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LSU bounces back in big way

The SportsXchange

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Coming off a heartbreaking loss at Georgia last week, LSU coach Les Miles wanted to see how his squad would return and check the commitment all week at practice.

Miles got what he wanted and then some as the Tigers rolled past Mississippi State 59-26 on Saturday night for their 14th straight win over the Bulldogs.

"I felt like our team is coming off the second week where we really had to put in the work," Miles said. "It becomes a personal commitment and responsibility and I felt like our guys did that. I felt like they came to practice, busted their butts and did what they needed to do to improve.

"You saw some defensive stops and some defensive plays. MSU had an open date to prepare and had a really nice plan with two quarterbacks."

LSU received huge offensive performances from quarterback Zach Mettenberger and receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to improve to 5-1 on the season and 2-1 in the SEC.

Mississippi State dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.

The Tigers led just 28-23 at halftime and 28-26 wth 12:01 left in the third quarter. But the Tigers scored 24 straight points to pull away from the Bulldogs. The game was played in front of 57,113 fans, the fifth-largest crowd in MSU history.

Mettenberger was 25-of-29 passing for 340 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Beckham had nine catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns. Landry added eight catches for 96 yards.

"We missed some tackles early," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "But their quarterback is really good and their receivers are really good. We didn't want to let them run the ball, so we had a lot of one-on-one matchups. I get frustrated if we are missing coverage, but we had guys in position.

" I give their kids credit. We had guys in position to make plays and their kids made some spectacular plays and that is what you need to do to win football games at this level."

The Tigers also churned out success on the ground and were led by Jeremy Hill, who had 16 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Tailback Kenny Hilliard also had three rushing scores for the Tigers.

Overall, LSU collected 562 yards of offense to mark its sixth straight game to have at least 400 yards of offense this season.

"There are some things we need to correct, but overall I thought the offense was very dominant," Miles said. "It was a team effort again and I think we improved. Offensively, we continue to throw the ball efficiently and for big plays. I think for the most part, the offensive line played well tonight.

"We will certainly build on this. I think the defense will improve, but we only allowed three points on the back half of the game."

The Bulldogs stayed close in the first half because of the duo at quarterback -- Dak Prescott and Tyler Russell. Prescott finished the night with 103 yards rushing and one touchdown and Russell threw two first-half touchdowns.

LSU scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the game and stormed to a 21-9 advantage early in the second quarter.

Hilliard had two rushing touchdowns and Hill scored on a 69-yard burst.

In the first half, LSU gained 334 yards, including 211 passing yards from Mettenberger, who was 16 of 20 with one touchdown and one interception.

MSU kept pace with the Tigers in the first half. Prescott ran for one touchdown and Russell threw for two touchdowns, including a 59-yard strike to DeRunnya Wilson that gave the Bulldogs a brief 23-21 lead.

"It is good to have two starting quarterbacks and have guys that can do some good things for us," Mullen said. "I thought they both made some good plays, made some good checks and made things happen for us. We put up some yards but just didn't put up enough points.

"They are things they will look at that we can get better on. But those are things we can correct."

LSU closed out the first-half scoring when Mettenberger connected with Beckham with 17 seconds left in the first half for a 28-23 halftime lead.

NOTES: Prescott made his fourth straight start for Mississippi State at quarterback and Russell directed his first series at the start of the second quarter. ... Mettenberger's 86.2 completion percentage was the fourth-best performance in LSU school history and his 25 completions were a career best. ... Hill now owns seven career 100-yard games to rank in a sixth-place tie in school history and his 69-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the longest of his career.
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