Defense Powers No. 2 LSU to 45-0 Win at MSU

by (@LSUsports)
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Defense Powers No. 2 LSU to 45-0 Win at MSU

STARKVILLE, Miss. — It took the second-ranked LSU football team a quarter to find the rhythm it last displayed in New Orleans in January. After that, the Tigers marched all over Mississippi State to the tune of 45-0 to open the college football season.

The vaunted Tigers defense reeled in six interceptions and a fumble recovery, while the offense under fifth-year senior Matt Flynn turned them into into 38 points. LSU opened a 17-0 halftime lead and never looked back in front of 50,112 fans at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.

LSU (1-0 overall, 1-0 SEC) extended the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak to eight games, while the Mississippi State (0-1, 0-1 SEC) lost their conference opener for the eighth-straight time.

In the first half, two 1-yard touchdown runs by LSU running back Keiland Williams and a 27-yard field goal by Colt David all came as a result of the interceptions.

Three of the Tigers’ four second-half scores also came after Bulldogs turnovers. The other culminated a perfectly executed 73-yard drive after the second-half kickoff.
First-year LSU Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton showed the Tigers’ offensive potential, allowing Flynn to complete 12-of-19 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. The speedy Flynn added 11 rushes for 42 yards (including negative sack yardage).

Jacob Hester led the Tigers’ stable of running backs with 68 yards on 14 carries, as Williams finished with 18 yards on seven carries with two touchdowns. In late action, Richard Murphy saw his first career action with six carries for 35 yards.

Backup quarterback Ryan Perrilloux played the entire fourth quarter, running for a 3-yard score and connecting with Brandon LaFell for an 11-yard touchdown. Perrilloux was 2-for-3 passing for 21 yards. Early Doucet had a career-best nine catches for 78 yards.

LSU outgained Mississippi State on the ground, 198-10, including minus-37 yards for the Bulldogs from sacks (minus-19 for LSU from sacks).

The Bulldogs struggled in all phases against the Tigers’ top-notch defense.

While six of Mississippi State quarterback Matt Henig’s 28 passes were intercepted, he finished 11-of-28 passing for 120 yards. The Bulldogs gained only 10 net yards on 26 rushing attempts.

LSU finsihed with four sacks, while Mississippi State had three.

On State’s second offensive drive, LSU linebacker Ali Highsmith‘s stunt up the middle forced Henig to throw before his target could complete his route and allowed sophomore safety Danny McCray to snag his second career interception.

Flynn took over at the Mississippi State 45-yard line and handed off to Hester up the middle for 15 yards. After a quarterback keeper gained five yards, Flynn pitched to Williams for a 13-yard gain to the Bulldogs 12.

However, the Tigers were unsuccessful on consecutive pass attempts and settled for a 27-yard Colt David field goal. With 6:28 left in the first quarter, LSU led 3-0.

On its third possession, Mississippi State earned a new set of downs twice before Henig fumbled the fourth-down snap as the evening’s heaviest rain fell. LSU started a third-consecutive drive into Bulldogs territory at its own 39-yard line.

This time, a pair of stops behind the line kept the Tigers out of field goal range. Patrick Fisher punted from inside the MSU 40 into the endzone for a touchback. After booming two punts through the endzone early in the contest, the first-time starter  changed field position for the Tigers several times after. Fisher finished with seven punts for a 44.9 average, including three better than 50 yards.

Henig put too much air under a long pass down the sideline, allowing LSU cornerback Jonathan Zenon to claim the Tigers’ second interception of the game. LSU again took advantage of the mistake, driving 38 yards on eight plays for its first touchdown of the season.

Williams scored from 1-yard to give the Tigers a 10-0 lead with 5:52 to play.

The Bulldogs used a 30-yard kickoff return and a 27-yard pass from Henig to tight end Jason Hubband to drive into LSU territory. However, the quarterback’s third interception of the half landed in LSU safety Craig Steltz‘ arms in the LSU end zone to end the threat.

Though the Tigers’ offense was pushed back nearly to its goalline, Fisher saved his team field position with a 55-yard punt from his endzone.

On the next play from scrimmage, Henig was picked-off for the third time in final five plays of the first half — this time by LSU safety Curtis Taylor.

Taylor got a chance to return his 22 yards into Bulldogs territory, setting up LSU’s final score as the half ended.

On second-and-goal from the 1 with four seconds to play, LSU head coach Les Miles elected to go for the touchdown. Williams ran of the left side for his second touchdown of the game as the stadium horn sounded.

David’s point-after-touchdown gave LSU a 17-0 lead at the half.

The Tigers wasted little time getting in gear offensively in the second half, methodically dissecting the Bulldogs defense before Flynn connected with Doucet for the first passing touchdown of the season.

The 11-yard score came after rushes of 14 yards by Hester and 21 yards by Flynn. With 12:53 left in the third quarter, LSU led 24-0.

Henig was intercepted for the fifth time, this time by Steltz who returned 49 yards to the Mississippi State 8-yard line. Two plays later, Flynn dumped a short pass to running back Charles Scott who turned and ran 11 yards for his first career receiving touchdown.

Henig’s sixth interception again landed in Steltz’ grasp, as the LSU senior returned 51 yards to the Mississippi State 45. Steltz became the seventh player in LSU history to record three interceptions in a game, the first since Corey Webster versus Florida in 2002.

With 8:20 to play, Perrilloux ended a nine-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown.

Later in the fourth quarter, LSU scored for the last time after a State fumble. Perrilloux found LaFell in the left corner of the endzone for a 45-0 lead with 5:45 to play.

The Tigers travelled to face a league opponent to open the season for only the fourth time in school history, picking up their first win in the situation (1-2-1).

Attendance on the steamy evening was 50,112.

LSU returns home via charter flight from Golden Triangle Airport immediately after the game. The Tigers will open the home schedule against ninth-ranked Virginia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 8, in Tiger Stadium.

Kickoff for the nationally televised game will be 8:15 p.m.

LSU at Mississippi State
Aug. 30, 2007 ? David-Wade Stadium (Starkville, Miss.)
Postgame Notes

Team Notes

  • LSU’s game captains were 15 Matt Flynn, 16 Craig Steltz and 72 Glenn Dorsey.
  • LSU won the toss and deferred to the second half. Mississippi State received the opening kickoff.
  • Tigers extending their consecutive starts streak today were: CB Chevis Jackson (27), LB Ali Highsmith (15), LT Ciron Black (14), CB Jonathan Zenon (14), LG Herman Johnson (11) and DT Glenn Dorsey (9).
  • First-time starters for LSU in tonight’s game:  RG Lyle Hitt, RT Carnell Stewart, FB Quinn Johnson, and FS Curtis Taylor.
  • First-time players for LSU in tonight’s game: PK Josh Jasper (special teams), RB Richard Murphy, OL Joseph Barksdale (special teams), WR Terrance Toliver, DE Lazarius Levingston, WR Demetrius Byrd, OL Jarvis Jones, TE J.D. Lott, LB Jeremy Benton (special teams) and LB Kelvin Sheppard.
  • LSU’s defense recorded seven interceptions in tonight’s game, marking the first time to collect seven in one game since the 42-6 victory over Tulane on Nov. 22, 1975 in the Superdome.
    LSU did not record its seventh interception until the fourth game of the season last year.
  • LSU has recorded at least one sack in 20 straight games after a third quarter sack by Al Woods in tonight’s game.
  • The last time LSU’s defense did not record a sack was against North Texas last season.
  • With the win LSU moves to 14-3 in SEC games under Les Miles.
  • With the win LSU moves to 81-28-5 in season openers, including five straight wins.  The Tigers are now 3-0 in opening game under Les Miles.
  • The win marks LSU’s eighth straight victory (six of the eight have come over SEC opponents) and the third straight SEC road victory.
  • Tonight’s game is the fourth time LSU has opened the season on the road against an SEC opponent in its history and tonight is the first win for the Tigers.

Individual Notes

  • DE Kirston Pittman‘s start in tonight’s game marks his first since Oct. 30, 2004 vs. Vanderbilt. Tonight marked his first game action since the Capital One Bowl vs. Iowa on Jan. 1, 2005.
  • RG Lyle Hitt played for the first time in a game on offense. He was a defensive tackle last season.
  • S Danny McCray recorded the second interception of his career in the first quarter of tonight’s game. His other one came against Tulane last season.
  • PK Colt David made a 27-yard FG with 6:28 left in the first quarter. The successful FG was the 13th of his career in his 19th attempt.
  • With a two-yard reception late in the first quarter, WR Early Doucet extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 23.
    Doucet’s nine receptions on the night mark a career-high single-game total.  
  • CB Jonathan Zenon recorded the seventh interception of his career in the middle of the second quarter.
  • RB Keiland Williams scored two rushing touchdowns in tonight’s game. The second career multi-touchdown game of his career and the first since his two-touchdown game against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3, 2007.
    Williams scored the sixth rushing touchdown of his career on a one-yard run with 5:52 left in the second quarter.
    Williams’ second touchdown, the seventh of his career, came on a one-yard run with 0:00 on the clock in the second quarter.
  • S Craig Steltz recorded the sixth, seventh and eighth interceptions of his career tonight. It was his first career multi-interception game. Steltz became the seventh player to record three interceptions in one game and the first since Corey Webster against Florida in 2002.
  • S Curtis Taylor recorded his first career interception late in the second quarter.
  • WR Terrance Toliver pulled down the first reception of his career with inside a minute to play in the second quarter. It was a 19-yard pass from QB Matt Flynn.
  • With an 11-yard touchdown reception from QB Matt Flynn with 12:53 to go in the third, WR Early Doucet scored the 16th receiving TD of his career, moving him into a tie with Tony Moss for eighth on LSU’s career receiving touchdowns list.
    The touchdown from Flynn to Doucet marked the third of the duo’s career. The pair last hooked up for a score against North Texas on Oct. 29, 2005, connecting twice in the endzone.
  • DT Al Woods recorded the first full sack of his career with 2:50 to go in the third quarter.
  • QB Matt Flynn tossed two touchdowns in tonight’s game (one to Doucet and one to Scott) for his fourth career multi-touchdown game.
    Flynn has now thrown 12 career passing touchdowns.
    Flynn’s 42 rushing yards marks a career-high single-game total.
  • RB Charles Scott pulled down an 11-yard pass from Matt Flynn with 2:09 in the third quarter for his first career receiving touchdown and his sixth career touchdown overall.
  • QB Ryan Perrilloux scored the first two touchdown of his career tonight. The first was on a three-yard rush with 8:20 to go in the fourth quarter. The second he connected with WR Brandon LaFell on a 15-yard pass.
    The TD reception by LaFell was the third of his career
    Perrilloux finished the night 2-of-3 for 21 yards and a TD. His yards and completions both marked career highs.
  • DL Lazarius Levingston recorded the first sack of his career late in the fourth quarter, tackling MSU’s Wesley Carroll for a loss of seven yards.