- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Here's a look at three lessons learned in No. 10 LSU's 59-26 win over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
LSU might have the two best wideouts in the country: Good luck to defensive coordinators trying to game plan for Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Choosing between double-covering LSU's two wide receivers is like picking your favorite poison. Saturday it was Beckham's turn to lead as he went off for 179 yards and two touchdowns on nine reception. Mississippi State basically played 10 yards off of him all night and still it got burned deep. But Landry was no slouch playing Beckham's sidekick and ended up with 96 yards on eight receptions.
Cam Cameron is guiding the most balanced offense in the SEC: Alabama has had trouble running the football, Texas A&M is mostly a one-man show and Georgia is being killed by injuries. So somewhat by default and somewhat by production LSU is left as the most balanced offense in the country. There's nothing to be done about stopping Zach Mettenberger and the passing game. The funny thing about his 15 passing touchdowns is that most of them haven't been easy throws. Instead he's shown off a blend of strength and precision on throws that makes NFL scouts drool. And if coordinators try to lay back and play the pass, they'll get burned there. Jeremy Hill and the four-man running back corps are firing on all cylinders. Against Mississippi State, LSU ran for 226 yards and six touchdowns.
The defense, meanwhile, needs work: What's historically been LSU's strength is suddenly its biggest flaw. The defense, long the backbone of the program, has been playing a dangerous game of "Bend but don't break." Against Georgia, it broke. Against Mississippi State, it held. But the flaws were obvious. There were too many missed tackles and missed assignments in the first half. And more than that, there were too many times the defense was outmuscled for the football. The previously anemic Mississippi State offense was given room to flex its muscle, racking up 468 total yards of offense and 13 plays of 15 or more yards. While very few are doubting the talent on LSU's young defense, it's getting to the point to begin questioning whether it will grow up in time to make a serious run at the national championship.
3dJeremy Crabtree and Brandon Chatmon