominant second half, LSU showed it is capable of giving the Crimson Tide trouble in a couple of weeks.