STARKVILLE, Miss. — LSU running back Leonard Fournette ran for a career-best 159 yards and scored three touchdowns as the 14th-ranked Tigers survived a cat-versus-dog battle to beat No. 25 Mississippi State late Saturday night at Davis Wade Stadium, 21-19.
Robbed of its season opener by lightning a week prior, LSU (1-0) shook of its rust to earn a critical Southeastern Conference victory when Mississippi State’s Devon Bell missed a 52-yard field goal as time expired.
LSU increased its school-record streak of season-opening wins to 13 and beat Mississippi State for the 15th time in 16 meetings. Les Miles earned his 100th win while coaching a ranked LSU squad (100-28 since 2005).
The Tigers led 21-6 through three quarters before State quarterback Dak Prescott, a former Haughton star, was able to get into an offensive rhythm. The senior cut the LSU advantage to eight with a 1-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter and completed 14-of-18 fourth-quarter passes for 161 yards. His 5-yard touchdown pass to De’Runnya Wilson moved the Bulldogs with two points with 4:00 left, However, his two-point conversion pass was incomplete.
On the game’s final drive, LSU’s defense bent but didn’t give State a shot at a short field goal. Instead, Bell, the Bulldogs’ long-distance kicker, tried from 52 yards and missed to the right.
Meanwhile, Fournette did the heavy lifting for LSU. The sophomore carried a career-high 28 times and scored all of LSU’s touchdowns with runs of 1 yard (took a direct snap), 26 yards (leaped defenders) and 18 yards (sprinted untouched around right end).
Starting his second career game, quarterback Brandon Harris, a former Haughton star, completed 9-of-14 passes for 71 yards. He aslo ran five times for 48 yards and was only sacked one time.
LSU defense bottled up Prescott and the Bulldogs for the better part of three quarters, allowing only a pair of field goals in the first 45 minutes of action.
The Tigers sacked Prescott three times, while linebacker Deion Jones led the way with a career-best 12 tackles. Linebacker Kendell Beckwith (11) and safety Dwayne Thomas (10) also had career highs in tackles.
Neither team turned the ball over, while LSU was outgained 378-337. State had a 158-73 advantage in fourth-quarter yardage, and LSU out-rushed the Bulldogs, 266-43.
Penalties plagued the Tigers as both sides of the ball, as the Tigers had two first-half touchdowns called back.
The second-largest crowd in Davis Wade Stadium history, 62,531, paid to see the game.
— LSU Sports Information