STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/MSU Athletics) –Among the raucous crowd at Tiger Stadium, the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-3, 3-3 SEC) battled hard, but fell to the No. 7 LSU Tigers (8-2, 4-2 SEC) 37-17.
After the Bulldog defense forced the Tigers to punt on their first possession, MSU’s offense methodically moved the ball 74 yards on 10 plays and captured the lead midway through the first quarter when freshman Dak Prescott hit Marcus Green for a nine-yard touchdown reception.
The Tigers responded with a 28-yard field goal, but State would hold the lead through the first quarter, the first time the Bulldogs have done so against LSU since 1994. However, the Tigers responded to open the second, pairing a 26-yard field goal and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry to regain the lead at 13-7.
State closed their final drive of the first half with a booming 47-yard field goal from true freshman Devon Bell to cut the Tiger lead to three, but a quick four play strike that ended with a 20-yard touchdown pass stretched LSU’s lead to 10 points at the break.
The Bulldogs opened the second half by stalling on their drive. However, the special teams again stepped up for State, forcing a fumble on the punt reception which the Bulldogs recovered. Tyler Russell then hit Chad Bumphis for 14 yards in the back corner of the endzone for the score, cutting the LSU lead to 20-17.
However, the Tigers put together two scoring drives in the third that created distance between the two, including a 41-yard field goal and a one-yard run for the score by J.C. Copeland, capping an 11 play, 80 yard drive.
The Bulldogs made a push late to get back into the game, but Russell’s pass to Bumphis in the endzone was picked off by Craig Loston, who returned it 100 yards for the score.
“I felt all our guys fought to the end,” Russell said. “Sometimes you can fight as hard as you want and not win a game. If you take anything good out of that, I’m proud of our offense and the defense for not giving up.”
Russell set career-highs in completions (26) and yards (295) and broke the single-season school record with his 17th touchdown pass of the season in the third quarter.
Bumphis led the Bulldogs in receiving with nine catches for 140 yards, the most LSU’s defense has allowed to a wideout this season. Chris Smith added seven grabs for 56 yards, while Arceto Clark tallied 43 yards of four catches.
Bulldogs return to action next Saturday, Oct. 17, at Davis Wade Stadium against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kick off is set for 11:21 a.m. with the SEC Network on the broadcast.