Thumbs up, thumbs down
– Thumbs up: 1. Mississippi State’s offense had its best game of the season – relative to the quality of the opposing defense – gaining 374 yards and 21 first downs. State converted on 8 of 19 third downs. 2. A defense that had yielded 390 rushing yards to Auburn two weeks earlier clamped down on LSU’s potent run game, holding the Tigers to a paltry 30 yards. LSU’s top rusher was Wildcat quarterback Russell Shepard, with 26 yards.
– Thumbs down: 1. State committed four turnovers, three of them interceptions by senior QB Tyson Lee, who completed just 1 of 9 passes on third down. 2. Unless the 5-foot-10 Lee sprouts about four inches, he’ll continue to have passes batted down. He had five passes broken up around the line of scrimmage, including one by Chad Jones on a third-and-goal from LSU’s 1 in the waning moments.
– Reviewing the 3 keys to the game listed in Thursday’s GameDay edition:
1. ‘D’ up again: LSU got two non-offensive touchdowns, and as mentioned, MSU completely shut down the running game. However, QB Jordan Jefferson hit three deep balls, including one for a touchdown. Overall, it was another step in the right direction for State.
2. Give Dixon help: Tailback Anthony Dixon had 106 yards and two touchdowns, and the rest of the Bulldogs netted 45 yards on 19. It was good help, but it could’ve been better.
3. Keep being special: It was a mixed bag for MSU’s special teams. LSU return man Trindon Holliday only got loose once, on a 41-yard kickoff return, and State benefited from a bad punt snap, a botched extra point and a missed field goal by the Tigers. But a bad hold denied MSU a field goal try, and the Bulldogs let Jones take a punt 93 yards for a TD.
– MSU defense: The Bulldog D kept the game close in the face of those turnovers, coming up with two fourth-quarter stands to set up what could’ve been the game-winning drive.
– Coach Dan Mullen doesn’t believe in moral victories, but MSU has given notice that it won’t quit when a good team gets it down, and the Bulldogs are not an automatic “W” for anybody.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal