The offense started fast, which it hadn’t done the two previous games. State took a 7-0 lead thanks to a 74-yard drive on its first possession of the game.
Quarterback Tyler Russell was sharp on that drive and was sharp the whole game. He finished 26 of 38 for 295 yards, a touchdown and a late interception. Russell now has 17 touchdown passes, a new MSU single-season record.
MSU gave up some big plays in the passing game, on two drives in particular. LSU covered 71 yards in four plays just before the half, with Zach Mettenberger connecting on passes of 36 and 20 yards.
In the third quarter, Mettenberger led an 80-yard touchdown drive, completing 4 of 5 for 64 yards. That gave LSU a 30-17 lead.
Also, MSU struggled to run the ball, gaining just 47 yards. Starter LaDarius Perkins was out with an injury.
Keys for victory
Evaluating the keys for victory in Saturday’s GameDay section: 1. Tackle: MSU did a better job of wrapping up, and that was especially evident in the run defense. The Bulldogs have been gashed a few times by opposing running backs and have given up a lot of yards after contact.
But LSU averaged only 3.1 yards per carry and totaled 119 rushing yards.
2. Start faster: State got off on the right foot by scoring on its opening possession for a 7-0 lead. Russell was 5 of 6 for 58 yards on the drive, and MSU got backup Dak Prescott involved, with the redshirt freshman tossing a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcus Green.
3. Keep Russell upright: MSU used a lot of quick passes to protect Russell from LSU’s dangerous defensive ends, and the offensive line performed admirably. Russell wasn’t sacked – until the fourth quarter. He went down on consecutive plays after leading MSU down to LSU’s 15-yard line, and that killed the scoring threat.
Russell was in command of the offense and managed to keep MSU within striking distance despite a struggling run game. His 26 completions and 295 passing yards were both career highs.
MSU played better than it had against Alabama and Texas A&M, but it was still a loss. The Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3 SEC) are now on a three-game losing streak and need to gather themselves for the final two games against Arkansas and Ole Miss. A strong finish should land a good bowl draw.