Leading up to Saturday night's annual battle between Mississippi State and LSU, most conversations for fans in maroon and white centered around who would take the first snap at quarterback. It would turn out to be Dak Prescott who drew the nod to start, though both played very well and showed great command of the offense. The defensive line also came to play early for the most part, bottling up the stable of running backs from LSU. Zach Mettenberger was also pressured and sacked throughout the night. The young secondary of the Bulldogs were tested all game by the future pros: Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. The combination would torch the defensive backs the entire game, and in the end the LSU offense would prove to be too much, as the Tigers would run away from Mississippi State late in a 59-26 win.
Offensively, MSU was able to put up 26 points and 468 yards on the LSU defense. Despite the rotation at QB, Dak Prescott played the majority of the game, finishing up with106 yards passing and 103 yards on the ground, with one rushing touchdown. Prescott continues to give defenses troubles with his legs as well as his arm. Tyler Russell split first half series' with Prescott, and he also saw action in a few plays in the fourth quarter. Tyler finished the night with 146 yards passing and two touchdown passes. He also had the offensive play of the game with a beautiful deep ball to freshman De’Runnya Wilson. That touchdown also earned Russell yet another place in MSU's passing record books as he tossed his 38th career touchdown pass, the most all time in Starkville. Jameon Lewis had a monster day as well with seven receptions for 111 yards and touchdown. The Bulldogs offense showed a lot of promise throughout the game, but especially early the offense was humming. Coach Dan Mullen has to be excited by what he saw early on from the offense in this game.
The defensive line played a well-fought game. The line continually got pressure on Mettenberger, and was even able to register a couple of sacks against a solid LSU front. The line held up well, for the most part, against the multiple running backs the Tigers threw at them. By the end of the game, the line seemed worn down and began to allow some bigger runs. The secondary was burned most of the game, blowing coverages and missing assignments the entire game. Mettenberger finished with 340 yards passing, two touchdowns, and 86.2 % of his passes complete. The receivers on the edge did the majority of the damage: scoring two touchdowns and accounting for 275 receiving yards between Beckham Jr. and Landry.
Last night's game was a true tale of two halves. The Bulldogs came out with energy and purpose for the entire first half; the offense moved the ball at will. Prescott ran for long runs when he pleased. Russell was carving up the LSU secondary on his way to the record books. Devon Bell was connecting on all of his field goals. The defensive line seemed to swarming everywhere the ball went.
In the second half, however, LSU made some key adjustments as the game slowly transformed into a blow out. The LSU offense eventually found a running game to complement the red-hot passing game of Mettenberger. At the same time, MSU's offense slowly became stagnant. An interception from Prescott in the fourth was the tipping point for the game, as the Bulldogs could not respond after that.
The problem with the Bulldogs remains the same: finishing. Finishing drives, quarters, and games has been the theme from Mullen since the Oklahoma State game.
Mississippi State steps back into action next weekend, again at home, as they take on the Bowling Green Falcons at Davis Wade Stadium on homecoming. Kickoff is set for 6:30 P.M., and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.