It wasn’t the easiest of outings for the LSU Tigers after the opening bell rung. The Tigers were given fits by the visiting Southern Miss Golden Eagles, as things were evened up at 10 points apiece going into the second half. However, LSU would go on to score 35 unanswered points in the second half, 28 of them coming in the third quarter alone, as they marched to a 45-10 victory to improve to 4-2 on the year.
Derrius Guice and Malachi Dupre were each responsible for two touchdowns in the second half, with Guice’s coming on two consecutive possessions. Guice scampered for 61- and 20-yard touchdowns to help LSU pull away, and Dupre put a capper on the night with 63- and 23-yard TD receptions. In between that, DJ Chark got in on the action with an 80-yard touchdown. That was Chark’s second TD of the night after he picked up a 19-yard rushing TD in the first quarter that tied up the game following an Ito Smith TD that put Southern Miss on the board first.
LSU quarterback Danny Etling threw for 276 yards on just 18 passing attempts, good for a hearty 15.33 yards per attempt. Etling put three TDs on the board through the air and was picked off just once. Guice, meanwhile, ran for a total of 162 yards on the ground on just 16 carries, good for roughly 10 yards per carry. The Bayou Bengals had three receivers go for over 50 yards with Dupre leading the way with 100. Chark would have 91 and DeSean Smith had 56 yards on two receptions.
3 things we learned:
1. Derrius Guice continues to be a gamebreaker: Saturday night’s performance for the sophomore tailback marked the third time that Guice has eclipsed 150 yards rushing. His 162 yards gained were just a yard shy of his season-high of 163 that he set in LSU’s last game against Missouri. Although he’s still in Leonard Fournette’s shadow, teams should be fearing Guice any and every time he gets the ball in his hands if they haven’t already been.
2. The defense was able to snuff out Southern Miss’ potent offense: Coming into Saturday’s matchup, Southern Miss had one of the best offenses in the NCAA with two of the best players statistically as well in quarterback Nick Mullens and running back Ito Smith. Well, the Golden Eagles weren’t flying too high in Death Valley. They only were able to amass 242 total yards despite holding a significant edge in time of possession.
3. We’ll likely figure out more about LSU next week: No disrespect intended towards Missouri and Southern Miss, but they aren’t the mightiest of opponents, and the margin of victory that the Tigers have had against those two teams would suggest that. Their next meeting is against Ole Miss and the Rebels’ high-powered offense will be quite the litmus test for the Tiger defense. Combating them and getting points on the board will also be an interesting dynamic with Guice and their revamped passing game. By this time next week, we’ll likely know a hell of a lot more about the Ed Orgeron-led Bayou Bengals than we do now.