Nick Fitzgerald ran for two first-half touchdowns and passed for two second-half touchdowns as Mississippi State crushed LSU 37-7 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday night at Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville.
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HOW THEY SCORED
Mississippi State 7, LSU 0
Score: Fitzgerald 3-yard run. Jace Christmann kick. Time Remaining: 13:38. Drive: 65 yards in 8 plays. Time of Possession: 2:10. Key Play: On first-and-ten, Aeris Williams ran 28 yards for a first down at LSU’s 19.
LSU 7, Mississippi State 7
Score: Darrel Williams 10-yard run. Jack Gonsoulin kick. Time Remaining: 9:44. Drive: 65 yards in 8 plays. Time of Possession: 3:54. Key Play: On second-and-eight, Derrius Guice ran 25 yards for a first down at Mississippi State’s 20.
Mississippi State 10, LSU 7
Score: Christmann 30-yard field goal. Time Remaining: 5:04. Drive: 64 yards in 10 plays. Time of Possession: 4:40. Key Play: On second-and-nine, John Battle was called for pass interference to give Mississippi State a first down at LSU’s 25.
Mississippi State 17, LSU 7
Score: Fitzgerald 3-yard run. Christmann kick. Time Remaining: :07. Drive: 54 yards in 10 plays. Time of Possession: 3:12. Key Play: On second-and-12, Fitzgerald completed a 19-yard pass to Keith Mixon for a first down at LSU’s 4.
Mississippi State 20, LSU 7
Score: Christmann 45-yard field goal. Time Remaining: 10:53. Drive: 48 yards in 7 plays. Time of Possession: 4:07. Key Play: On first-and-ten, Williams ran 18 yards for a first down at LSU’s 34.
Mississippi State 27, LSU 7
Score: Mixon 45-yard pass from Fitzgerald. Christmann kick. Time Remaining: 5:10. Drive: 79 yards in 6 plays. Time of Possession: 3:10.
Mississippi State 30, LSU 7
Score: Christmann 27-yard field goal. Time Remaining: 1:55. Drive: 29 yards in 5 plays. Time of Possession: 2:14. Key Play: On first-and-ten, Fitzgerald ran 24 yards for a first down at LSU’s 15.
Mississippi State 37, LSU 7
Score: Deddrick Thomas 20-yard pass from Fitzgerald. Christmann kick. Time Remaining: 13:01. Drive: 64 yards in 6 plays. Time of Possession: 2:33. Key Play: On second-and-two, Fitzgerald ran 19 yards for a first down at LSU’s 20.
Getting good field position late in the first half, Mississippi State did not run out the clock holding a 10-7 lead. Fitzgerald completed passes of 22 yards to Farrod Green and 19 yards to Mixon to move deep into LSU territory. Fitzgerald ran for a touchdown with seven seconds before halftime to give the Bulldogs a double-digit lead. Mississippi State scored ten points on its first two second-half possessions and the rout was on.
LSU OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
It was a poor night for the offense as the Tigers scored their fewest points against Mississippi State in 42 seasons. LSU lost to the Bulldogs 16-6 in 1975. Williams was the player responsible for the Tigers’ only points with a ten-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Williams had only seven touches all game, but gained 66 yards. Williams rushed for 29 yards on five carries and gained 37 yards on two pass receptions.
LSU DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME
Inside linebacker Devin White was credited with a career-high 11 tackles. He also registered 1½ tackles behind the line of scrimmage. White now has a team-leading 25 tackles after three games.
KEY TEAM STATISTICS
First downs – Mississippi State 25, LSU 13
Rushing yardage – Mississippi State 285, LSU 133
Total offense – Mississippi State 465, LSU 270
Penalty yards – LSU 111, Mississippi State 49
Third-down conversions – Mississippi State 7-of-13, LSU 3-of-13
Possession time – Mississippi State 35:54, LSU 24:06
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICAL LEADERS
Derrius Guice: 15 carries, 76 yards
Danny Etling: 29 attempts, 13 completions, 137 yards
DJ Chark: 3 catches, 23 yards
Devin White: 11 tackles, 1½ tackles-for-loss
Christian LaCouture: 11 tackles
Aeris Williams: 23 carries, 146 yards
Nick Fitzgerald: 23 attempts, 15 completions, 180 yards, 2 touchdowns
Keith Mixon: 6 catches, 97 yards, 1 touchdown
Mark McLaurin: 9 tackles
Jeffery Simmons: 2 quarterback-hurries, 1½ sacks
With Rashard Lawrence out with an ankle injury, Greg Gilmore moved from nose tackle to take his place at defensive end. Ed Alexander started at nose tackle. However, Alexander went out in the first half with a hand injury. Gilmore stayed at end with Glen Logan, normally an end, lining up at nose tackle. . .Two LSU defensive players were ejected from the game for targeting in the second half – inside linebacker Donnie Alexander and defensive end Neil Farrell. Both players will be ineligible for the first half of next week’s game against Syracuse. . .Arden Key started and played about half of the game at outside linebacker. Key divided playing time with K’Lavon Chaisson. Key finished with three tackles, including half a sack, and one quarterback-hurry. . .Guice did not play for the last quarter and a half. Guice, who ran for 76 yards, moved ahead of Domanick Davis on LSU’s all-time rushing list. Guice has 2,123 yards and trails LaBrandon Toefield by 26 yards. . .After rushing for just 13 yards against LSU last year, Fitzgerald had 88 yards on the ground Saturday. . .The 30-point loss was the worst for LSU against Mississippi State in the history of the series. The Tigers’ previous largest margin of defeat came in 25-0 setback in 1954. . .LSU was beaten by at least 30 points in four other games since the start of the 2000 season. The Tigers lost to Florida 41-9 in 2000 and 51-21 in 2008, Alabama 31-0 in 2002 and Auburn 41-7 in 2014. . .The loss was the first for LSU in Starkville in 18 years. Mississippi State edged the Tigers 17-16 in 1999. . .The Bulldogs have won two of the last four games in the series. It has been 26 years since Mississippi State won two games in a four-year stretch against LSU. The Bulldogs won back-to-back games against the Tigers in 1990-91. . .Mississippi State is 3-0, while LSU is 2-1. . .The paid attendance was 60,596.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
Coach Ed Orgeron’s comments: “I don’t think anybody played well and I didn’t think anybody coached well. I was very disappointed in the penalties, in the two targeting calls. Penalties kept their drives alive and cost us big plays. Their rushing for 285 yards was disappointing. We’ve got guys hurt up front and we have to get them back. My concern all week was whether or not we could block them and obviously we didn’t block them. We’ve got to look at the guys we are playing. We got handled on the front on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Mississippi State was better than some of our guys thought they were. There is a lot of playing time left. We have a good young team and they have to bounce back. I am confident in our coaches and players that we’ll bounce back.”
LSU will play host to Syracuse at Tiger Stadium Saturday. Kickoff will be at either 6 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Central. The Orange (2-1) defeated Central Michigan at Syracuse on Saturday evening. The game will be available on one of the ESPN networks.