The defensive front of LSU was swarming Jaxson Dart in the second half like mosquitoes in the summer. They were credited with seven quarterback hurries, but that number seems low compared to what we saw on the field. Dart looked like a deer in headlights at times, he was just 8/18 for 80 yards and an interception in the second half.
Mekhi Wingo continued to perform up to the level that has become expected. It’s hard to think what Maason Smith would have brought to the team, given how good the defensive line is without him. Wingo’s consistency in the run game has been incredible, but he even showed some pass-rushing prowess in the win. He accounted for a sack and a half but made Dart uncomfortable on many plays.
The interception by Joe Foucha came at a crucial point of the game. LSU was up by four when Ole Miss had driven down the field, and Foucha snatched the ball out of the air on the red zone attempt by Dart. It was all LSU from that point on, the defense never let up. It was a much-needed performance by Foucha who had found himself on the wrong end of some big plays since his return from suspension. This was the Foucha expected in the run game today, but the coverage was a nice surprise. Once Major Burns returns, the safe room will be highly well-rounded at the right time.
Dart was lucky to only come away with just that one interception. The defense kept getting close from penalties drawing them back to a couple of drops. Linebacker Micah Baskerville talked about the defense keeping track of the ‘almost’ interceptions.
“We were talking about it on the sideline. Like man, we’re gonna make a big play. We were hoping to score on defense, but we knew we were going to get one of these balls. And you know? it came to fruition,” Baskerville said.
The linebacker room was a question mark heading into the season and while it hasn’t been perfect, it has some real playmakers in the room.
Micah Baskerville has emerged as the classic LSU linebacker. He’s fast, smart, a consistent tackler and a great leader. He showed his coverage skills today as well, almost coming away with an interception before the ball got tipped.
The real game-changer on the LSU defense is the kid that everyone has been begging the team to play more. I think Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin put it better than anyone.
“I think they did a really good job; I don’t think it was a lot of schematics. They started playing No. 40 (Harold Perkins) more which we thought they would eventually do,” Kiffin said.
Perkins just makes plays. He looks shot out of a cannon in every play. The justification we heard was that he’s having trouble on the mental side understanding all of the responsibilities that come with the linebacker spot in Matt House’s defense, which is more than understandable for a true freshman. It would help if you found ways to get him on the field, no matter what. He’s too good to keep on the sideline. He didn’t play once in the first two drives and Ole Miss, and we all saw how easy it was for them to operate. There’s no excuse anymore, get him on the field.
“He’s an exceptional player, I think everybody knows that. But, within our structure, some guys lose some playing time because of it, and some really good players lose some playing time. He’s a really good player and he impacts our defense, no doubt,” Kelly said of Perkins.
They have two weeks before Alabama comes to town to figure out ways to get their best players on the field. That’s what you need to beat a team like that. No matter who’s on the field, though, they should be playing with confidence after a huge win in Tiger Stadium.