(Saturday, September 27th)
Final Score: (5) LSU 34, Mississippi State 24
Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Charles Scott rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, as the fifth-ranked LSU Tigers came away with a 34-24 victory over the resilient Mississippi State Bulldogs in SEC play.
Jarrett Lee hit 18-of-27 passes for 261 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC), which did not fall victim to looking ahead to its pivotal SEC matchup against Florida in Gainesville in two weeks.
Brandon LaFell hauled in a game-high seven receptions for 100 yards for the Tigers, who topped Auburn last week to stake their claim as the team to beat once again in the SEC West.
Tyson Lee was better than his 175 passing yards suggested, connecting on 17- of-26 throws with a touchdown toss against a stout LSU defense. Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre each scored rushing touchdowns for Mississippi State (1-4, 0-2), which had registered just nine combined points in back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and Auburn.
Ducre also caught a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass, but dropped a potential game-altering third-down conversion to thwart the Bulldogs' late rally.
"I thought we played hard. There was a lot of passion and commitment throughout the course of the game," Bulldogs head coach Sylvester Croom said. "We got better at a lot of things. The passion and the commitment to the way we played is something we haven't seen in all three phases all year and I was very pleased with that."
LSU extended its 17-10 halftime lead on its opening possession of the second half. Scott toted the ball the first four plays on the half and ran for a staggering 50 yards down to the 11-yard line.
Then the Tigers caught a break when LaFell fumbled his seven-yard reception into the end zone and teammate Richard Dickson fell on top in the end zone for the fortunate touchdown.
A Colt David 39-yard field goal later in the frame capped a near five-minute drive and pushed LSU ahead 27-10.
The Bulldogs did not go quietly in Death Valley. Using short, effective passes, Tyson Lee went 6-for-7 on the ensuing drive for 63 yards. Ducre rushed for a first down on 4th-and-1 to keep the drive alive, and Dixon barreled his way into the end zone on a tough one-yard score, finishing off an impressive 18-play, 74-yard drive.
With 6 1/2 minutes remaining, Ducre dropped a perfectly thrown ball down the left sideline on 3rd-and-5 that could have given the Bulldogs a chance to make it a one-possession game.
MSU was forced to punt and three plays later Jarrett Lee caught Demetrius Byrd down the middle of the field and the speedy receiver sprinted into the end zone for a 43-yard to score to put LSU ahead, 34-17 with just under five minutes left.
Tyson Lee brought the Bulldogs back down the field and hit Ducre on an 11-yard swing pass to pay dirt, but LSU recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
"We played a very physical defense and played with physicality, matched that physicality or exceeded it," LSU head coach Les Miles said. "Defensively, we made some mistakes. These things are things we can fix. We'll have some time to do that. Certainly, the spirit of this team is set to go into a two-week phase where we're going to improve."
Derek Pegues' opening kickoff return of 59 yards resulted in an Adam Carlson 42-yard field goal, and MSU went ahead 3-0 just 1 1/2 minutes into the game.
LSU answered with three points of its own. Jarrett Lee found LaFell for 30 yards and an additional 15 was tacked on for an MSU penalty. The Tigers would get no further than the 21, however, and David kicked a 38-yarder through the uprights to tie the game.
LSU went ahead with a TD on its next possession. Jarrett Lee made completions of 18 and 16 yards on the drive, and added a 14-yarder to LaFell on a 3rd- and-12. Scott capped the 15-play, 88-yard march with a one-yard plunge at the 1:03 mark of the opening quarter.
After MSU went three-and-out, Jarrett Lee once again got the Tigers into enemy territory with his arm, hitting Terrance Toliver for 31 yards and Keiland Williams for 16 more on the next play. Williams and Jordan Jefferson carried the ball to the goal line and Scott's second one-yard TD run made it a 17-3 game.
The Bulldogs failed to convert Jarrett Lee's interception into points midway through the quarter, but capitalized on Quinn Johnson's fumble at his own 47.
MSU's Marcus Washington recovered the fumble and Ducre rushed for the Bulldogs' first touchdown from five yards out to pull the visitors within seven at the break.
"We know each and every day when we come to play in the SEC it's going to be a dog fight," Jarrett Lee said. "We work and do our thing. We know if we work hard it will pay off."
LSU quarterback Andrew Hatch did not play, as he is still recovering from a concussion suffered in last week's game against Auburn...The Bulldogs have a week off before hosting Vanderbilt on October 11...LSU owns a commanding 66-33-3 series lead over Mississippi State...Dickson caught four balls for 43 yards, while Ducre logged 34 yards on his four receptions...Dixon led the Bulldogs in rushing with 50 yards on 15 carries...LSU gained 22 first downs compared to MSU's 13...Saturday's attendance was 92,710, the third largest crowd in the history of Tiger Stadium.
09/28 00:42:34 ET