NEW ORLEANS — LSU avenged their 2020 season-opening loss against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville with a 28-25 win to start SEC play.
It's the Tiger's third straight win of the season.
For the second straight week, the LSU defense forced a turnover on their first possession.
Junior cornerback Cordale Flott forced a fumble that was almost identical to the play that Derek Stingley Jr. made last week. Damone Clark scooped the fumble up and returned it 35 yards.
Flott also had an interception in the first half.
Kayshon Boutte scored the first touchdown of the game on an 11-yard pass from Max Johnson to take a 7-0 lead. Neither team would score again until the Bulldog's kicker Nolan McCord made a 23-yard field goal with 6 minutes left in the second quarter.
At halftime, LSU led 7-3.
The Tigers switched up their defense for this game to stop Mike Leach's air raid offense.
“We’ve been working on stopping this Air Raid since last year. We made some improvement, but wish we would have finished,” said head coach Ed Orgeron.
Their plan focused on keeping the ball in front of them and preventing the Bulldogs from throwing deep passes. The game plan worked well for the first three-quarters of the game as they only allowed only 10 points.
"I was clapping every time they threw the ball short," said Orgeron.
30 seconds into the second half Boutte scored his second touchdown of the day on a 64-yard catch from Johnson to extend the lead to 14-3.
Boutte finished the game with four catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
"I really like the win. I really feel like we could've put up more points as an offense, but sometimes you've just gotta be grateful you won," said Boutte.
Mississippi State responded with a 60-yard drive that ended with a missed McCord missing a 33-yard field goal.
With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Bulldogs left Trey Palmer wide open down the field and Johnson connected with him for a 58-yard score. That gave LSU a 21-10 lead.
The Bulldogs finally got their first touchdown of the game on their next possession on a 29-yard pass from Will Rogers to Makai Polk to bring the score to 21-10.
Johnson threw his fourth touchdown to Kole Taylor a few minutes later to push the lead to 28-10 and the game appeared to be out of reach.
"Our defense played their hearts out," said LSU quarterback Johnson.
Johnson finished the game with 280 passing yards and completed 17 of 27 passes.
Will Rogers and the Bulldogs wouldn't go away though. He led a 75-yard drive to cut the LSU lead to 11 with just under seven minutes remaining.
The Tigers attempted to run some clock on their next drive but went three and out.
Rogers led more touchdown drive capping it with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jo'quavious Marks. They also converted the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 28-25 with one minute and 53 seconds left on the clock.
Mississippi St. (2-2, 0-1) attempted an onside kick to try and complete their comeback but touched the ball too early. LSU (3-1, 1-0) got the ball back and took three knees to end the game.
LSU will be back at home next Saturday against the Auburn Tigers at 8 p.m.