LSU and Mississippi State didn’t bother to wait for kickoff to start setting off some fireworks.
About an hour prior to the start of LSU’s Southeastern Conference opener in Starkville, Mississippi, the Bulldogs’ nose guard Jeffery Simmons ran down to the Tigers’ end zone where he began taunting in the face of LSU’s Saahdiq Charles and several other offensive linemen.
Simmons then ran back to the MSU side of the field before returning to about midfield to begin taunting LSU players again.
He eventually shoved an LSU player, which is when both teams rushed to midfield and shared a few words before respective staffs split up the heated group.
LSU edge rusher Arden Key was particularly fired up during the brief squabble and had to be restrained by team administrators. Key again exchanged a few words with MSU players while teams came out of the tunnels, but the players stopped before anything went further.
No punches were exchanged beyond the initial shove from Simmons during pregame. The whole event lasted about a little more than a minute.
Charles and Simmons likely knew each other growing up in the state of Mississippi, with Charles from Jackson and Simmons from about two hours to the north east in Macon. Simmons is a sophomore while Charles is a true freshman.
Simmons and Key’s interaction highlight what is expected to be a signature meeting in the SEC this week as both are some of the best defenders in the league.
Key is making his 2017 debut on Saturday after missing the first two games of the season rehabbing from May shoulder surgery. Key broke the LSU single-season sack record last season with 12 and is an important piece to defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s scheme moving forward this year.
Simmons has 10 tackles this season, one sack, a forced fumble and two blocked kicks, including a 90-yard return for touchdown against Louisiana tech last weekend.
Charles did not start on Saturday but was the first true freshman to start on the offensive line for LSU in a season opener in the modern era of the program when he started against BYU earlier this year.
A little later after the initial scuffle, LSU defensive back Eric Monroe got involved with the trash talking when he began what appeared to be taunting Mississippi State fans by shaking invisible cowbells, a signature piece of game day in Starkville.