'The ship could sink'

STARKVILLE, Mississippi - On further review, Mississippi State may party like it's 1942 after its 37-7 demolition of No. 11 LSU here Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium.

Yes, it was State's first home victory over LSU since 1999. But it was the largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs over a ranked opponent since they beat No. 12 Vanderbilt, 33-0, on Oct. 17, 1942.

Meanwhile, it was one of LSU's worst losses as a ranked team to an unranked team ever. At quick glance, it was the worst loss of that sort since the No. 10 Tigers fell by 24 at unranked Auburn, 31-7, in 2002.

The word of the night in a dejected LSU locker room was "embarrassment."

Senior defensive lineman Greg Gilmore planned on saying that to the whole team after the Tigers' defense allowed 465 yards, including 285 on the ground.

"This was an embarrassment," Gilmore said. "Me, as a team leader, I'm going to tell the team that I'm embarrassed."

In addition to the score and the statistics, LSU had two players - senior starting middle linebacker Donnie Alexander and true freshman backup defensive lineman Neil Farrell Jr. - ejected for target head hits on State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. It didn't stop him. Fitzgerald shredded the Tigers with 15-of-23 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns and 88 rushing yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns. Alexander and Farrell have to sit out the second half next week against Syracuse.

LSU (2-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) also committed nine penalties and have 30 for the season. LSU had more penalties than points and the same number of punts as points.

"I'm embarrassed by the lack of discipline," LSU senior quarterback Danny Etling said.

"The ship could sink," said LSU sophomore linebacker Devin White, who tied for the team lead in tackles for LSU with defensive end Christian LaCouture with 11. "That's something I'm going to try not to let happen. It just felt like we weren't dialed in. We weren't disciplined."

So will first full year head coach Ed Orgeron.

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw=="Put it on me," he said. "We've got to get better. Maybe we weren't as good as we thought we were in spots."

LSU managed just 13 first downs to 25 by State as the Tigers rushed for 133 yards on 29 carries. Etling finished 13 of 29 for 137 yards. LSU was tied briefly 7-7 in the second quarter before trailing 17-7 at the half and was quickly out of the game in the third quarter as State scored 13 in the third quarter for a 30-7 lead. It was State's largest margin of victory in the history of the series, breaking the previous set in 1954 with a 25-0 win over the Tigers.

"We were out of sync," Orgeron said. "We didn't play well. We didn't handle the crowd. We didn't have a lot of energy."

State collected one of its most significant wins in program history.

"We will enjoy this one," State coach Dan Mullen said. "Our student body and the fans were unbelievable tonight. We took advantage of our home field advantage."

"I'm feeling great. I'm excited. I'm happy," Fitzgerald said. "We ran a really good scheme. We knew where to attack them. We knew where they were weak."

LSU was without starting defensive end Rashard Lawrence of Monroe, but it got star defensive end Arden Key back after a shoulder injury. Key had three tackles, a quarterback hurry and a half sack.

State often ran right at LSU.

"What we were trying to do was get them back and forth out of nickel and base defense to create mismatches," Mullen said. "We were just trying to move people around to create those match-ups."

In the end, State ran all over LSU. Tailback Aeris Williams led all rushers with 146 yards on 23 carries.

"We had tailback runs, quarterback runs, option runs, read-zone runs," Mullen said. "We neutralized their pass rushers."

State did a little of everything.

"It's on us," Orgeron said. "They took it to us."  

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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