BY SCOOTER HOBBS
STARKVILLE, Miss. — LSU’s defensive play of the game Saturday against Mississippi State might have come on a play in which the Bulldogs picked up a first down.
It should make all the highlight shows — Kenneth Hollis’ monster hit of State star running back Jerious Norwood at the end of a 19-yard scamper with a screen pass.
LSU safety Jessie Daniels was trying to get a handle on Norwood to bring him down when Hollis sprinted from the other side of the field to finish off the job right in front of the Mississippi State bench and knocked them both into next week.
The crowd of 48,344 gasped at the collision, which sent both Norwood and Daniels down in a heap.
Daniels helmet popped off and his chin strap when spinning about 15 feet straight up in the air.
It was the only tackle that Hollis was credited with in the game, but he got his money’s worth with the kind of hit former LSU head coach Mike Archer once called a “slobber-knocker.”
“I just hit both of them,” said Hollis.
Both Daniels and Norwood stayed down for several moments, with Daniels suffering a bloody mouth and Norwood a concussion.
Hollis said Daniels wasn’t mad at him. “He said, “Good job, but don’t take it out on me.’ “ Hollis recalled.
Daniels returned to the game shortly, but Norwood was done for the day. He did return to the sidelines after a brief trip to a local hospital for an MRI.
“I had a full head of steam because I was on the other side of the field and ran all the way to the other side,” Hollis said.
“I don’t think he (Norwood) ever saw me.”
That wasn’t all Norwood didn’t know.
“I didn’t know who I was or where I was,” Norwood said after the game. “That’s the hardest I’ve ever been hit in my life.”
UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Who says you can’t get a call reversed?
LSU head coach Les Miles had to think his offensive game plan was in trouble when the Tigers were flagged for offensive pass inteference the first time JaMarcus Russell threw the “bubble screen” pass to Skyler Green.
The penalty was for blocking downfield while the pass was in the air — basically a pick play — but in college that’s legal when the pass is completed behind the line of scrimmage, as it was in this case.
Miles literally got down on his knees on the sideline begging the officials to confer on the flag, which came from far downfield.
They did and after a discussion the flag was waved off when referees closer to the action determined the completion was behind the line of scrimmage.
“The guy who made the call only saw the block,” Miles explained. “He didn’t check where the ball was (behind the line of scrimmage).”
They did not, however, use the instant replay system now available for SEC games to make the determination.
Miles said he was merely trying to explain to the officials what the Tigers were doing on the play, which LSU went to repeatedly during the game.
He said the play was simply an effort to get the ball in Green’s hands more often more than anything the coaching staff picked up on the State defense.
“But we felt like getting him into the secondary created some things to our advantage,” Miles said.
RECORD: Using that high-percentage pass extensively, QB JaMarcus Russell had a career-high 20 completions and Green a career-high eight receptions. Russell’s .870 completion percentage (20 of 23) was the best ever for an LSU more than 20 attempts in an SEC game. The previous best was .808 (21 of 26) bhy Alan Risher against Ole Miss in 1981.
MISSING IN ACTION: Two key Tigers did not make the trip. WR Buster Davis stayed home with a foot injury while backup CB Mario Stephenson missed the game due to a death in his family.
NEW TRADITION: Shortly after the victory, the entire LSU team trotted down to the corner of the stadium in which most of the LSU fans and the Tiger band was stationed, where they all joined in singing the school’s alma mater. It’s a new tradition Miles had said LSU would do after victories at home games, but he hadn’t mentioned it as a road exercise.
DEBUT: Former Barbe player Ryan Miller, a redshirt freshman center, saw his first college action after starter Rudy Niswanger limped off the field in the second quarter with a sprained ankle. Niswanger returned the next series, but was unable to stay and Miller played the remainder of the game.
Miles said he expects Niswanger to be ready to play this week.
DOMINATION: LSU has now beaten Miss. State 13 of the last 14 years and 18 of the last 21. The Tigers have out-scored the Bulldogs 202-26 over the last five games and 120-13in their last three trips to Starkville.
FRUSTRATION: Mississippi State has now lost 17 straight games against SEC West opponents, datiing back to a 2001 victory over Ole Miss.
OOPS: LSU, which hadn’t really had a special teams miscue this season, missed its first extra point of the season after opening the second half with an 80-yard scoring drive. Colt David hit the right upright with the PAT try. David did, however, connect on a 30-yard field goal, LSU’s eighth straight.
TOO QUICK: LSU’s defense, which had seven off-sides penalites last Monday against Tennessee, jumped off sides on the first play from scrimmage Saturday.
The Tigers also wasted little time revisiting their chronic problems with blown coverages in the secondary as four plays later, MSU’s Joey Sanders got 30 yards behind the nearest Tiger defender and scored easily on a 66-yard pass play from Omarr Conner.
“I saw him wide open and I couldn’t believe it,” Conner said. “The throw was tough because he was so wide open.”
It was Mississippi State’s longest play from scrimmage in over two years, since a 70-yarder against Tulane in 2003.
IN CHARGE: LSU’s game captains were RB Joseph Addai, DT Kyle Williams and P/PK Chris Jackson.
NEXT: LSU will be on the road again next week Vanderbilt for a 6 p.m. kickoff to be televised by ESPN2.
Sunday, October 2
BY SCOOTER HOBBS
Posted by American Press at 2:35 AM