BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)—LSU showed its national championship form.
The running game got untracked with Alley Broussard rushing for a career-high three touchdowns and the Tigers’ defense held Mississippi State to seven first downs and 130 yards in a 51-0 victory Saturday.
It was almost enough to make coach Nick Saban happy.
“We did this once, now are we going to be satisfied with that or is this going to be the trademark of the team,” Saban said. “Can we go down the stretch and do it like we did last year, game in and game out?”
No. 13 LSU rolled up 594 yards and led 34-0 at half, a week after the offense sputtered badly in a 10-9 loss to Auburn.
The Tigers’ defense looked like the dominating force that helped win a share of the national championship last year. LSU (3-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) had four interceptions, recovered a fumble, and scored a touchdown against Mississippi State.
On the way to the BCS title in 2003, LSU scored seven defensive touchdowns while forcing 33 turnovers.
“Defensively we executed a lot better,” LSU cornerback Travis Daniels said. “I don’t think we had as many mental breakdowns or missed tackles. It doesn’t matter what team you play. All that matters is that you execute well.”
The Bulldogs (1-3, 0-2), who are rebuilding under first-year coach Sylvester Croom, have lost seven straight in Tiger Stadium and 12 of 13 overall against LSU. This was the Tigers’ biggest margin of victory since 1969 when they beat Mississippi State 61-6.
“I told the players that I never dreamed that we would get drummed like that,” Croom said. “We had a good week of practice. We thought we had good plans, but right now we don’t execute very well.”
Broussard, who entered the game with 99 total yards and no touchdowns, gained 73 yards on 13 carries. He ran for 11 and 1 yard scores in the first quarter to put LSU up 14-0, and opened the second quarter with a 16-yard TD.
“I just felt more relaxed out there,” Broussard said. “It’s a big difference for me compared to last year because I can see the whole field now. Everything seems slower out there for me this season.”
Defensive lineman Marcus Spears returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown and Early Doucet had a 12-yard touchdown catch from Marcus Randall, who started and went 7-for-7 for 103 yards.
“It was just executing basically,” Spears said. “That’s the thing we’ve been lacking in the first three games, and we did a better job of that.”
In the second half, JaMarcus Russell scrambled for an 8-yard touchdown that gave LSU a 41-0 lead.
Russell completed 9 of 12 for 137 yards and a touchdown.
“This game would give any confidence,” Russell said.
Dwayne Bowe had six catches for 99 yards and Craig Davis had five for 93 for LSU.
Saban started pulling his starters early in the third quarter and put in red shirt freshman quarterback Matt Flynn for the final series of the quarter. Flynn completed 2 of 3 for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Mississippi State’s Omarr Conner completed 4 of 12 for 44 yards, was intercepted three times and sacked twice before leaving the game less than two minutes into the second half with a bruised right knee. Kyle York replaced him and went 4-for-14 for 46 yards.
“We were still trying to win the game,” Croom said. “I was going to let him play one more series because I wanted him to leave the game with some confidence.”
Croom said he would not know how bad Conner’s injury was until Sunday. He expected Conner to miss one game, possibly more.