Dak Prescott’s happy homecoming came at the expense of LSU.
Prescott, a native of Haughton, accounted for 274 yards and three touchdowns, leading unranked Mississippi State to a 34-29 victory Saturday over No. 8 LSU in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Prescott’s heroics were more than enough to help Misssippi State (4-0,1-0) snap a 23-year winless streak against LSU (3-1, 0-1) in Tiger Stadium. It was also the Bulldogs’ first win over the Tigers since 1999.
Prescott atoned for an early miscue in the third quarter where he was stripped and LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter returned it 25 yards for a touchdown, pulling the Tigers to within 17-10.
Prescott directed State on back-to-back scoring drives, keeping up the middle on third-and-four and turning it into a 56-yard scoring dash just over two minutes later. State took a commanding 31-10 advantage with 9:35 showing in the third quarter when Prescott avoided pressure, stepped out of the pocket and found a wide open Jameon Lewis who turned the play into a 76-yard score.
State compiled 570 total yards – including 302 on the ground - with Prescott completing 15-of-24 passes for 268 yards and two TDs. The junior rushed 22 times for 105 yards and a score.
LSU stopped State’s onslaught with 12:34 left in the game on Kenny Hilliard’s 1-yard touchdown.
That was beginning of the Tigers’ best minutes of the game when freshman reserve quarterback threw TD passes of 31 and 30 yards, respectively, to freshman wide receiver Malachi Dupre to make things interesting at 34-29 with 1:27 showing.
The Tigers got the ball back in the final 20 seconds of play and reached the Bulldogs’ 41 with Harris (6-9, 140 yards) getting intercepted by Willie Redmond on the game’s final play at the 2-yard line.
LSU wound up with 430 yards but managed only 89 yards on 35 carries on the ground.
LSU’s defense cut State’s halftime lead to 17-10 when linebacker Kwon Alexander stripped Prescott on a keeper into the line with Hunter recovering and returning it 25 yards for a score.
State stormed out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter and added a second-quarter field goal for a 17-3 halftime lead over LSU.
Prescott directed an opening drive of 6 plays and 51 yards, completing all four of his pass attempts for 48 yards that included a picture-perfect 9-yard score to De’Runnya Wilson against tight coverage from LSU defensive back Dwayne Thomas.
One of the bigger turning points in the first half took place in the final two minutes of play with LSU driving for a potential tying touchdown.
The Tigers had first-and-goal from the Bulldogs’ 2-yard line but were held to one yard in three plays, and on fourth down linebacker Richie Brown stopped Jennings for no gain with 2:06 to play.
After Prescott kept for two yards, he found Wilson for 26 yards, Josh Robinson (16-167) carried for 23 more and once again connected for Wilson on a 44-yard completion to LSU’s 3-yard line and Robinson barged in on first down with 45 seconds left in the opening quarter.
What you need to know
1) Mississippi State standout defensive tackle Justin Smith was lined up over LSU center Elliott Porter several times during the game, applying plenty of pressure and forced Porter into a couple of shoddy snaps.
2) Mississippi State’s defense was sterling on first down against LSU, forcing the Tigers to repeatedly face long-yardage situations on second and third downs where the Bulldogs regularly pressured Jennings.
3) LSU’s nationally ranked defense, which was allowing eight points and 203 yards per game, yielded a season high in points scored and State’s total offense of 588 was more combined than the Tigers’ last two opponents.
4) State quarterback Dak Prescott recorded the third most rushing yards against LSU’s defense in the last 20 years. Auburn’s Cam Newton established the mark four years ago with 217, while Prescott’s total of 103 last year is second.