LSU came into Saturday knowing if No. 22 Mississippi State was going to beat them, Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald would have to do it by himself.
Fitzgerald managed to run the ball 23 times for 131 hard, effective yards, but the Bulldogs’ passing game was simply atrocious. He finished 8-of-24 for 59 yards with four interceptions, allowing No. 5 LSU to coax out just enough offense for a 19-3 win in Baton Rouge.
The first of Fitzgerald’s two picks proved to be the backbreaker. On his second pass of the day, Fitzgerald hit LSU’s Michael Divinity, Jr., who returned the ball 30 yards to the Mississippi State 3. Nick Brossette punched in a 1-yard rush on 3rd-and-goal to put the Tigers up 7-0.
Mississippi State answered with a 73-yard drive, but Fitzgerald’s 3rd-and-one plunge from the 2 was stuffed, forcing a 19-yard Jace Christmann field goal.
The Tigers’ next seven possessions covered 22 yards in 15 plays, ending in six three-and-outs and one interception, but it didn’t matter. Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3 SEC) could not puncture the scoreboard again, and a 38-yard Cole Tracy field goal pushed the lead to 10-3 at the break.
That theme continued in the second half, as Tracy added second half field goals of 38, 29 and 40 yards.
Joe Burrow finished 16-of-28 for 129 yards with an interception, while the Tigers’ ground game mustered 111 yards on 43 carries.
While it was enough for LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) to beat this week’s opponent, it won’t be enough to beat the next. After a mutual bye week, LSU next takes the field against No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3 in Baton Rouge.
And a major development in that game occurred at the end of this one. LSU linebacker Devin White was ejected in the fourth quarter for a targeting hit on Fitzgerald, meaning the Bayou Bengals will be without their best defensive player for the first half against Alabama.