STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Jarrett Lee completed 21 of 27 passes
for 213 yards and a touchdown and No. 3 LSU defeated No. 25
Mississippi State 19-6 on Thursday night.
Lee was the unexpected star, firing conservative, but nearly
perfect passes all over the field. His 19-yard touchdown pass to
Rueben Randle with 11:56 left in the fourth quarter gave LSU a 16-6
His only mistake was an interception minutes later, but as it
had all game, LSU's defense stuffed Mississippi State with little
trouble. LSU (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) had 14 tackles for
a loss and held the Bulldogs (1-2, 0-2) to 193 total yards and two
Despite Mississippi State's cowbells providing an ever-present
backdrop, LSU won its 12th straight game in the series dating to
Lee's success is quickly making LSU fans forget about expected
starter Jordan Jefferson, who has been suspended all season after
being arrested for his alleged role in a bar fight in August. Lee
wasn't spectacular, but he didn't have to be, calmly managing the
game and hitting open receivers downfield.
LSU's Spencer Ware rushed for 107 yards on 22 carries.
LSU was its own worst enemy much of the game before its
late-game breakout. In a particularly brutal stretch in the third
quarter, the Tigers committed five penalties in less than nine
minutes, losing 67 yards in the process. Lee's interception gave
Mississippi State newfound life after falling behind 16-6.
But LSU's defense was good enough to make up for all those
transgressions, constantly putting pressure on Mississippi State
quarterback Chris Relf and disrupting the Bulldogs' vaunted running
game, which had gained at least 300 yards rushing in each of the
season's first two games.
MSU's Vick Ballard managed just 38 yards on 10 carries, while
Relf rushed for 10 yards on 16 carries.
The loss continues Mississippi State's frustration against SEC
Western Division rivals. The Bulldogs are 2-10 against the West,
with both of those wins coming against rival Ole Miss. It's been a
tough six days for Mississippi State, which lost to Auburn 41-34 on
As expected, the game was bruising from the outset. Relf was
thrown to the turf on a sack by LSU's Kendrick Adams on the second
play of the game, and the tone never changed for either team.
Though both teams are known for their run-first approach, the
quarterbacks had a surprising amount of success, especially in the
first half. Lee completed 13 of 15 passes for 128 yards in the
first half and Relf countered with 9 of 11 completions for 78
But that success bogged down once either offense entered the red
zone, with both teams having to settle for field goals that did
little to alter momentum.
LSU scored first after a 16-play, 77-yard drive ended in Drew
Alleman's 21-yard field goal. Mississippi State answered with their
own bruising 14-play, 57-yard drive, capped by Derek DePasquale's
26-yard field goal.
LSU took a 6-3 lead into halftime after Alleman drilled a
42-yard field goal with 1:18 left in the second quarter.
The field goal parade continued in the second half, with
DePasquale's 42-yarder tying the game at 6 in the third quarter.
Alleman answered with a 41-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 9-6
lead with 1:46 remaining.
Finally, LSU was able to break through with Lee's touchdown
throw to Randle, which quieted the cowbells.
By the time the Tigers finished off the game, the small
contingent of LSU fans in the corner of the stadium was chanting
"This is our State," a not-so-subtle jab at Mississippi State's
marketing campaign that is constantly shown on Davis Wade Stadium's massive jumbotron.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)