Mississippi State’s New Era Begins With 44-34 Win Over LSU

From January on, the mantra at Mississippi State was that this Bulldog team would look totally different than any that had come before it. One game into the Mike Leach Era, that all holds up, as KJ Costello set an SEC passing record with 623 yards in the air, and State overcame four turnovers to grab a 44-34 win over the defending national champions LSU in Tiger Stadium.

Costello shattered the school’s single game passing record of 508 yards early in the fourth quarter, then despite an interception and fumble that allowed LSU to make up a ten point deficit, continued firing away. He finished the day 36-60, an SEC record 623 yards, and five touchdowns to four different receives. In all, ten different Bulldogs caught a pass, including three over 100 yards and two over 150 for the first time in school history. State, a historically running team, finished the day with only 9 yards rushing on 16 carries. It truly was an Air Raid as the Bulldogs sliced the Tiger secondary, missing their All-American corner Derek Stingley Jr., to ribbons.

As for Kylin Hill, it was much as predicted, as the senior tailback only carried the ball five times for 27 yards, but was explosive through the air, hauling in a game high 8 passes for 158 yards and a score, a 75 yarder that saw Hill burst down the sidelines and evade two Tigers en route to the end zone.

Defensively, the Bulldogs more than held there own against LSU, racking up seven sacks and picking off two Myles Brennan passes, the second by freshman Emmanuel Forbes in the end zone as time expired. Zach Arnett’s scheme seemed to keep the Tigers off balance, as LSU was held to a mere 2.1 yards per carry. State had three tacklers in double figures, and held the Tigers to 28 points, as one touchdown came on an interception deep in Bulldog territory.

State moves to 1-0 on the season with its first win in Tiger Stadium since 2014, only the second time the Bulldogs have won in Baton Rouge since 1992. State will take on Arkansas in Week 2 in Starkville, the home opener for Mike Leach.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics