Mississippi State got about 20 years’ worth of revenge on Saturday night and LSU was the victim in their grasps.
The Bulldogs crushed the Tigers 37-7 on Saturday, making amends for almost two decades worth of dominance LSU has enjoyed in the annual rivalry.
Prior to Saturday’s game, LSU had lost just once to Mississippi State since 2000.
But none of that mattered in Saturday’s game, which was a complete wash with the Bulldogs outgaining LSU 465-270 – completely dominating both lines of scrimmage in an easy win.
“I don’t think nobody played very well tonight,” said a dejected LSU coach Ed Orgeron said after the loss. “I don’t think anybody coached well, including me.”
The Tigers got worn down by a hungrier foe on Saturday night.
The first quarter was a scoreless defensive struggle with neither team generating a rhythm offensively against the other.
The Bulldogs struck first in the second quarter on an eight-play, 65-yard touchdown drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run from quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, which made the score 7-0.
But like clockwork, LSU battled back with an eight-play drive of its own, tying the game with a 10-yard touchdown run from senior Darrel Williams with 9:44 to go in the first half.
That was about the peak of the night for LSU.
Mississippi State ended the second half with a flurry, to take momentum – first with a 10-play drive capped by a field goal and then another capped by a touchdown, which made the game 17-7 at halftime.
Out of the lockers, LSU’s defense appeared to force a three-and-out punt, but a targeting penalty against Fitzgerald kept the drive alive and helped the Bulldogs net three points to go up 20-7.
LSU had nine penalties for 111 yards in the loss, including two penalties which negated touchdowns and two targeting violations, which caused ejections to key players.
Orgeron said the penalties were disappointing. He vowed to clean up the mistakes in practice this week.
Tight end Foster Moreau said the violations had a hand in the outcome of the game going in Mississippi State’s favor.
The Tigers have committed several untimely penalties in all three games this season.
“If you keep doing it, it will eventually catch up to you. It can’t keep happening,” Moreau said.
With the 20-7 lead after the penalty-aided field goal, the Bulldogs took complete control.
The Bulldogs forced a punt, then drove 79 yards in just six plays for another touchdown to go up 27-7.
After another three and out drive, Mississippi State put the proverbial nail in the coffin with a field goal drive which made the score 30-7 going into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, LSU’s offense had a few promising drives, but never anything which amounted to points. LSU had two drives end with turnovers on downs – both in Mississippi State territory.
The Bulldogs weren’t done, either – adding one last touchdown for the road on a touchdown pass from Fitzgerald to Deddrick Thomas, which sent the game to its final margin.
After the game, the mood in the LSU locker room was quiet, but not in full-blown panic mode.
Quarterback Danny Etling said the untimely penalties were embarrassing, adding that it’s on him as much as it is on any coach to fix the problem.
Defensive lineman Greg Gilmore also said that 12-letter e-word.
“I’m embarrassed,” he said. “There’s not much else to say right now besides that.”
Orgeron steered clear from that kind of talk, but he was very critical of himself and the Tigers’ coaching staff in defeat.
He said LSU will get back to work this week in practice and will try and better itself before the meat of the schedule, which still features dates with Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee and others.
“We’ve got to get better,” Orgeron said. “Maybe we aren’t as good as we thought we were in (some) spots.”