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October 5, 2013

Bulldogs Can't Duplicate 1st Half; Lose 14th-Straight to LSU, 59-26

Mississippi State put together one of its best halves of football against LSU in years but the Tiger offensive attack proved to be too much to handle as MSU lost its 14th consecutive game to LSU (5-1, 1-1), 59-26.

It was the most points given up by the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-2) since they gave up 59 at Tennessee in 2003 and the most given up at home since 1995 against South Carolina when they gave up 65.

Dan Mullen pulled another one on the MSU fans prior to the game on Saturday against the #10 LSU Tigers by not even announcing a quarterback in pre game warm-ups. Ultimately it was Dak Prescott who got his fourth-consecutive start after the first LSU possession.

LSU would start off the ball game with a play action pass from Zach Mettenburger to Odell Beckham Jr. in coverage where Beckham would come down with the 25-yard reception. He would haul in another one for 24 and Jarvis Landry from 16 to get the Tigers inside the redzone. The Bulldog defense had solid work against the run however with just one yard on the first five carries. It was the sixth that hurt MSU has Kenny Hilliard too the toss on the outside into the endzone for a touchdown from three yards out. LSU took the early 7-0 lead with 10:02 left in the first.

Mississippi State hit LSU right back in the mouth with a big 44-yard return by Jameon Lewis to MSU's own 46. On the first play, Ladarius Perkins took a jet sweep down the left sideline for a 28 yard gain. Two plays later, Prescott stepped up into the pocket on a broken play and saw a huge hole all the way to the endzone for six points. MSU went for two and failed on a pass play but drew within 7-6 with 8:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs looked to get a quick three and out in the second possession until LSU broke their hearts on third and three. Jeremy Hill took the toss up the middle breaking through the line and was untouched after that with a 69-yard run for six more points. LSU took the 14-6 lead with 7:18 remaining in the first quarter.

Mississippi State looked to answer once again with several big plays down the field. Prescott stepped up in the pocket on third down and took the run for 25 yards. A couple of catches from Malcolm Johnson and Joe Morrow had MSU inside the 20, but the Bulldogs would stall. Devon Bell got back on track with a 38-yard field goal that closed the score to 14-9 Tigers with three minutes left in the first.

After the field goal, the Bulldogs had the Tigers backed up to their own eight with a penalty on the kickoff pushing them back. It didn't really matter for LSU as they marched 92 yards capped by a 34-yard touchdown run by Hilliard, his second of the game. They jumped out to a comfortable 21-9 lead with 14:51 left in the half.

Tyler Russell made his first appearance since the opening game of the season in the Bulldogs' next drive and was immediately sacked on his first play. Following that play, Josh Robinson weaved his way through the defense for a 20-yard rush breaking three tackles and getting the first down. Two plays later, Russell found Lewis for the 20-yard reception and the Bulldogs were in business at the LSU 35. On first down, Russell made a play with his legs keeping the ball on the option run for 15 yards and MSU was inside the redzone for the third time in as many drives. On third down, Russell threw the ball over the shoulder of the defender and found Lewis inside the pylon for a 20-yard touchdown. LSU lead at that point 21-16 with 11:29 remaining in the first half. The pass by Russell was his 38th career touchdown tying him with Derrick Tate for most all-time at MSU.

The Bulldogs finally got the break they needed on defense with Chris Jones getting a big rush on Mettenburger causing him to throw the ball away and into the hands of safety Nickoe Whitley. It was Whitley's third interception of the season and his 13th of his career putting him all alone at third place all-time at MSU.

The Bulldogs would fail to get anything however as they turned the ball over on downs and LSU took over at their own 36. MSU defense would answer with its first real stop of the night with a big three-and-out. Chris Jones again seemed unblockable bull rushing Mettenburger for a huge sack on third down. It was his first career sack and his third tackle of the loss in the game. State took over at its own 22.

MSU immediately answered with an 11-yard pass to Lewis from Russell followed by a 59-yard strike from Russell to freshman De'Runnya Wilson for a touchdown. Wilson separated himself in coverage with the ball in the air and Wilson had his first career reception. It was also Russell's 39th career touchdown, the most in school history.

After a couple of stops from each team, LSU took over at their own 35 and drove the ball all the way to the endzone ending with a Mettenburger touchdown pass to Beckham from 13 yards out with 13 seconds left in the first half. It was a tough way to end the half for the Bulldogs who lost the lead with a 28-23 LSU advantage at the half.

The two teams combined for over 600 yards of total offense.

To start the second half, Prescott came out for the Bulldogs and on second down found Lewis for 15 yards. He took a carry on the read up the middle for 12 yards and then Perkins took the carry for 32 yards down to the LSU 7 yard line. On third and goal from the five, Prescott rolled to his right and tried to find Robert Johnson for the touchdown but saw it fall incomplete. Bell hit his second field goal of the night, this one from 22 yards, and the Bulldogs closed the gap to 28-26 with 12:01 left in the third.

MSU forced LSU in a third down and 19 after a sack by Preston Smith and a false start. Mettenburger came back and threw the ball over a leaping Justin Cox and found Travin Dural for a 21-yard gain and a first down. MSU forced another third down and long and Mettenburger found Alfred Blue for seven forcing fourth and one. Mettenburger went play action and hit Beckham for a 26-yard gain down to the three. LSU would be stopped on three plays though with Hilliard losing the ball on a hit from A.J. Jefferson. The Tigers settled for the field goal and took the 31-26 lead with 4:33 left in the third.

The Bulldogs came back with a nice drive getting the ball down to the LSU 25 before stalling. Bell came in for his third attempt of the night, this one from 42 yards and it sailed wide left.

LSU took over at their own 25 and on second down hit Beckham for a 15 yard gain. Hill then took carries for 14 and 13 yards for three straight Tiger first downs and the third quarter ended with LSU in MSU territory. On the first play, Mettenburger hit Beckham again from 33 yards for a touchdown as the Tigers equaled their largest lead of the game at 38-26.

MSU came out on the next possession starting from their own 25 but had two quick incompletions and then the Bulldogs' first turnover since Alcorn State on the interception from Prescott. LSU started from the Bulldog five and punched it into the endzone on the next play with Hill. They pulled away for good with a 45-26 advantage.

LSU would get another touchdown in with over 7 min. remaining as Alfred Blue got into the mix from 16 yards out. That gave the Tigers a 52-26 lead and they would add one more on the board late for the final score of 59-26.

MSU ran just one less play than the visitors but LSU outgained the Bulldogs 563-468. The Bulldogs did have a big game out of Lewis who posted only his second-career 100-yard receiving ball game with seven catches for 111 yards. Wilson was second in yardage with two catches and 80 yards. On the ground, Prescott rushed for over 100 yards for the second time in his career with 12 carries and 103 yards with a touchdown. Perkins put up 83 yards on 10 carries.

Mettenburger had another huge game throwing for 340 yards on 25-29 with two touchdowns and an interception. Beckham had nine catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns while Landry hauled in eight passes for 96 yards. Hill rushed 16 times for 157 yards and two touchdowns and Hilliard scored three touchdowns on just six touches.

Mississippi State is back in action against Bowling Green at home next week. The ball game is set for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

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