Starkville, MS (CBS Local)- One of the more interesting developments of the college football season has been the improvement of LSU’s offense.
Through seven weeks, the Tigers are leading the country in scoring at 52.5 points per game, a full 20-point improvement from last year’s average. That kind of jump can, of course, be credited to a more spread out system, in part. But, a major share of the credit also goes to redshirt senior quarterback Joe Burrow.
Burrow’s play has been outstanding. He ranks first in completion percentage (79.6), second in passing yards (2,157), second in passing touchdowns (25) and first in passing efficiency (218.10). He is making a name for himself nationally, placing square in the center of the Heisman conversation and shining in big games. Last week, he led the Tigers to a 42-28 win over then #7 Florida by connecting on 21 of 24 pass attempts for 293 yards and three touchdowns.
The senior quarterback’s play has caught the eye of many across the country, including CBS Sports Network college football analyst Houston Nutt.
“He is reading from high to low or deep to short, and he has been so accurate. The ball is out of his hands quickly,” said Nutt. “You add the RPO, five-step, seven-step drops. Everything he has done is just so different in terms of offensive philosophy. You see a quarterback, in Joe Burrow, that knows where to go with the ball. He has control of the offense, and they follow this guy.”
The Tigers have followed Burrow to a perfect 6-0 record heading into this Saturday, when they make the trip to Starkville, Mississippi to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Bulldogs have struggled in Joe Moorhead’s second season, entering with a 3-3 record and 1-2 in SEC play. Suspensions for various key defensive players have had a role in the step back as well as the loss of several impact players on that side of the ball to graduation and the NFL.
As a result, the Tigers are favored by 18.5 points, despite being the road team in this matchup. With a big game against Auburn looming next week, this week’s matchup has the look of a trap game if the Tigers are looking too much to the Auburn game. However, Nutt doesn’t believe that will be the case, citing the games LSU played against Georgia Southern and Northwestern State as examples.
“I don’t think he will let these guys take a step back,” said Nutt. “In years past, it may be sloppy in the fourth quarter, and they may eke out a win. Not this year. You look up, and they have half a hundred, sixty points. I just see a different team. I don’t think Ed’s going to let them start looking over the fence. It’s a road trip, go take care of business and move on to next week.”
The Georgia Southern game is a good example of how the Tigers have been able to avoid letdowns so far, as it came right before a premiere matchup against Texas. While it can be difficult to continuously keep 18-22 year-olds motivated throughout the season against lesser opponents, this year’s LSU group hasn’t had that problem to this point. Saturday is likely to be another example, as Tigers fans look to continue watching an offense that is better than any they have seen in recent memory.
LSU and Mississippi State is this week’s SEC on CBS game of the week, with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on CBS. Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl will have the call.