STARKVILLE, Miss. — Greg Gilmore is prepared to say it, ready to step into the LSU team room on Sunday or Monday afternoon and deliver a message to his teammates.
“I’m embarrassed,” Gilmore said reciting the line to reporters. “This was an embarrassment.”
Mississippi State turned back the clock Saturday night.
The Bulldogs whipped LSU in a fashion in which they haven’t done since the early 1980s, clobbering the Tigers 37-7 in front of a rocking, cowbell-toting crowd of 60,592 at Davis Wade Stadium, opening Ed Orgeron’s first true road game as permanent coach in a disastrous way.
The Bulldogs scored their most points in a game against LSU in Starkville, held the Tigers to their fewest points in the series since 1975 and rocked Orgeron’s group in a nationally televised affair in which it was a touchdown favorite.
It was the largest win for State in the 110-game series.
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“Put it on me,” Orgeron said. “We’re going to look at our guys’ play. Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were. We got handled on the front, both sides of the front.”
LSU’s thin offensive and defensive lines couldn’t keep up with Mississippi State’s groups in an electric matchup at a place where the Tigers have had so much success.
LSU took its first loss in Starkville in 17 years — eight tries — and lost to State for just a fifth time in the past 33 seasons. That stretch dates to those days in the mid to early 1980s when State’s bullish quarterback, John Bond, beat the Tigers in four straight years.
For State and coach Dan Mullen, they got their largest margin of victory over a ranked team since 1942.
“This is the perfect way to start the SEC season,” State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald said.
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Youth has served LSU in a big way this season, and that continued Saturd…
The Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) gouged the Tigers (2-1, 0-1) on the ground, a 6 yard-per-rush average, and assaulted quarterback Danny Etling on the other side of the ball, creating constant pressure on the senior. LSU’s bugaboo entering this one — penalties — remained. The Tigers had nine for a whopping 112 yards.
Mullen’s group scored the second-most points on a Dave Aranda-led LSU team in his 15-game tenure as the defensive coordinator, and Matt Canada’s motion-filled spread offense flopped in its first road test against a team that won just six games a season ago.
The results don’t bode well for the future.
LSU has road trips remaining to Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Ole Miss, and the Tigers are likely to seriously plummet from their plush No. 12 ranking in the AP poll.
“(Can’t) let everybody get down on one game. We got a long season ahead of us,” inside linebacker Devin White said. “The ship can sink, and that’s something I don’t want to happen.”
Flags dogged LSU for a third straight game, and this time the Tigers were penalized with ejections, too.
Senior starting inside linebacker Donnie Alexander and freshman defensive end Neil Farrell were ejected for targeting hits on State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. The ejections came within seven plays of each other in the third quarter. Both players will miss the first half of next week’s game against Syracuse.
The losses decimated an already thin defensive line. By the end of the third quarter, the Tigers had available just four interior defensive linemen for its three inside positions.
Orgeron crew was already down two interior defensive linemen. The Tigers played without Rashard Lawrence (ankle injury) and Frank Herron (presumed suspension), and they lost Ed Alexander in the first half with a hand injury.
“Very thin,” Orgeron said describing the front.
STARKVILLE, Miss. — After struggling from the outset of Saturday night’s game with Mississip…
“Yes, we were down some linemen, but we’ve got to step up and do our job,” defensive end Christian LaCouture said. “Me being a leader and Greg being a leader, we’ve got to get those guys ready to go.”
LSU’s offense did nothing to help.
Senior receivers Russell Gage and DJ Chark dropped critical passes in the third quarter that would have picked up first downs. LSU went nearly two quarters without picking up a first down, struggling against State coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit.
Coverage busts in Aranda’s defense led to two second-half touchdowns, with State receivers wide open for scores from Fitzgerald. The whopper of a loss ruined the return of All-American edge rusher Arden Key and sent the Tigers stumbling home for a consecutive nonconference games against Syracuse and Troy.
“It’s a tough loss, and something we’ve got to bounce back from,” Etling said. “Everything we want will still be out there for us. We knew we were a good team. I don’t’ think we took them lightly and we went out there and didn’t execute as far as being smart, getting penalties.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State wasn’t the only team to beat LSU on Saturday.
STARKVILLE, Miss. — The bells tolled for LSU here Saturday night.
Fitzgerald, State’s 6-foot-6 dual-threat quarterback, scored twice on the ground and twice in the air, combining for more than 250 yards of total offense against an LSU unit that lost seven starters from last season’s team. The Bulldogs, at one point, scored on seven straight possessions.
LSU’s offense punted on four straight drives after an eight-play, 65-yard touchdown march in the second quarter tied the score at 7.
LSU running back Derrius Guice was held to less than 100 yards for the first time in a game in four tries (76 yards), and Etling, under pressure for much of the night, completed less than half of his 29 attempts.
“My whole concern all week was whether or not we could block,” Orgeron said referring to the offense. “Obviously we didn’t block.”
This one’s been billed as LSU’s first real test all offseason, the first true road game since Orgeron was announced in November as the program’s full-time head man.
This one got fiery Saturday even before the first snap.
During pregame warmups, the two teams converged near midfield in a spell of commotion that appeared to be precipitated by State nose tackle Jeffrey Simmons. At one point, staff members held back LSU players from Simmons, specifically Key. Two of the SEC’s most dominant defenders yelled at each other as State’s student section roared in the end zone — all of this coming about 90 minutes before kickoff.
About four hours later, the Bulldogs were doing the talking.
“We had LSU right where we wanted them,” State receiver Keith Mixon said, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “I think we knew from the first drive with the way we ran ball.”