Saturday saw the SEC get turned upside down after several contenders suffered their first losses of the season. No one seemed to have struggled more in Week 3 than LSU, which was on the receiving end of a 37-7 beat-down from Mississippi State.
The honeymoon between Ed Orgeron and the Tigers’ faithful seems to be over, and it’ll be interesting to see how LSU attempts to right the ship.
The lack of offensive production — the Tigers were held to 270 total yards — has left many fans wondering if this year will be more of the same despite a largely new coaching staff. In fact, some fans have even questioned if the Tigers would’ve seen this sort of debacle under Les Miles, who was fired during the middle of the 2016 season.
LSU wasn’t the only team to struggle, however. Here’s what else happened this week in the SEC West.
The Tide didn’t lose, obviously, but they did struggle defensively against Colorado State, giving up 23 points.
Now, the Rams did return their quarterback, their top four rushers, their top two receivers and a majority of their offensive line from last season, so they were expected to be one of the Mountain West’s most prolific offenses. The performance from Alabama’s defense was still underwhelming, however.
In addition, the team might have lost reserve tight end Miller Forristall to a torn ACL. It’s just another blow to this Alabama roster, but the group is still in good hands with starter Hale Hentges and backup Irv Smith Jr.
Auburn didn’t lose to Mercer, but the game still felt like a loss. After five turnovers, including an interception thrown by Jarrett Stidham, Tigers fans are left wondering if their chances of competing with Alabama for the SEC West is all but over.
The defense was solid, however, holding Mercer to 246 total yards and 10 points. The Tigers didn’t record any sacks, but they did hurry the quarterback eight times. Jeff Holland, who has 1.5 sacks this season, led the team with three of the eight hurries.
The bigger news involves backup quarterback Sean White, who was arrested early Sunday morning for public intoxication.
Derrius Guice was held under 100 yards for the first time this season — rushing for 76 yards on 15 carries. Danny Etling, who had seemingly taken a step forward this year under new offensive coordinator Matt Canada, completed only 44.8 percent of his passes for 137 yards.
It wasn’t the offensive showing that LSU was hoping for, but the defense didn’t do much better — giving up 465 yards to the Bulldogs and letting them dominate the time of possession (35:55 to 24:05).
The loss had SEC Network’s Booger McFarland and others criticizing Orgeron and the team, evening accusing them of quitting.
LSU- young undisciplined team that quit in the 4th quarter , penalties are a problem Canada got out coached by Grantham Bad loss BAD
— Booger (@ESPNBooger) September 17, 2017
As bad as LSU was in Saturday’s loss, Mississippi State was just as good in victory. Yet again, Heisman Trophy candidate Nick Fitzgerald dominated on the ground and through the air, putting up 4 total touchdowns (2 passing, 2 rushing).
The defense was even more impressive. So far this season, sophomore defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons has been the conference’s best defensive lineman, and he again showed why with 1.5 sacks against LSU. If he can continue on this pace, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him earn All-America honors.
This Mississippi State team isn’t without weaknesses, but it’s quickly emerging as Alabama’s biggest threat in the West.
Shea Patterson came crashing back down to earth in a 3-interception performance against Cal. This was after he had averaged 459 yards through the air and 4.5 touchdowns in his first two games. He wasn’t the only one to play poorly, however.
The run game didn’t help Patterson at all, mustering only 53 yards on 1.8 per carry.
The defense didn’t have a terrible game in the 27-16 loss, however. That was especially true for C.J. Moore, who was second on the team in tackles with 9 and added two interceptions.
Another week, another shaky performance. The Aggies, facing a less than formidable opponent for the second week in a row, trailed 21-14 at halftime.
Luckily for head coach Kevin Sumlin, the team turned things around in the second half — scoring 31 unanswered points against La.-Lafayette. New quarterback Kellen Mond filled the stat sheet, throwing for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns and completing 61.8 percent of his passes.
Quote of the week
“Put it on me. We’ve got to get better” — LSU head coach Ed Orgeron following the 37-7 loss to Mississippi State
Tweet of the week
“We are out of gumbo” pic.twitter.com/61Uvmja4O0
— Barstool LSU (@LSUBarstool) September 17, 2017
Source: Saturday Down South