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    Mississippi State

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Mississippi State Over LSU, 37-7 

      
After playing visiting LSU (2-1, 0-1 SEC) to a 7-7 tie early in the second quarter Saturday night, Mississippi State (3-0, 1-0 SEC) would absolutely dominate the rest of the evening, outscoring the 12th-ranked Tigers 30-0 to post an exciting 37-7 upset at Davis Wade Stadium.

Saturday night's 30-point victory marked State's largest margin of victory over LSU ever and was the Bulldogs' first victory over LSU in Starkville since 1999. It was also the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent by the Bulldogs since 1942 (33-0 over No. 12 Vanderbilt).

The Bulldogs controlled the game statistically, with MSU's offense amassing 465 total yards and 25 first downs, while the State defense limited LSU to just 270 yards and 13 first downs.

Nick Fitzgerald was once again the star of the offensive show for State, completing 15-of-23 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 88 yards and two scores. Particularly impressive was his work on key plays, highlighted by his five completions on eight third-down pass attempts.

"His management on third down I thought was huge for us tonight," Mullen said.

Running back Aeris Williams had a big night on the ground as well, leading the Bulldogs with 146 yards on 23 carries. Overall, MSU put on a show through its running game, racking up 285 yards on the ground and averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

"Coming into the game, we wanted to run the football," Mullen said. "We wanted to make sure we could run the ball to hopefully neutralize their pass rush."

Keith Mixon and Deddrick Thomas hauled in the two TDs from Fitzgerald, Mixon leading the team wth six receptions for 97 yards in the contest. Jace Christmann was also 3-for-3 on field goals of 27, 30 and 45 yards during the game.

"Jace making those kicks kept momentum for us," head coach Dan Mullen said after the game.

Defensively, State once again limited its opponent's output very effectively. State has now allowed only 28 points (9.3 ppg) in three games this season under first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. The Bulldogs held Tiger quarterback Danny Etling to 13-of-29 passing with 137 yards and no touchdowns, Mark McLaurin's nine tackles led the Bulldogs, which had two sacks and four tackles for loss in the game. Leo Lewis had eight tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble while Jeffery Simmons had another big night with seven stops (1.5 sacks) and two quarterback hurries.

The Bulldogs will be on the road next week, travelling to Athens, Ga., Saturday, Sept. 23, to meet No. 13 Georgia (3-0, 0-0 SEC) in a 7 p.m. ET battle between undefeated teams on ESPN. UGA ousted Samford 42-14 Saturday night in Athens.


HEAD COACH DAN MULLEN

Opening Statement
"Our student body and the fans were unbelievable tonight. They created an unbelievable atmosphere with a home field advantage; we took advantage of that. They deserve credit and a huge round of applause. We will enjoy this one. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to get better for next week."
 
On how he thinks the offense played...
"I thought they did an excellent job. I thought they came out at a pretty high level. They had some great talent on the defensive line. We wanted to make sure we stayed balanced so execution, being able to run the ball, running the ball on second downs and not making it a pass rush, have to throw it game was huge for it. I was really proud. I wanted to come out and run the
football, and they executed and we were able to do that."
 
On the run game evolving from design quarterback to true option because of Aeris Williams...
"Coming into the game we wanted to run the ball. We had tailback runs, quarterback runs, option runs, read-zone runs. We wanted to make sure we could run the ball and to hopefully neutralize their pass rushers."
 
On Jace Christmann's game...
"He did well after the game last week and in practice. All we can kind of do is go off of practice. He had the best stats at practice this week so we went with him and took advantage of him. He took advantage of the opportunity and did a heck of a job."
 
On what he saw with their defense...
"What we're trying to do is get them back and forth and out of nickel and base defense to create some mismatches. He's a guy who can create some mismatches in the slot. We were just trying to move some people around to create those matchups."
 
On how important he thinks the first scoring drive was...
"It was huge. We knew we had the ball to come out and start the second half. I think we had help with a penalty on that drive. That was a big one to help us stay on the field. I don't think I got the right call in the red-zone at the right situation, so that made us settle for a field goal, but overall, it was good. Jace making those kicks kept momentum on us and put those drives in. We were
able to use up some time on the clock and control the tempo of the game, and that was huge for us."



 

 

  
   

 

 

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