Mettenberger-Led LSU Wins 13th-Straight Over MSU

LSU's Spencer Ware catches a 20-yard touchdown pass.
LSU's Spencer Ware catches a 20-yard touchdown pass.
Chris Parent (@chrisparent)
Todd Politz (@tpolitz)
Todd Politz (@tpolitz)
Director of Digital Media

BATON ROUGE -- Zach Mettenberger threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 9-ranked LSU past No. 22 Mississippi State, 37-17, on a Homecoming Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

Playing its school-record fifth-straight ranked opponent, LSU (8-2, 4-2 SEC) fended off a similar passing attack from Mississippi State to earn a win on head coach Les Miles' birthday. Miles tied Bernie Moore for second-most victories in school history with 83.

The Tigers toppled the Bulldogs for the 13th-straight season and won at home for the 11th-straight time in the series.

Mississippi State (7-3, 3-3 SEC) was forced to use its passing attack as 24 rushing attempts netted only 47 yards against the LSU defense.

Mettenberger was sacked only once and didn't throw an interception, as the junior completed 19-of-30 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns.

His 19-yard touchdown pass gave LSU a 13-10 lead in the second quarter that the Tigers wouldn't relinquish. Five minutes later, a 20-yard touchdown on a wheel route to Spencer Ware capped a 71-yard drive in 35 seconds that put his Tigers ahead, 20-10, at halftime.

LSU fullback J.C. Copeland added a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and safety Craig Loston tied an NCAA record with a 100-yard interception return with 73 seconds left to seal the victory.

Including the 19-yard touchdown, Wide receiver Jarvis Landry led the Tigers with nine catches for 109 yards. Odell Beckham Jr. added 55 yards on four grabs.

LSU rolled up 392 yards of total offense, converted 9-of-15 third downs and won the turnover battle.

Defensively for the Tigers, safety Eric Reid and linebacker Lamin Barrow each had nine tackles, while Kevin Minter added eight.

LSU returns to action for its Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 17, when Ole Miss (5-5, 2-4 SEC) comes to Baton Rouge for a 2:30 p.m. CST kickoff on CBS.

Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell was 26-of-38 passing for 295 yards and a touchdown, while his backup Dak Prescott threw one pass for a 9-yard touchdown that put the Bulldogs ahead 7-0.

Russell was sacked twice with the Bulldogs in the LSU redzone, and threw the interception to Loston from the LSU 9-yard line.

Russell's favorite target was Chad Bumphis who had 140 yards on nine catches including a 14-yard touchdown that pulled Mississippi State within three, 20-13, in the third quarter. Chris Smith caught seven passes for 56 yards while Arceto Clark added 43 yards on four catches.

Mississippi State was outgained, 392-351.

Mississippi State won the toss and deferred its decision to the second half, as the Bulldogs kicked off from the south to the north.

A short return by Michael Ford left LSU with a long field at its 16, where Hill ran for two first downs out to the LSU 40. However, the Tigers dodged a bullet when Mettenberger was sacked for the only time in the half, fumbled and offensive tackle Vadal Alexander recovered at the 28. Despite a 17-yard pass to Landry, LSU couldn't overcome the yardage and punted.

Brad Wing's 29-yard punt was downed at the MSU 26, where Russell took over. The junior used a 20-yard completion to Smith and a 14 yarder to Robert Johnson on third down to advance to the LSU 35. On first-and-goal from the 9, Prescott took the snap in shotgun, faked a handoff and tossed a touchdown to tight end Marcus Green. With 6:41 remaining in the first quarter, the Bulldogs led, 7-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Ford put the Tigers in much better position with a 41-yard return. Shepard gained a first down with an 11-yard run to the Bulldogs 44 and Landry earned a third-down conversion with a 6-yard reception to the 32. Shepard and Hill runs combined to gain another first down, but Kenny Hilliard's first carry came up one yard short of a first down and the Tigers settled for a 28-yard field goal by Drew Alleman.

With 11 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, LSU trailed 7-3.

A three-and-out by Mississippi State at the beginning of the second quarter gave the Tigers possession at its 23, where Mettenberger connected with Landry for 26 yards to the LSU 49. A 2-yard run on third down by Ware gave the Tigers another first down to the MSU 40. Mettenberger converted another third down with a 10-yard pass to Landry, and Ware ran for 12 yards to the 12. Again, LSU's drive stalled in the redzone when a pass in the endzone to Landry was batted away.

Alleman entered for a 26-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 7-6 with 7:59 left in the half.

Mississippi State's Jameon Lewis bobbled the kickoff return at the goalline but made it out to the 15. Two plays later, running back Derrick Milton fumbled the handoff and Barrow recovered at the Bulldogs 25 to give LSU momentum that lasted the rest of the half.

On third-and-8 from the 19, Mettenberger flipped the turnover into points, tossing a pass over a defender into the waiting arms of Landry in the back of the endzone. LSU took the lead, 13-7.

Mississippi State used a nine-play, 45-yard drive to tack on a 47-yard field goal with 48 seconds remaining in the half. LSU declined a holding penalty on third-and-9 from at its 30 to give the Bulldogs a shot at the 47-yarder, but placekicker Devon Bell - who had missed three of his past four tries - nailed the kick into a stiff breeze.

Leading 13-10, LSU wasn't finished in the half. With 48 seconds left, Mettenberger completed a 15-yard pass to Landry to the LSU 44 and then found James Wright behind the defense for 36 yards to the Mississippi State 20. On second-and-10, Mettenberger zipped a perfectly thrown wheel route to Ware for a touchdown.

After advancing 71 yards in four plays, the Tigers led 20-10 at halftime.

Another three-and-out by Mississippi State had Tiger fans thinking victory - until Beckham Jr. muffed the Bulldogs punt and Mississippi State recovered at the LSU 29. A pass interference penalty on LSU setup a 14-yard touchdown pass from Russell to Chad Bumphis that silenced the crowd for the moment.

The Bulldogs cut the LSU lead to 20-17 with 12:52 remaining in the third quarter.

Mettenberger went to work again, completing a 16-yard pass to Beckham Jr. who sat down in a zone for the first down at midfield. A 12-yard run by Hilliard and a 12-yard screen pass to Ware moved LSU to the Bulldogs 25, but a dropped pass in the endzone by Boone forced a field goal attempt.

Alleman made his third of the night from 41 yards to put LSU ahead 23-16 with 8:29 left in the quarter.

Mississippi State converted one first down - by the nose of the ball - before Bennie Logan and Lamin Barrow smothered Russell for no gain on third-and-2 just inside LSU territory. The Bulldogs punt sailed into the endzone and LSU took over.

Passes of 22 and 8-yards to Beckham Jr. started the drive and put LSU at midfield. Despite recovering his own fumble, Landry converted a third-and-7 with a catch to the Bulldogs 36. On second down, a screen to Ford caught the Bulldogs off guard, and the 27-yard gain gave LSU first-and-goal at the 4. Copeland's 1-yard touchdown run on third down pushed the advantage to 30-17 with 11 seconds left in the quarter.

Mississippi State's chance to get within a score was spoiled consecutive sacks by LSU defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo deep in LSU territory - the second of which turned the ball over on downs.

In the final six minutes, the Bulldogs again drove deep into LSU territory to the 4 but were backed up to the 9 by a false start. On second-and-goal, Russell's pass was intercepted at the goalline and returned an NCAA-record 100 yards for a touchdown. The return also tied Greg Jackson (1988 vs. Mississippi State) and White Graves (vs. Kentucky in 1964) for the LSU record.

With 1:13 remaining, LSU led by the final margin.

At halftime, senior finance major Kendall Knobloch of Baton Rouge and senior mass communications major Taylor Cox of Bossier City, La., were named Homecoming queen and king, respectively.

The announced crowd was 92,831.




This Week in LSU Athletics - May 22-27
May. 22
Cannon on Goal-Line Stand vs. Ole Miss
May. 21
'The Tribute' - Celebrating LSU Athletics Graduates
May. 11