This season, Tiger Rag contributing writer Tim Rodrigue will use EASports' NCAA Football 2008 to predict the outcome of LSU's entire season game by game. Additionally, we'll forecast the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll Top 25 week to week as it appears in LSU's simulated season.

LSU 38, Mississippi State 0


STARKVILLE, Miss. – Turning to what little experience it has on offense as a guide and relying on its defense to keep its opponent at bay, LSU still managed to shut out Mississippi State, 38-0.


Senior running back Jacob Hester, given the start by LSU coach Les Miles because the Tigers season opener was on the road against a conference divisional opponent, didn't disappoint. On the first play from scrimmage, Hester lined up next to quarterback Matt Flynn in a shotgun formation, took a handoff, and rumbled through the heart of the Bulldogs defense 72 yards for a touchdown to put the Tigers ahead 7-0.

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Following that one-play scoring drive, however, LSU's offense went stagnant for the remainder of the first half until Hester busted another long run. This time he covered 78 yards for his second touchdown of the night. In the interim, the Tigers defense contributed a 31-yard scoop-and-score, and Colt David hit a 29-yard field goal to help put LSU up 24-0 at the break.


Flynn finished the night hitting on just 4-of-11 passes for 56 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Hester carried seven times for 161 yards and two scores.


Early Doucet hauled in two receptions for 42 yards and was joined in the receiving corps by Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver. LaFell and Toliver's only receptions went for touchdowns of 48 and six yards, respectively.


"You aren't going to beat many teams with 120 yards of total offense," Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said. "Turnovers always hurt, and the four we had really hurt us tonight."


Michael Henig completed 7-of-14 passes for 80 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions to comprise the bulk of the Bulldogs' frail passing attack. Running back Anthony Dixon was limited to just 35 yards on 18 carries, and Tony Burks' four catches for 35 yards led Mississippi State's receivers.


On its second possession of the third quarter, LSU padded its lead with a four-play, 45-yard drive when Flynn hit Toliver at the goal line on a six-yard strike. That play was set up by a 35-yard pass to Doucet.

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With a commanding lead, Miles sent in embattled LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux to run the offense for the remainder of the night, and he didn't disappoint. Perrilloux connected on his first and only two passes of the game, the second of which was a 48-yard strike to LaFell to extend the lead to 38-0.


In total, the Tigers outgained the Bulldogs on offense, 282-120, and won the turnover battle by two. Because of the two, one-play scoring drives by Hester, LSU held onto the ball a total of just 6:43, as compared to Mississippi State's 13:17.



How the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll fared.


(1) USC 49                  Idaho 13


(2) LSU 38                  Mississippi St. 0


(3) Florida 63               Western Kentucky 6


(4) Texas 59                 Arkansas State 7


(5) Michigan 56            Appalachian State 21


(6) West Virginia 45     Western Michigan 7


(7) Wisconsin 34          Washington State 14


(8) Oklahoma 53          North Texas 10


(9) Virginia Tech 49      East Carolina 0


(10) Ohio State 59       Youngstown State 7


(11) Louisville 59          Murray State 7


(12) California 24         (15) Tennessee 31


(13) Georgia 42            Oklahoma State 14


(14) Auburn 10            Kansas State 7


(15) Tennessee 31        (12) California 24


(16) Rutgers 49            Buffalo 3


(17) UCLA 52             Stanford 10


(18) Penn State 31       Florida International 3


(19) Nebraska 31         Nevada 3


(20) Arkansas 49         Troy 3


(21) Florida State 49    Clemson 14


(22) TCU 38                Baylor 12


(23) Boise State 55      Weber State 7


(24) Hawaii 41 Northern Colorado 0


(25) Texas A&M 77    Montana State 3




How the SEC fared.




(3) Florida 63               Western Kentucky 6


(13) Georgia 42            Oklahoma State 10


Kentucky 27                Eastern Kentucky 7


South Carolina 62         UL-Lafayette 7


(15) Tennessee 31        (12) California 24


Vanderbilt 52               Richmond 14





Alabama 42                  Western Carolina 7


(20) Arkansas 49         Troy 3


(14) Auburn 10            Kansas State 7


(2) LSU 38                  Mississippi State 0


Mississippi 28               Memphis 25


Mississippi State 0        (2) LSU 38

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