The only man in the world who knew of the storm brewing was Mississippi State junior running back Josh Robinson.
During the week leading up to the Bulldogs’ Sept. 6 matchup against Alabama-Birmingham, Robinson uttered a phrase to the local media that didn’t hold any weight until three weeks later.
“I’ve got something for you.”
Robinson, who grew up 85 miles east of Baton Rouge in Franklinton, had his squad’s trip to Tiger Stadium highlighted, circled and marked with a star.
The aura of a filled Death Valley has been known to intimidate incoming opponents.
Not even Robinson himself could have predicted how the duo of Robinson and junior quarterback Dak Prescott, also a Louisiana native, would explode out the gate. The storm was certainly stronger than LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis could have anticipated.
Robinson’s first carry went for five yards. The next ended after a 14-yard gain. The third was a 23-yard carry. His fourth carry of the night resulted in a score, a three-yard touchdown on first and goal.
With 11:33 remaining in the second quarter and the Bulldogs on their own 17-yard line, Robinson took his fifth attempt of the contest, blew through the line of scrimmage and sprinted to the Tigers 17-yard line, a gain of 66 yards.
At halftime, Robinson had six carries for 111 yards and a touchdown – an average of 18.5 yards per attempt.
“I thought Josh ran the ball hard,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said. “The yards after contact today were where it was all about. After contact, I thought he did a fabulous job of running the football.”
Prescott fared just as well in the first half.
Prescott, who was recruited by LSU, was a Heisman Trophy candidate heading into Saturday night’s Southeastern Conference contest, and he performed like a worthy contender early.
He had to be perfect. Prescott lined up opposite an LSU defense that had pitched two consecutive shutouts against Sam Houston State and the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
His night began with a drive that began on MSU’s 49-yard line. He finished the drive 4-for-4, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver De’Runnya Wilson.
The obstacle became much taller two drives later, when Prescott and the Bulldogs’ offense began their third possession on their own 2-yard line. It took only five plays for the Haughton native to drive 98 yards for the eventual Robinson score.
Prescott ended his first half 8-of-11 for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Then the storm’s eye began its passing over Death Valley.
One play into the second half, Prescott rushed forward for two yards before fumbling the football right into the waiting hands of LSU junior defensive end Danielle Hunter, who scooped the ball and ran into the end zone to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to four.
It would finish as only a speed bump in Prescott’s night.
On MSU’s ensuing possession, Prescott found daylight, sprinting 56 yards and blowing through the LSU secondary for his first rushing score of the night.
The Bulldogs’ passer put his foot on the gas pedal on MSU’s proceeding drive, scrambling out of the pocket and hitting a wide-open Jameon Lewis for a 74-yard score.
LSU’s momentum lasted for all of 12 seconds.
“When we needed a play, (Prescott) stuck up and made the plays that we needed to make,” Mullen said. “The plays he made with his arm and with his legs were huge.”
Prescott and Robinson marched into Tiger Stadium unfazed, scoring the most points by an opposing team in Baton Rouge since Nov. 17, 2012.
“I pretty much new everything (the Tigers) were coming with before the snap of the ball,” Prescott said.
The duo finished with 302 combined rushing yards and two touchdowns. Robinson alone had 197 rushing yards on 16 carries. He certainly kept his word.
Prescott added 268 yards and two touchdowns through the air. It was the homecoming the Bulldogs needed to end a streak of 14 losses against the Tigers.
“It was an SEC game, and there’s nothing like coming back home to the state of Louisiana,” Prescott said. “It was a great team victory and a great University victory. Everybody is happy right now.”