STARKVILLE, Miss. -- For first time since 1973, the LSU football team (No. 7 AP/No. 7 Coaches) began the season 5-0, as the Tigers handily defeated a beleaguered Mississippi State team, 41-6, on Saturday night in Davis Wade Stadium.
The Tigers (5-0, 2-0 SEC), which have posted back-to-back 2-0 SEC starts for the first time in six years, held the Bulldogs to 31 rushing yards on 30 carries and outgained MSU, 354-239.
Mississippi State (0-4, 0-1 SEC) turned the ball over four times leading to 21 LSU points.
LSU quarterback Matt Mauck finished 12-of-19 for 171 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. Devery Henderson caught a career-best seven catches for 114 yards including a 36-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the third quarter.
The Tigers ran the 35 times for 163 yards, including 58 by reserve Justin Vincent and 50 by Shrone Carey.
Mississippi State's Kevin Fant completed 19-of-30 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown, but it was the incomplete passes that cost him. Two interceptions cost the Bulldogs 14 points, as one was returned for a touchdown and one was returned to the MSU 2-yard line.
LSU safety Jack Hunt returned a poor attempt by Fant 34 yards to the MSU 2-yard line, setting up Carey's second touchdown of the game. Just before the half, safety Travis Daniels took a tipped pass 48 yards to the endzone untouched.
Mississippi State won the toss and deferred the decision until the second half, giving LSU the ball to start the game.
After a holding penalty put the Tigers in a third-and-13 situation, Donnie Jones was forced to punt.
The Bulldogs started their first drive of the game with positive field position at their 40-yard line. MSU earned four first downs and entered the LSU red zone on a 15-yard pass from Fant to Ray Ray Bevins to the LSU 14.
However, tailback Nick Turner fumbled the next handoff and LSU defensive end Melvin Oliver, starting for the second time in his career in place of Marquise Hill, jumped on the loose ball at the 15 to end the threat.
The Tigers also mounted a drive into Mississippi State territory, as Devery Henderson caught a 24-yard pass to the LSU 39 and Skyler Green took an end around for 15 yards to the MSU 46.
But, just like the Bulldogs, LSU turned the ball back over to the Bulldogs on a long pass attempt to Henderson at the MSU 12.
After a return to the MSU 26, the Bulldogs went only three yards offensively and punted for the first time.
LSU went to the ground attack on the ensuing possession after Carey returned the punt nine yards to the LSU 35-yard line.
Addai had consecutive carries totaling 15 yards, while Carey added a 3-yard rush to midfield. Clayton's first catch of the game to the MSU 36-yard line set up a 35-yard run by Carey over right tackle to the 1-yard line.
Three plays later, Carey took a pitch around the left side for his fifth straight game with a touchdown run.
LSU led 7-0 after the Ryan Gaudet extra point with only 16 seconds left in the first quarter. The eight-play, 65-yard drive took 3:24 off the clock.
A partially blocked punt by LSU's LaRon Landry, the Tigers took over at their 42. A 19-yard reception by Henderson gave LSU a first-and-goal situation at the MSU 9-yard line. However, a rush for negative yardage and two incomplete passes led to a 32-yard field goal for Gaudet.
LSU led 10-0 with 10:40 to play in the half.
Mississippi State held the ball for only two plays after starting at their 19-yard line. On second-and-15, Fant grossly overthrew his intended receiver and the ball was intercepted by Jack Hunt at the MSU 36.
Hunt weaved through the Bulldogs' offensive unit from one side of the field to the other before being upended at the 2-yard line. The interception was the second of his career.
On the first play from scrimmage, Carey scored for the second time from two yards out.
LSU led 17-0 with 9:48 to play in the half.
Late in the second quarter, Clayton tied former LSU wide receiver Tony Moss for fifth on the school's career reception list with his 132nd catch.
With only a minute to play in the half, a second Fant interception was returned 48 yards for a touchdown by LSU free safety Travis Daniels. Bulldog receiver Fred Reid tipped Fant's pass up the air near the MSU 45-yard line, and Daniels ran underneath it for an uncontested score.
Gaudet's PAT pushed the LSU lead to 24-0 with 55 seconds left in the half.
The Bulldogs have not scored a touchdown against LSU in the first half since Eric Moulds caught an 80-yard pass from Derrick Taite on the first place from scrimmage on Sept. 9, 1995.
The Tigers stopped MSU in three plays to start the second half and wasted no time putting more points on the board. On the next play from scrimmage, Mauck found Henderson on a post pattern for a 36-yard touchdown. The drive lasted eight seconds and the PAT by Gaudet gave LSU a 31-0 lead with 13:48 left in the third quarter.
LSU took advantage of a Bulldog penalty to get positive field position at the LSU 37. Mauck connected with Dwayne Bowe and Green to bring the Tigers into Mississippi State territory. LSU got into the red zone before being forced to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Gaudet.
LSU led 34-0 at the nine-minute mark of the third quarter.
The teams exchanged possessions four times before Mississippi State was able to get on the scoreboard for the first -- and only -- time during the evening.
Fant found wide receiver Justin Jenkins on a 15-yard first-down touchdown pass after LSU was flagged for pass interference, giving new life to the Bulldogs on fourth-and-11 from the 30-yard line.
Mississippi State's two-point conversion pass was completed, but out of bounds and LSU led 34-6 with 10:12 to play. MSU went 92 yards on 10 plays in 4:30.
LSU put its final nail in the Bulldogs coffin by taking the ensuing possession 68 yards in eight plays, highlighted by a 38-yard run by Justin Vincent to the MSU 3-yard line. Vincent scored on the next play from scrimmage to give LSU its final margin of victory.
The Tigers returned to Baton Rouge immediately following the game and will return to action on Oct. 11 against No. 25-ranked Florida in Tiger Stadium at a time to be determined.
The television networks are expected to released the time for the LSU-Florida contest, as well as the rest of the SEC schedule for that weekend, on Monday, Sept. 29.
LSU vs. Mississippi State
Sept. 27, 2003 -- David Wade Stadium
- LSU's game captains are OG Stephen Peterman, CB Randall Gay and P Donnie Jones.
- Mississippi State won the toss and deferred for the second half. LSU will receive to open the game.
- OT Rodney Reed (39 straight), DT Chad Lavalais (26 straight), OG Stephen Peterman (24 straight), OT Andrew Whitworth (18 straight), WR Michael Clayton (18 straight), DE Marcus Spears (10 straight) and SS Jack Hunt (10 straight) all extended their consecutive games started streak.
- By holding Mississippi State scoreless in the first half tonight, LSU has not allowed an opponent to score in the first half during a regular season (non bowl) game since Ole Miss scored a touchdown with 1:02 left in the first quarter on Nov. 23, 2002. The streak extends to 13 straight quarters, including all 10 first half quarters this season.
- LSU's victory moves the Tigers to 5-0 for the first time since the 1973 season when LSU began the season 9-0.
- LSU's victory also moves the Tigers to 2-0 in the SEC for the second straight year, marking the first time LSU has been 2-0 in back-to-back seasons since 1995-1996.
- WR Michael Clayton's 11-yard reception late in the first quarter extended his consecutive games with a reception streak to 31 games, every game of his career.
- Clayton's 11-yard reception in the first quarter was his 130th of his career, making him the sixth player in LSU to reach 130 receptions in a career with the Tigers.
- Sophomore Melvin Oliver, making his second career start at DE, recovered his fumble midway through the first half.
- RB Shyrone Carey's 1-yard touchdown with 0:16 left in the first quarter was the fifth of the season. The sophomore running back has scored one TD on the ground in each game this season.
- Holder/WR Blain Bech held on the extra point kicked by Ryan Gaudet after Carey's 1-yard rush with 0:16 left in the first quarter. It was Bech's first hold of the season and his first game action since returning to the team after missing the first four games due to headaches.
- SS Jack Hunt's 34-yard interception return in the second quarter that set up LSU's second touchdown was Hunt's second interception of his career and second of the season.
- RB Shyrone Carey's 2-yard touchdown run with 9:48 left in the second quarter was his second of the game, giving him his first multi-touchdown game of his career.
- WR Michael Clayton's third reception of the game, a five-yard pass from Matt Mauck late in the second quarter, was his 132nd of his career, moving the junior receiver into a tie for fifth-place on LSU's career receptions list with Tony Moss. Clayton finished the game
- FS Travis Daniels' 48-yard interception return for a touchdown with 0:54 left in the second quarter was his second interception of the season, the second of his career and the first returned for a touchdown of his career. It was the second time this season LSU has returned an interception for a touchdown. Jack Hunt returned one 31-yard for a score against UL-Monroe on Aug. 31.
- WR Devery Henderson's 36-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter gave the senior his fourth touchdown of the season. It also put the receiver over 100 yards receiving for the game, his second 100-yard receiving game of his career.
- The TD catch for Henderson was also his sixth reception of the game tying his career high. He had six catches earlier this season against Western Illinois. Henderson set his career high with his seventh catch of the game in the fourth quarter on a 9--yard reception from Marcus Randall.
- With Matt Mauck's 36-yard touchdown pass to WR Devery Henderson in the third quarter, the junior has now thrown a touchdown pass in nine straight games. The last time Mauck did not throw a touchdown pass was against The Citadel on Sept. 7, 2002.
- With LSU's victory, Matt Mauck moves to 10-1 as the starting quarterback of the Tigers, including 10 straight victories.
- P Donnie Jones' 58-yard punt late in the fourth quarter broke Chad Kessler's career record for punts in a career at LSU with 187. That record-setting punt gave Jones 7,835 career punting yards, which is 142 yards away from Kessler's career mark.
- RB Justin Vincent's 38-yard run in the fourth quarter to the MSU 3-yard line was the longest run of his career. He scored the second touchdown of his career on the next play.