The Mississippi State Bulldogs earned one of the best wins in program history in Mike Leach’s SEC head coaching debut.
MSU went down to Baton Rouge to face off against the defending national champions. In addition to a brand new head coach and coaching staff, Mississippi State was also tasked with breaking in a brand new quarterback along with several other grad transfers, and State had very little time in the offseason to make these drastic changes.
That new head coach and that new quarterback and those new schemes and systems helped Mississippi State make history.
The game got off to a slow start for both the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the LSU Tigers as the two teams, who would go on to put up plenty of points Saturday afternoon, managed just 3 in the first quarter thanks to a 35-yard field goal from Brandon Ruiz.
LSU made its way onto the scoreboard early in the second quarter as an errant pass from K.J. Costello landed in the arms of Jabril Cox, who then took the interception into the end zone from 14 yards out, putting LSU up 7-3.
But while Costello made a costly mistake early on, he turned around and lit the Tigers’ defense up on the very next drive. In just two minutes and with 6 plays, Mississippi State traveled 75 yards and was in the end zone thanks to a 31-yard touchdown pass from Costello to Tyrell Shavers, one grad transfer to another, getting MSU up 10-7 on LSU.
LSU and MSU traded touchdown passes before halftime and the Bulldogs found themselves up 17-14 after the end of the first half.
The second half was just as explosive as the second quarter as Costello, who put up an absurd 623 passing yards in the game, went on to lead the Bulldogs’ offense to score after score.
The Bulldogs and the Tigers traded field goals to start the third quarter, and then ended up trading touchdowns to end up.
Cade York and Ruiz each hit a field goal, bringing the score up to 20-17 in MSU’s favor.
After a big drive in which the Tigers took the lead thanks to a 37-yard touchdown pass, Costello connected with Kylin Hill for a 75-yard touchdown pass, setting the Bulldogs up with a 27-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter of the game.
Mississippi State opened up the fourth quarter with a huge touchdown pass from Costello to Austin Williams, giving State a 10-point lead at 34-24, but errors quickly allowed LSU to tie the game up.
After an interception and a fumble from Costello, the Tigers found themselves right back in the game, scoring a touchdown and a field goal respectively, tying things up at 34-34.
But State answered LSU’s 10-point surge with one of its own.
Costello led Mississippi State on a scoring drive, making up for one of his two costly mistakes in the fourth quarter. Ruiz capped the drive off with a 43-yard field goal, giving MSU a lead once more.
On State’s next drive, Mississippi State went 71 yards down the field in just 7 plays. Costello put the game out of reach for LSU by tossing a 24-yard touchdown to Osirus Mitchell.
Costello completed 60% of his 60 passes, throwing for 623 yards (a single-game record for the SEC) and 5 touchdowns against a pair of picks.
While State obviously didn’t get the running game going, Kylin Hill was still an active part of the offense with 8 catches, 158 receiving yards, and a touchdown reception.