LSU Defense Shines in 19-3 Win Over No. 22 MSU
BATON ROUGE — No. 5 LSU contained 22nd-ranked Mississippi State, relied on its stellar defense and the right foot of placekicker Cole Tracy to earn a 19-3 victory on a wet Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.
LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) built a 10-3 halftime lead before pitching a second-half shutout of Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3 SEC).
Overshadowing the Tigers’ fourth victory over ranked opponents in 2018 was a fourth-quarter targeting call on junior linebacker Devin White following a hit on Bulldogs’ quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. White’s penalty was confirmed by video review, he was ejected from the game and will miss the first half of the Tigers’ next contest against No. 1 Alabama.
LSU will play host to the Crimson Tide on Nov. 3 at a time to be announced by the SEC and its network television partners on Monday, Oct. 22.
Statement from SEC Office on targeting call on LSU player Devin White in response to request for comment from media in Baton Rouge:
By rule, no player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent. The QB on the play was defenseless at the time of the contact. By rule, all targeting calls are reviewed. The call was reviewed and confirmed.
White, safety Grant Delpit and linebacker Jacob Phillips each had 10 tackles against Fitzgerald and the run-heavy Bulldogs. Delpit had two of LSU’s four interceptions along with a the Tigers’ only sack.
LSU runnin back Nick Brossette eclipsed 1,000 career yards and finished with 57 on 17 carries and the game’s only touchdown. Quarterback Joe Burrow was 16-of-28 passing for 129 yards with an interception. Eight different receivers had catches for the Tigers, and Dee Anderson led the way with three receptions for 29 yards.
Placekicker Cole Tracy continued to move up the LSU record book, becoming the first Tiger to kick nine field goals in a two-game span. Tracy made all four of his attempts – 25, 38, 29 and 40 yards – and now had 21 field goals in 2018.
Fitzgerald finished with 131 rushing yards, but only had 79 on 20 carries after ripping off 53 on conseutive runs on the Bulldogs’ second drive of the game. He was 8-of-24 passing for 59 yards, 40 of which came on his final drive of the night. Running back Kylin Hill added 42 yards for the Bulldogs.
LSU wore a unique uniform for the contest, a tribute to the 1918 “Silent Season” which was canceled due to World War I.
Blow-by-Blow Recap (by Bill Franques)
LSU linebacker Michael Divinity Jr. intercepted a Nick Fitzgerald pass on Mississippi State’s third play from scrimmage and returned it 32 yards to the Bulldogs’ three-yard line. The pick was the first interception of Divinity’s career and LSU’s 11th of the season.
The Tigers capitalized on the opportunity three plays later when running back Nick Brossette bulldozed into the end zone from the one-yard line, giving LSU a 7-0 lead with 12:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Mississippi State responded by driving 73 yards on seven plays, capping the march with a 19-yard field goal by Jace Christmann. The Bulldogs had a first-and-goal at the LSU 4 before the Tiger defense stiffened and forced the field goal try.
Fitzgerald suffered his second interception of the first quarter when safety Grant Delpit picked him off at the Mississippi State 24-yard line with 3:56 left in the period. The interception was Delpit’s fourth this season and the fifth of his career.
LSU’s scoring opportunity was thwarted, however, when Bulldog cornerback Cameron Dantzler intercepted quarterback Joe Burrow at the Mississippi State one-yard line.
The defenses dominated the game throughout the second quarter until LSU drove 64 yards on 15 plays and culminated the march on a 25-yard field goal by Cole Tracy on the final play of the first half, increasing the LSU advantage to 10-3. A big play in the drive was a 19-yard completion on third-and-10 from Burrow to wide receiver Derrick Dillon that gave the Tigers a first down at the Bulldog 41-yard line.
LSU took the opening kickoff of the second half and moved 55 yards in 10 plays, increasing its lead to 13-3 with a 38-yard Tracy field goal at the 10:44 mark of the third period.
Mississippi State drove into LSU territory on the ensuing possession, but Delpit sacked Fitzgerald on fourth-and-three at the 37-yard line to end the threat.
After the fourth-down stop, the Tigers moved 44 yards on nine plays and completed the drive with a 29-yard field goal by Tracy, marking his 20th three-pointer of the season in 22 attempts.
LSU pushed its advantage to 19-3 with 10:42 left in the contest on a 40-yard field goal by Tracy. The kick capped a 10-play, 51-yard drive which featured a Burrow 20-yard completion to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire that set up a first down at the MSU 25.