LSU football grades vs. Mississippi State: Here's who got the A in thrilling comeback
The offense struggled to get anything going in the first half and LSU's special teams unit was suspect again. But a fantastic performance from the Tigers' defense allowed the offense enough time to catch up and deliver Brian Kelly his first SEC coaching victory.
Here's how the Tigers (2-1, 1-0 SEC) fared against the Bulldogs (2-1, 0-1) at Tiger Stadium:
The Tigers punted on five of their first six drives. And the only time they didn't boot it away was a second-quarter fumble inside the Mississippi State 30-yard line.
But the unit played better as the game went along, as quarterback Jayden Daniels did a better job of finding his receivers and helping the unit play with more tempo. In the fourth quarter when they had to burn more clock, the Tigers delivered a 14-play, 85-yard drive that lasted 6:01 to help seal the win.
LSU had four sacks in three quarters and was sticky in coverage against Mississippi State's pass-heavy air-raid offense. Defensive coordinator Matt House did a good job mixing up the Tigers' coverages and sending blitzes at the right times.
Special teams: C-
No blocked field goals or muffed punts this week for the Tigers. But poor punt and kick return coverage allowed Mississippi State to have strong field position on four drives. The recovered muffed punt in the third quarter was an unforced error made by the Bulldogs and had little to do with LSU.
LSU FOOTBALL SEVYN BANKS RETURNWhat CB Sevyn Banks' potential return means for LSU football secondary
LSU FOOTBALL QUESTIONSWill Micah Baskerville play more? Five questions after LSU football's win over Southern
LSU FOOTBALL AIR RAID DEFENSEHow Brian Kelly, LSU football are approaching Mississippi State's Air Raid attack
LSU's defensive game plan was spot on. But the false start penalties from the offensive line and the coverage issues on multiple punt and kick returns made for an uneven performance.
A shaky first half was followed by an impressive finish for the Tigers. The offense found its rhythm as the game went along and the defense smothered Mike Leach's offense from beginning to end.
Koki Riley covers LSU sports for The Daily Advertiser and the USA TODAY Sports South Region. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @KokiRiley.