LSU really likes this offense stuff now.
One week after winding up on the losing end of a shootout with Georgia, the formerly offensively-challenged program showed it could dial it up again against Mississippi State, beating the Bulldogs in a hard-fought 59-26 victory in Starkville.
The Tigers are now averaging 45 points per game in their first three SEC outings this year.
As has usually been the case of late, quarterback Zach Mettenberger was the difference maker for LSU. He completed 25 of 29 for 340 yards and two touchdowns, his second-straight 300-yard passing game (he was over 300 by the end of the third quarter).
Lo and behold, there are weapons around Mettenberger, too. Tailback Jeremy Hill rushed for 157 yards and ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry continued to show why their one of the pass-catching duos in the county, collecting a combined 17 catches for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Not that Mississippi State just laid down. On the contrary, the Bulldogs displayed a balanced offensive attack, trading punches with LSU in the first half until it held a 23-21 second-quarter lead over the Tigers. The combo of Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell made the usually stingy LSU defense look like swiss cheese at times. But four quarters was just too long for MSU to hang around a team this talented and the Tigers scored 31 unanswered points to pull away.
But now that LSU has finally come to terms with the forward pass, it’s finally becoming a team that doesn’t have to apologize for huge deficiencies on one side of the ball. In fact, this team is downright intriguing. Credit new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron for finally utilizing the program’s considerable talent on offense. If he keeps getting this kind of production out of Mettenberger, we’re looking at a team that has the potential to run the table the rest of the way and set up a rematch with Georgia in the SEC title game.
Raided by the ACC, UNLV has officially turned its eyes to the Ivy League for its coaching replacement.
Travis Burkett, the football program has announced, has been hired the Rebels’ running backs coach. Burkett will replace DeAndre Smith, who left last week for a job at North Carolina.
Smith had been with Tony Sanchez‘s program for just three months or so, coming to Las Vegas by way of Purdue.
The past 10 seasons, Burkett served as an assistant at Cornell. Prior to that, he was a graduate assistant at Bucknell.
This will be Burkett’s first job at any capacity at the FBS level. His new employer added the following in announcing his addition:
At UNLV, Burkett inherits a rushing attack that stood 15th in the nation last fall with 241.5 yards per game, which ranked fourth in program history and was the most since 1979. All three of the team’s top rushers return in 2017.
With an assistant fighting a significant health issue, Derek Mason has turned to someone very familiar with the Vanderbilt football program to fill the coaching void.
Vandy confirmed Monday that Warren Belin has been hired as the Commodores’ outside linebackers coach. Belin will, at least temporarily, replace Osia Lewis, who stepped down from his job as he battles liver cancer. Lewis will transition into an of-field role within the program as he fights the disease.
The announcement came on the same day Vandy kicked off spring practice.
From 2002 through 2009, Belin was Vandy’s linebacker’s coach under Bobby Johnson. He was at Wake Forest in the same role from 2013-15.
Last season, he was with the Demon Deacons in an off-field role as director of high school relations.
In opting to leave Miami in late January, Gus Edwards was restricted by the university from transferring to two of his top choices in Pittsburgh and Syracuse as they were on this coming season’s schedule. A little over a month later, the Staten Island native, who wanted to transfer and move closer to home as he was a new father, has found his new college football home in the same area of the country.
On its official Twitter account earlier Monday, Rutgers announced that Edwards has transferred into the Scarlet Knights football program. As Edwards will be coming in as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.
The upcoming season will be the running back’s final year of eligibility.
Edwards was third on the team this past season in rushing with 290 yards. For his Hurricanes career, the 6-1, 230-pound back ran for 977 yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries.
A foot injury suffered in summer camp cost Edwards the entire 2015 season. He received a medical redshirt for that season.
With its Egg Bowl rivals knee/neck-deep in controversy — and with said rival reportedly trying to bring it down as well at one point — Mississippi State has taken the time to put a positive face on the current state of its football program.
The Bulldogs announced Monday night that they have reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension with head football coach Dan Mullen. The new deal means Mullen is signed through February of 2021.
According to the school, Mullen’s financial package will be $4.5 million for 2017. Mullen was paid $4.2 million in 2016, a figure that was seventh in the SEC according to USA Today‘s salary database.
“I am very thankful to the University and athletic administration for their belief in me,” Mullen, the subject of myriad coaching carousel rumors the last handful of years, said in a statement. “We have built a special program over the last eight years, creating a culture where winning is expected while achieving that in the toughest division in college football. I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I am truly excited about the direction we are heading as a program. This extension allows my family a long-term future here in Starkville, a place we are proud to call home.”
Since taking over as MSU’s coach in 2009, Mullen has guided the Bulldogs to a 61-42 record overall and 29-35 in conference play. In those eight seasons, the best divisional finish was second in 2014. In the other seven seasons, they were either fifth (five times) or fourth (twice) in the SEC West.
The Bulldogs have gone to a bowl game each of the past seven seasons, the longest such streak in school history. They’re also 5-3 against Ole Miss under Mullen.
“Dan has brought unprecedented success to Bulldog football and is one of the elite coaches in the country,” athletic director John Cohen said. “From a school-record seven straight bowl games to our performance in the classroom, he continues to raise the standard of excellence.”