Two LSU Tigers captured SEC honors for their play during Saturday’s 31-16 win over Mississippi State in Tiger Stadium. Jay Ward earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week, while BJ Ojulari claimed Defensive Lineman of the Week.
Ward led the Tigers with 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and added an interception in the fourth quarter that helped seal the win. The senior safety/nickel back played a crucial part in the Tiger defense that limited Mississippi State to 3-of-14 on third-down conversions and 1-of-4 on fourth-down conversions.
Ojulari harassed MSU quarterback Will Rogers all day and finished with 1.5 sacks and four tackles – 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage.
LSU’s defense held Mississippi State to nearly 200 yards below its season average as the Bulldogs managed only 289 yards of total offense (75 rushings, 214 passing). On six second-half possessions, LSU’s defense allowed only a field goal, forced three punts, one-fourth down stop, and had an interception.
LSU head coach Brian Kelly credited the players for making the plays against Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense, with a big shoutout to defensive coordinator Matt House.
“We had talked about it. The most important thing is you can’t give them a comfortable pre-snap look, and I think our players did an incredible job of following through with the game plan,” the headman said. “That’s the players being disciplined. That’s mixing up calls. We played a lot of man on the back.
“We did not give them free dump offs to the running back, which gets them in really favorable down and dirt stance situations and forces them to execute balls down the field, which they hadn’t shown they were going to push it vertically that far. I think the kids did a great job and Matt did a great job with the staff to put together the kind of disguises necessary to go against the air raid.”