BATON ROUGE, La. — For the first time this season, LSU has a winning record.
The Tigers, ranked No. 20 in the country, quickly found their stride against visiting Mississippi State on Saturday in their SEC opener, then held on despite a late scare from the Bulldogs.
Here’s what head coach Les Miles said after the 23-20 victory when he addressed the media:
- Opening Statement: “It wasn’t perfect in any way, but we got to start it. We got a real good start in conference play. Etling comes out, is 19 of 30, nice start. We had the ball in the first half for right around 20 minutes and a nice piece that offense came out and took care of the ball did the right things and threw the ball pretty well.”
- “The finishing of the game — if offense doesn’t turn it over, nothing is in question. Onside kick, 2 fumbles, they get back in the game when they shouldn’t.”
- “Defense played well. Arden Key with 2 sacks, Jamal Adams and Lewis Neal with 9 tackles. Defense played well.”
- “Our special teams are unbelievably contributed in this game. Punter out-kicked … basically made their returner give ground to field balls. “
- Gadget play: “Just a feel on counteraction and they weren’t just running to the ball. Like to have those calls back if I could right now.”
- On Etling: “Extended plays, ad-libbed, did things he was supposed to. Pretty accurate. Made plays with his feet.”
- On Fournette fumbles: “Good news is he’s ready to be … gotten in great shape. One of those issues is ball security. He’s one of the most ball-secure runners I’ve ever had. He wasn’t limited tonight and needs a “refresher course” on ball security.
- Etling: “He understands. It takes some time, a good quality year to understand motions and stems we do, but he’s really capable.”
- On D.J. Chark: “Trying to see different talent and skills. Both for Malachi and D.J. and Travin. We moved those guys around to give them a different look. Fortunate to be able to mix and match skills and talents. We can certainly improve that.”
- On Fournette’s workload: “We talked about a pitch count, but sitting here, he didn’t want to sit. He wanted to get in the game, and that made me think he’s feeling pretty good.”
- On late-game woes: “We made it close. Turn the TV back on. To be honest, that crowd was everything we wanted early and it’ll be there when we need it.”
- On 6 sacks: “We have some guys that can fly. Lewis Neal, Arden Key, Kendell Beckwith — those guys can get to the quarterback, a devastating weapon on third down.”
- Miles won’t name Etling the starter, but “I do very much like Danny. I would anticipate he’ll be in that position on that trip to Auburn next week.”