MSU INSIDER: Run game can’t perk without Perkins

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

BATON ROUGE – With LaDarius Perkins out, Mississippi State got to see what its running back corps was made of at LSU on Saturday.
Perkins, the starting tailback, missed the game with a quad injury he suffered in practice Wednesday. He entered the game as the third-leading rusher in the SEC.
Perkins went through pregame warmups, and he was a game-time decision.
“He wanted to go, but we made the decision not to let him go tonight,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said
Sophomore Nick Griffin got the start, and he rushed for 38 yards on 11 carries. MSU totaled 47 rushing yards on 24 carries.
“Not having Perk’s a big deal for us,” offensive coordinator Les Koenning said. “We need to get him well and get him back on the field. I’ll be a lot happier.”
Robert Johnson filled in for Perkins on kickoff returns, and he averaged 21.6 yards on five returns.

Autry improving
Junior college transfer Denico Autry is catching on.
The defensive end had another solid game Saturday, recording five tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble. He got to LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger on the first possession of the game and forced a fumble, which the Tigers recovered for a 16-yard loss.
That led to a punt, and MSU’s offense marched 74 yards for a touchdown.
“He’s really beginning to play at a high level starting from Alabama,” defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said. “He’s really beginning to understand our defense and the concepts.”
Over his last three games – against Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU – Autry has recorded 14 tackles and 3.0 tackles-for-loss. On the season, he has 32 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and 3.0 sacks.

Key drive
MSU was trailing 30-17 early in the fourth quarter and was backed up to its own 3-yard line. Tyler Russell passed them downfield, reaching the LSU 15, but he was sacked on third and fourth down.

Key number
Nine – LSU converted on 9 of 15 third downs. MSU was 3 of 10.

Quotable
“Their star players made big plays at key moments in the game. That’s what star players do.” – MSU coach Dan Mullen

Next weekend
MSU plays its final home game of the season when Arkansas visits. The Razorbacks (4-6, 2-4) lost to South Carolina on Saturday, 38-20.

Bulldog bites
Linebacker Cam Lawrence has eight or more tackles in 11 of his last 12 SEC games. He had a team-high 15 Saturday. … LSU avoided losing back-to-back home games for the first time since 2001. … Jeremy Hill led LSU’s rushing attack with 48 yards. … MSU’s Chad Bumphis has eight TD receptions, which is tied for the SEC lead with Tennessee’s Justin Hunter.
brad.locke@journalinc.com