(Saturday, September 26th)
Final Score: (7) LSU 30, Mississippi State 26
Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Jordan Jefferson threw for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns as seventh-ranked LSU escaped with a 30-26 decision over Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium.
"I thought he did great. When a team packs it in like that we have to make plays, and he did a nice job today," noted LSU head coach Les Miles of his sophomore signal-caller. "There are some things we need to work on him, but he is getting more comfortable back there."
Brandon LaFell added six catches for 101 yards and two scores for the Tigers (4-0, 2-0 SEC), who have a big conference test in Athens against Georgia next Saturday.
Chad Jones had a 93-yard punt return TD for LSU, which locked up the win with a goal-line stand late in the contest.
Tyson Lee completed just 15-of-38 passes for 172 yards and was intercepted three times for the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-2). Marcus Green racked up 100 receiving yards and Lee's lone TD pass on five receptions and Anthony Dixon rushed for 106 yards on 27 carries and scored twice in defeat.
"There is nothing good in losing and there never will be," mused MSU head coach Dan Mullen. "I am really proud of the way our kids battled for four quarters. We have got to do a better job of finishing the game there at the end."
Sean Brauchle's 22-yard make to cap MSU's 68-yard drive with 10:13 to play made it a six-point contest at 30-24, then after holding the Tigers on two series, the Bulldogs appeared to be poised to take the lead.
Working from the 50, Lee rushed for six yards then Christian Ducre gained 12 yards on consecutive downs. Dixon gained 18 on a 3rd-and-10 from the LSU 20, then picked up one on 1st-and-goal.
Dixon was stopped for no gain on second down, then a play-action pass by Lee on third and goal from the one was batted down in the end zone. Lee decided to take the ball himself on fourth down but was stuffed inches shy of the goal line.
"It was a jump pass and Tyson is supposed to jump up and throw it and we just didn't get him to jump high enough and their kid made a heck of a play to tip the ball," Mullen said on the decision to throw on third down.
LSU was backed up in the shadow of its own goal line and took a safety concession for a four-point game, but Mississippi State's final possession inside the final minute stalled at its own 32 after Lee's fourth-down incompletion.
"That was a great last effort. They fought hard all the way on that drive, not just on the final stand," Miles said. "The defense just played with great character and heart."
Patrick Peterson picked off Lee and raced 37 yards for a score to give LSU the early lead but the kick was foiled. MSU responded on its next drive when Dixon ran in from the two for a 7-6 game.
LSU came right back on the following series as Jefferson hit LaFell for a four-yard TD hookup and 13-7 advantage.
The Bulldogs went up 14-13 thanks to a bad snap on an LSU punt attempt which Tigers punter Derek Helton fell on at the one. Dixon plunged into the end zone on the next play.
Josh Jasper hit a 22-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the half, and MSU had a chance to go ahead on a field goal with 13 seconds remaining but a botched snap ruined the effort.
LSU started the second half on the right foot, as LaFell hauled in a 58-yard pass from Jefferson to give the Tigers a 23-14 advantage.
Lee then connected with Green on a 50-yard catch-and-run TD with 6:33 left in the third to bring the Bulldogs back within two.
Jasper missed a 19-yarder later in the quarter, but the Tigers moved ahead 30-21 on the first play of the fourth when Jones eluded several tacklers en route to a 93-yard punt return.
LSU has won 10 consecutive meetings and lead the series 67-33-3...Mississippi State outgained LSU 374-263, including a 151-30 advantage on the ground...MSU also picked up 21 first downs to 12 for Louisiana State.
09/26 20:08:18 ET