STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A 93-yard punt return for a touchdown by Chad Jones and a goalline stand by the LSU defense with a minute to play gave the No. 7-ranked Tigers a 30-26 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.
LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC) scored in every aspect of the game -- offense, defense and special teams -- for the first time since 2002 to pick up its 10th-straight win over the Bulldogs and 13th-straight September win.
Mississippi State (2-2, 1-2 SEC) put forth its best effort against the Tigers in a decade but came up short of the endzone on four-straight plays including the final three inside the 1-yard line.
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson had a career-best 233 passing yards on 15-of-28 attempts with touchdowns of 4 and 58 yards to wide receiver Brandon LaFell. LaFell finished with six catches for 101 yards.
The Tigers rushing attack continued to struggle, as freshman Russell Shepard gained 26 yards on four carries from the "wildcat" formation to lead LSU. Keiland Williams and Charles Scott combined for only 35 yards on 15 carries.
Mississippi State starting quarterback Tyson Lee played most of the game, completing 15-of-38 attemtps for 172 yards with a touchdown a three interceptions.
Bulldogs leading rusher Anthony Dixon led the way with 106 yards and two short touchdowns.
The Bulldogs outgained LSU, 374-263, including 151-30 on the ground.
On the Bulldogs' first snap of the game, Lee's pass slipped from his receiver's hands and into the waiting arms of LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson ran untouched for 37 yards to the endzone.
With 12:47 to play, the Tigers led 6-0, as the point-after-touchdown pass from center was unable to be handled by LSU holder Derek Helton.
It was LSU's second interception return for a score this season.
Peterson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the interception, forcing an LSU kickoff from its 15-yard line.
Mississippi State responded with a nine-play, 66-yard drive that culminated in Dixon's first score of the game from 2-yards. Dixon took a misdirection pitch from Lee and dived over cornerback Chris Hawkins into the endzone.
The Bulldogs took advantage of a pass interference penalty in the endzone on defensive end Rahim Alem to gain first-and-goal at the LSU 2. Alem ran into Lee on a quarterback throw-back route from wide receiver Chad Bumphis.
The touchdown gave MSU a 7-6 lead with 7:14 left in the first quarter.
The Tigers regained the lead on its next drive, also moving 66 yards on nine plays. A 39-yard pass to Terrance Toliver setup a terrific 4-yard touchdown pass across the field Jefferson to LaFell on third-and-3 at the Bulldogs 4-yard line.
Josh Jasper's successful PAT put the Tigers ahead 13-7 with 3:45 left in the game.
Though a special teams touchdown helped the Tigers win the game, a special teams miscue cost the Tigers seven points. Mississippi State benefitted from a short field after LSU's Alex Russian hiked the ball over punter Helton's head. Helton scrambled before being tackled at the LSU 1-yard line.
Dixon finished the Bulldogs' 1-yard touchdown drive that put Mississippi State ahead 14-13 just before the second quarter.
With 6:16 left in the half, LSU converted a fumble by Bulldogs running back Arnil Stallworth at the MSU 25 into a 22-yard field goal by Jasper.
Just before halftime, Mississippi State wasn't able to attempt a 43-yard field goal when the Bulldogs holder couldn't handle the snap and was tackled for a loss.
LSU led 16-14 at halftime.
On LSU's first play of the second half, Jefferson got plenty of time in the pocket and tossed a 58-yard touchdown dart to LaFell. LaFell shook his defender on a crossing route and beat the safety to score for the 19th time in his career.
LSU led 23-14 with 13:30 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing drive, the LSU defense had Lee on the run behind the line of scrimmage on third down, but the senior escaped and found tight end Marcus Green uncovered for a 50-yard reception. The Tigers didn't sack Lee and allowed 8-of-19 third-down conversions.
Jasper missed 19-yard field goal -- the first miss of his career -- and the Bulldogs weren't able to take advantage after reaching midfield.
Jones then made one of the finest punt returns in school history.
A two-time national champion in both football (2007) and baseball (2009), Jones fielded a bouncing punt at the LSU 7-yard line and started toward the left sideline and shook a tackle. He then changed directions, broke another tackle, and crossed the 15-yard line with two great peel-back blocks by Brandon Taylor and Stevan Ridley. With Peterson escorting down the right sideline and Charles Alexander blocking ahead, Jones crossed midfield before breaking another tackle at the MSU 40. He regained his balance and got one more block from Peterson before falling exhausted into the right side of the endzone.
With 14:36 remaining, the 93-yard touchdown gave LSU a 30-21 lead. It was the second-longest punt return in LSU history.
The Bulldogs used a 46-yard catch by O'Neal Wilder to invade LSU territory, but the Tigers defense stiffened and forced a 22-yard field goal by Sean Brauchle with 10:13 left.
The Bulldogs cut the LSU lead to 30-24.
Still trailing by six, Mississippi State advanced to LSU 2-yard line and looked to take the lead for good. However, runs on first and second down resulted in only one yard. The Bulldogs attempted a jump pass to a tight end on third down, but Jones knocked the ball out of the sky.
On fourth down, Lee faked an option pitch to Dixon and attempted to slide into the endzone. He came up short and LSU took over at the 1.
After three LSU runs and three MSU timeouts, Helton elected to step out of the back of the endzone for a safety rather than punt from his endzone.
Leading 30-26, Jasper took the free kick from the LSU 20 and LSU's kickoff return defense stopped the Bulldogs at their 32.
Fourth-straight passes fell incomplete.
The announced crowd of 53,612 was the sixth-largest in Davis Wade Stadium history.
LSU vs. Mississippi State
Sept. 26, 2009 – Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (Starkville, Miss.)
1. LSU’s game captains were 32 Charles Scott, 30 Josh Jasper, 3 Chad Jones and 44 Danny McCray.
2. Mississippi State won the toss and deferred to the second half. LSU received the opening kickoff.
3. Tigers extending their notable consecutive starts streak tonight were: LT Ciron Black (44), OG Lyle Hitt (24), LB Harry Coleman (17), RT Joseph Barksdale (17), TE Richard Dickson (17), RB Charles Scott (17) and CB Chris Hawkins (17).
4. Tigers making their first career starts today: TE Deangelo Peterson.
5. LSU won its 13th straight game in the month of September. The last loss came at Auburn on Sept. 16, 2006.
6. CB Patrick Peterson’s 37-yard interception return for a touchdown was the second pick six for LSU this season. LB Jacob Cutrera recorded one at Washington in the season-opener. The two interceptions for touchdowns by the Tigers are the most in a season since recording two during the 2006 season (both by Jonathan Zenon).
7. LSU saw its streak of consecutive quarters without allowing a touchdown come to an end at six. Mississippi State scored in the first quarter.
8. LSU scored a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams against Mississippi State. (Patrick Peterson 37-yd INT return, Brandon LaFell two receiving TDs, Chad Jones 93-yd punt return). It is the first time the Tigers have accomplished this feat since Oct. 12, 2002, at Florida when LSU’s Corey Webster returned an interception 45 yards for a score, Devery Henderson caught two TD passes, and Blain Bech scored on a 35-yard fake field goal in a 36-7 victory over the Gators.
9. WR Brandon LaFell has now caught a pass in 32 straight games (31 of those multiple-reception games) dating back to the 2007 Sugar Bowl versus Notre Dame.
a. LaFell’s streak is the fifth longest streak in the nation. Central Michigan’s Bryan Anderson leads the nation with 44 consecutive games with a catch.
b. LaFell hauled in a 4-yard touchdown reception with 3:45 left in the first quarter and a career-long 58-yard touchdown catch with 13:30 in the third quarter. They were his fourth and fifth receiving TDs of the season and 18th and 19th of his career. He is now tied for fourth in LSU career receiving TDs with Devery Henderson (2000-03) and Wendell Davis (1984-87).
c. It was LaFell’s fourth career multi-TD game and his second in as many weeks.
10. TE Richard Dickson extended his streak to 15 consecutive games with a reception as he finished with two catches for 14 yards.
11. WR Terrance Toliver also extended his streak to 14 consecutive games with a reception by finishing with four catches for 60 yards.
12. CB Patrick Peterson picked off his second career pass and returned it 37 yards for his first career touchdown.
13. TE Deangelo Peterson recorded his first career reception on a 12-yard catch with 14:54 left in the second quarter.
14. CB Chris Hawkins tallied his fourth career interception and first of the season at the 11:46 mark in the second quarter.
15. PK Josh Jasper connected on a 22-yard field goal with 6:16 left in the second quarter. He missed on a 19-yard attempt with 4:18 left in the third quarter. He now stands at 6-of-7 for the season and 8-of-9 for his career.
16. FS Chad Jones returned a punt 93 yards for his first career touchdown with 14:36 left in the fourth quarter. It was the second longest punt return in school history and the longest since Eddie Kennison’s school-record long 100-yard return for a TD against Mississippi State on Sept. 10, 1994.
a. The punt return for a TD was the first by LSU since Trindon Holliday returned one 92 yards for a score against North Texas on Sept. 13, 2008.