LSU Report Card: Secondary F, Quarterback C, Coaching D after 44-34 loss to Miss. State

Glenn Guilbeau
Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Sep 26, 2020; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron celebrates with safety JaCoby Stevens (7) after a fumble recovery against the Mississippi State Bulldogs during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BATON ROUGE — LSU coach Ed Orgeron was asked about the Southeastern Conference record 623 yards and five touchdowns his secondary surrendered Saturday afternoon to graduate transfer quarterback K.J. Costello in a 44-34 loss to Mississippi State at Tiger Stadium.

"Welcome to the SEC. You've got to get better," he said.

Mississippi State 44, LSU 34: New State coach Mike Leach makes Tigers bleed out

He could have — and should have — been talking about his new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who was welcomed back to the SEC after leaving for 13 years by new Mississippi State coach Mike Leach and Costello. It was the most passing yards allowed by an LSU defense since Florida quarterback Rex Grossman threw for 464 and five touchdowns in a 44-15 win in 2001.

Great job. Pelini and his secondary and his entire defense gets an F.

Leach, meanwhile, gets at A+ in his first SEC game as a head coach. All he did was beat the reigning national champions and made them look bad in the process. The last national champion to lose its next season opener was Michigan in 1998.

Yes, LSU was without All-American cornerback Derek Stingley, who missed the game after being hospitalized on Friday and Saturday with a non-COVID-19-related illness. But Costello could have just thrown to the left of Stingley had he played. Or to his right. Or down the middle.

LSU's bevy of young defensive backs have much work to do. So do the older ones.

"We couldn't play man-to-man," Orgeron said. "We had too many missed assignments."

At times, it looked like they working without assignments.

The 623 yards was nearly 100 more passing yards than the SEC record for a conference game, which was 528 by LSU quarterback Rohan Davey in a win at Alabama in 2001. The previous SEC passing record for a game against anyone was held by Georgia quarterback Eric Zeier, who threw for 544 in a win over Southern Mississippi in 1993.

Other Grades:

LSU Quarterback Myles Brennan - C.

Brennan finished with nice statistics as he completed 27 for 46 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns around seven sacks and two interceptions. Not all the sacks were the offensive line's fault, though, as Brennan takes too long to figure out what he is going to do, and he looks slow of foot as well.

Offensive Line - C.

"We got beat up front," Orgeron said.

Coaching - D.

Orgeron and offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger should have established the run earlier as Brennan took too long to get warmed up. They earned a C, but Pelini's F brought them down to a D.

Orgeron probably never thought he would miss defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, but the thought had to cross his mind Saturday.