|Ryan Baker shined in his first action of the season|
Photo by: George Walker IV/ AP Photo
The Tigers defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 27-3 in Nashville on Saturday night, but did so as ungracefully on offense as possible.
Les Miles tried many new faces tonight, highlighted by solid performances by Josh Williford at guard and true freshmen Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware at running back.
But if there was a LVP, it would quarterback Jordan Jefferson.
Jefferson went 8-20 for 96 yards. He also threw an interception in the red zone, which is a cardinal sin for a signal caller.
Stevan Ridley had a spectacular performance with no fumbles attached. Ridley bruised the linebackers for the Commodores, until he finally broke free for a a 65-yard touchdown burst late in the fourth quarter.
Ridley owes his HKT game ball to his offensive line. After losing Will Blackwell for six weeks last week versus North Carolina, the before mentioned Williford and T-Bob Hebert did a great job filling in. I liked when LSU allowed left guard Josh Dworaczyk to get a breather when Williford and Hebert filled in at the guard positions. It gave Dworaczyk a chance to finish strong against a tired Vanderbilt defensive line.
On defense, the Tigers put on a memorable display. Unlike the offense, LSU gave a preview of what you will see tomorrow from some NFL defenses.
In my LSU vs Vanderbilt Prediction, I wondered if LSU would change their pass rushing approach against the nimble Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith.
LSU didn't miss a beat up front, as Sam Montgomery showed why he will be part of the LSU defensive line legacy down the road. Speaking of that legacy, Drake Nevis deserves to be mentioned with the Dorsey's, Williams' and Lavalis' now. He is the most disruptive force up front for the Tigers for the second year in a row.
HKT Defensive GameBall goes to linebacker Ryan Baker. The guy just loves collision. Baker pulled a semi-Anquan Boldin by playing tonight, and performed at high level with 6 solo tackles and 3 tackles for loss.
The secondary was never really challenged tonight. Craig Loston earned his first start tonight in place of Jai Eugene. True freshman Eric Reid made the highlight of the night as he leveled Vanderbilt's Akeem Dunham coming over the middle.
Josh Jasper perfect on field goal attempts and Ron Brooks was exceptional on special teams coverage.
"Lunch w/ Les" should be intriguing on Monday. Miles will answer plenty of questions on whether backup quarterback Jarrett Lee will get more snaps. Lee went 1 for 1 passing, hitting Rueben Randle on the prettiest throw of the night.
But an even bigger questions is how to get Russell Shepard even more touches. Nine just isn't enough, and Jefferson struggled hitting him on stride on screens. With as many deep threats at receiver as LSU possesses, there should be no reason why Ware should have the longest reception of the night. Even then, if Jefferson hits him on his upfield shoulder, Ware would have walked in to the end zone.
Expect the offense to struggle even more next week if things don't change. New Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz held the brilliant Gus Malzahn to only 17 points in a loss versus Auburn. Diaz will make somebody other than Shepard beat him next Saturday in Tiger Stadium.