Mississippi State routs No. 12 LSU 37-7
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State’s football series against LSU dates to 1896 and includes a whole bunch of heartbreak.
That wasn’t the case Saturday night. In fact, the Bulldogs had one long party at the Tigers’ expense.
Nick Fitzgerald threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to help Mississippi State rout No. 12 LSU 37-7 in a Southeastern Conference stunner. It was the largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs in the 111-game series.
It wasn’t just that the Bulldogs were able to win, it’s how they won. They physically dominated the Tigers on both sides of the ball, pushing LSU around in front of a delighted crowd of 60,000-plus that responded with constant roars and the deafening clanging of their trademark cowbells.
“There is nothing more fun than just going out there and kicking someone’s butt, for the lack of a better term,” Fitzgerald said. “We had a great time. We were very physical. We knew we were going to move the ball on them. We knew if we played how we were supposed to play, we’d be fine.”
Aeris Williams led the Bulldogs with 146 yards rushing and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0) beat LSU for just the second time in 18 tries dating to 2000.
LSU (2-1, 0-1) easily won its first two games of the season, but was overmatched by Mississippi State on both sides of the ball. The Tigers were also sloppy — two touchdown plays were negated because of penalties. In all, LSU was penalized nine times for 112 yards. Two defensive players were ejected for targeting penalties.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “And there’s no one but us to blame.”
Fitzgerald was 15-of-23 passing for 180 yards. Keith Mixon caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Jace Christmann made the first three field goals of his career, connecting from 30, 45 and 27 yards.
LSU tied it at 7 in the second quarter on Darrel Williams’ 10-yard touchdown run. But Mississippi State responded with 30 straight points.
LSU’s Danny Etling completed just 13 of 29 passes for 137 yards. Derrius Guice had 76 yards rushing.
“I mean, I’m embarrassed,” LSU defensive lineman Greg Gilmore said. He added that “we’re an aggressive football team. But we’ve got to play smart.”
LSU: It was an ugly night for the Tigers. Mississippi State dominated LSU in every phase and the Tigers looked undisciplined and overmatched. LSU has nonconference games over the next two weeks against Syracuse and Troy to get things right before jumping back into SEC play.
Mississippi State: It’s a huge win for the Bulldogs, who now have a very interesting road game against Georgia next weekend. Mississippi State has a potent running game with Fitzgerald and Williams, and the defense is playing very well.
FINDING A KICKER
Extra points and field goals have been an adventure for Mississippi State over the past few seasons.
That’s why Christmann’s great game was such a pleasant surprise. The redshirt freshman had a perfect night, making all four of his extra points and all three field goals. He admits he was nervous, though it didn’t show in the results.
“If there’s a trick (to calm nerves) I haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll tell you that much,” Christmann said. “You just kind of relax and know that this is what I do all day, every day.”
LSU hosts Syracuse in a nonconference game next Saturday.
Mississippi State goes on the road to face Georgia next Saturday.