Mississippi State hammered No. 12 LSU 37-7 on Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi, at one point scoring on seven straight possessions between the second and fourth quarters while holding the Tigers scoreless in the second half.
Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was brilliant for the Bulldogs, finishing 15-of-23 for 180 passing yards, two touchdowns, 88 rushing yards and putting up an additional two scores on the ground. Aeris Williams had a superb game running the ball (23 carries for 146 yards), while Keith Mixon chipped in with six receptions for 97 yards and a score.
Fitzgerald brought his game face for the matchup, as Bob Carskadon of HailState.com noted:
Bob Carskadon @bobcarskadon
He's always had an edge to him, but I don't remember seeing Nick Fitzgerald play with this much attitude before. He is loving this.2017-9-17 01:25:52
Discipline was an issue for LSU in the contest, as linebacker Donnie Alexander and defensive lineman Neil Farrell were ejected for targeting. Quarterback Danny Etling struggled on the night, finishing just 13-of-29 for 137 yards, indicative of the Tigers' overall inability to consistently move the ball on offense.
LSU was seemingly overmatched in every phase of the game, as 104.5 ESPN's T-Bob Hebert tweeted:
T-Bob Hebert @TBob53
For everyone trying to blame this loss on any single reason... #LSU has gotten out coached and out played in EVERY SINGLE FACET OF THE GAME2017-9-17 01:43:19
Mississippi State seemed to hold a major edge in the coaching department. David Brandt of the Associated Press and Dan Wolken of USA Today took aim at Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron:
David Brandt @davidbrandtAP
Honestly, watching this LSU team is giving me 2007 Ole Miss flashbacks. Talented. Undisciplined. Vanilla on offense.2017-9-17 01:17:53
Dan Wolken @DanWolken
Mississippi State 37, LSU 7. You’ll never see a bigger coaching mismatch in the SEC than what you’ve seen tonight in Starkville.2017-9-17 01:42:58
Frankly, running back Derrius Guice (76 rushing yards) and the return of dynamic edge-rusher Arden Key were the lone bright spots for LSU.
And it showed on the faces of LSU fans, as Barrett Sallee of CBSSports.com shared:
Barrett Sallee @BarrettSallee
LSU fans are displeased. https://t.co/Rf8QdSW7K52017-9-17 01:19:30
Barrett Sallee @BarrettSallee
LSU fans still not having a great time. https://t.co/sZ3LYDrOaJ2017-9-17 01:57:14
But while it is easy to criticize the Tigers after this game, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com believes the Bulldogs deserve credit:
Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg
LSU's offense deserves criticism it'll get, but Mississippi St also better than expected on defense. Entered game as FBS efficiency leader.2017-9-17 01:56:35
It will be fascinating how the result shakes up the AP rankings come Monday. While voters may keep in mind the game was played in Starkville, LSU will be due a precipitous drop after such a thorough dismantling. The Tigers will have the opportunity to get back on track against Syracuse in Week 4.
Mississippi State, meanwhile, received just three votes in the most recent AP poll. It's safe to assume that number will rise significantly this time around, with the Bulldogs a prime candidate to sneak into the Top 25.
They won't have much time to enjoy the win, however, with road trips to No. 13 Georgia and No. 15 Auburn over the next two gameweeks.
Escape that gauntlet unscathed, however, and the Bulldogs will not only find themselves in the SEC title conversation but in the College Football Playoff discussion as well.