Jayden Daniels Bolsters Heisman Bid, LSU Begins SEC West Defense in Style as Tigers Maul Mississippi State

Jayden Daniels bolstered his Heisman Trophy bid with a dominant performances as LSU mauled Mississippi State in college football Week 3.

The LSU Tigers got the defense of their SEC West crown to emphatic style with a dominant, crushing 41-14 win over a previously undefeated Mississippi State Bulldogs team in Starkville.

Brian Kelly’s team rode a commanding performance from quarterback Jayden Daniels, who bolstered his Heisman Trophy bid with one of the most commanding performances that we’ve seen in the early part of the 2023 college football season.

LSU Mauls Mississippi State Behind Dominant Jayden Daniels Performance

Any thoughts of an upset in Starkville were quickly extinguished Saturday afternoon, as LSU ripped their way through the Mississippi State defense early and often. Meanwhile, the Tigers were defensively ferocious, taking the bark out of the bite of the Bulldogs offense in an overwhelming display of footballing dominance, getting their SEC West defense off to a spectacular start.

While you can never really say that an all-SEC contest is over by the half, LSU quarterback Daniels ensured that this matchup was all but done by the time the teams exited the field following two quarters as dominant as you’ll see in college football this season.

The Tigers might have put up 70+ on Grambling last week, but this was an entirely different beast.

In fact, in the early going it was only LSU themselves that could hinder their rampant demolition of the Mississippi State defense. The Tigers’ opening drive stalled out on a third and goal penalty that saw Kelly’s team settle for a field goal. It was about the only time Daniels and his cast of offensive weapons were halted in Starkville, Saturday.

Mississippi State head coach Zach Arnett has tried to build this Bulldogs team in his defensive image, and he came into the clash with LSU looking to tame the Tigers and become the first Mississippi head coach to win the opening four games of their tenure. Instead, he’ll be scratching his head for answers to how they were unable to stop LSU all game long.

To his credit, Arnett will not face too many quarterback performances like the one that put the Bulldogs down on Saturday. Daniels got into an incredible rhythm from the first snap, completing his first 13 passes with ease as he casually, calmly, and cooly, dissected the Mississippi State defense.

Daniels and wide receiver teammate Malik Nabers (13 receptions, 239 yards, two scores) were unstoppable. After third-year kicker Damian Ramos had given LSU a 3-0 lead, the Tigers quarterback and wide receiver combination — one of the best in the nation — teamed up for 26 and 33-yard touchdowns on magnificently executed fade throws to the end zone.

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Even when the Mississippi State defense managed to get a third down stop, Daniels managed to work his magic to keep the chains moving, converting both of LSU’s fourth down attempts.

It was a consummate, soul crushing offensive performance that saw Daniels answer a lot of questions about his arm talent as he builds for a run at the Heisman Trophy. By the time backup quarterback Garrett Nussmeier entered the game in the fourth, the LSU starter had amassed 361 passing yards, completing 88.2% of his passes with two passing touchdowns.

Daniels also added a team-high 64 rushing yards with two scores as he bolstered his Heisman Trophy résumé. An electric playmaker who can impact the game through the air and on the ground like few others, he started the weekend as an outside favorite to lift college football’s most significant individual prize.

While Daniels was doing the business on offense, the LSU defense came ready to play after being ripped apart in the second half of the season opening defeat to FSU.

Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers didn’t have a minute to breathe, with a four-man front led by junior defensive end Sa’Vion Jones constantly providing pressure. On third downs, LSU lined up sophomore phenom Harold Perkins and let him use his ludicrous athletic profile to traumatize the Mississippi State offensive line.

As a result, the Bulldogs were held to just 201 yards on the day, averaging 4.0 yards per play compared to LSU’s 7.0 yards per play. Their only touchdowns came from a 9-yard Leadatrick Griffin rush late in the second quarter and a 4-yard Antonio Harmon reception from former Vanderbilt QB quarterback Mike Wright, who was bought in at several points to provide a spark.

After defeating Mississippi State in emphatic fashion to get their SEC West defense off to a flying start, LSU welcome the Arkansas Razorbacks to Death Valley next weekend. Meanwhile, Mississippi State will look to rebound from their shellacking in Week 3 when they travel to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.