LSU gets deserved win after eventful Sept.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - It was something they vastly needed.

It was something they wanted.

 

After all they have been through, it was something they deserved: an easy and impressive win.

 

LSU got that pounding Mississippi State 37-7 to get their first Southeastern Conference victory Saturday afternoon, only four days after getting beaten at home in overtime by Tennessee.

 

"Our team needed this win," LSU head coach Les Miles said shortly after the game.

 

Needed, wanted, craved. LSU had to have this win, and they got it in impressive fashion, coming out in the third quarter and scoring 20 unanswered points to crush any hopes of an upset.

 

"This team came onto the field with an edge," Miles said of his Tigers. "Considering that we didn't get what we wanted Monday night, it was fortunate that we got to play Saturday."

 

The Tigers will face Vanderbilt (3-1, 2-0) next weekend in Nashville. It will be the first regular week of the season for LSU, barring nothing happens from now until kickoff.

 

"If you think about it, this will be the first normal game week we're going to have," Miles said. "I can't wait."

 

The first week was interrupted by an unplanned trip to Tempe, Ariz., where the Tigers won 35-31 over Arizona State. The second week against Tennessee was an irregular Monday night game, the first in LSU history, due to hurricane Rita. This week was a short week in preparation for the Bulldogs, forcing some injured Tigers to gut it out and play.

 

"There was a number of guys that on a short week were bruised and played," Miles said. "I enjoyed seeing that. It was a commitment to the team, a commitment to get it done. Now, with a full week we'll really enjoy it."

It was the first time since 1973 that LSU played two games in the span of six days.

 

LSU reversed last game's trend where they had a 21-0 halftime lead and then blew it, losing the game 30-27 to Tennessee. Saturday they led 17-7 at halftime and then bolted out of the gates to start the third quarter.

 

"Coach just said we have to go back out. It's 0-0," LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell said. "We had to establish our front with the line. Once they (the linemen) did their job, it made it easier for everyone else."

 

 

LSU continues to dominate on special teams

 

Not only did returner Skyler Green have another stellar day returning punts, but the entire LSU special teams did an impeccable job Saturday.

 

"It's continuing to be a real plus for us," Miles said of his special teams. "It's got to continue the rest of the season. Minus an extra point, most of the afternoon (our) teams were dominate, whether it was a coverage unit or return unit."

 

LSU kicker Colt David missed the extra-point after LSU's third quarter opening drive—the only mishap on the Tigers special teams.

 

Mississippi State's average drive start was from its own 18-yard line. That was caused by LSU punts downed inside the 20-yard line and the Tigers' quick, ferocious kickoff coverage team, which only allowed MSU returner Derek Pegues 15 yards a return and a long of only 22 yards.

 

Punt returner Skyler Green returned five punts for 78 yards, the longest being 37. Green helped the Tigers get in great field position by dodging Bulldogs tacklers and racing by defenders. Green also returned one kickoff for 30 yards.

 

"I think he's ready to have a great year," Miles said of Green, who also had 55 receiving yards on eight catches. "He's in good shape. He's the guy we like to get the ball to."

 

Punter Chris Jackson had four punts, three inside the 20-yard line, including a long of 44 yards. Jackson pinned State at the seven-yard line early in the game. 

 

 

Tigers spread the ball around

 

The LSU offense has spread the ball around the field, mixing run with pass and throwing to different receivers in sixth-year offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher's scheme. Before Saturday's game the Tigers have had 10 different players catch passes. They continued that trend verus MSU.

 

Russell used eight different receivers en route to his excellent passing performance.

 

"That's us; that's what we should do," Miles said of his spread scheme. "There were a number of performers that played well in today's game, and they all needed to."

 

Skyler Green, Early Doucet and Dwayne Bowe were Russell's favorite targets but five others also caught passes.

 

Of LSU's 51 pass completions in the first three games of the year, 39 have gone to wide receivers, five to running backs, four to fullbacks and two to tight ends.

 

 

Tigers dominate lop-sided series

 

LSU and Mississippi State met for the 99th time Saturday. It hasn't been a particularly fun-filled century for the Bulldogs, who trail the Tigers in the overall series 63-33-3. Of late, State has been embarrassed by LSU, losing the last five games by a combined score of 202-26, including last year's 51-0 shellacking in Tiger Stadium.

 

The Tigers have won the last 13 of 14 meetings and 18 of the last 21 games with MSU. State's last win was in 1999 when the Bulldogs scored in the final seconds of the game to come away with a 17-16 win in Starkville.

Saturday marked Les Miles' first-ever meeting with Mississippi State.


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