Mississippi State got to feel what it’s like to step into LSU’s shoes.
The Bulldogs bludgeoned the Tigers.
State coach Dan Mullen and his crew flipped the roles in this one-sided series Saturday night in a 34-29 win over No. 8 LSU, unleashing two decades’ worth of frustration in front of a stunned, capacity crowd at newly renovated Tiger Stadium.
Quarterback Dak Prescott, a Louisiana native, accounted for 373 yards and scored three touchdowns. And another Louisiana boy, running back Josh Robinson, gashed the Tigers for 197 yards on the ground.
“I think we’ll look at this film and be miserable. There won’t be anyone smiling for a while,” coach Les Miles said.
Mississippi State exposed glaring weaknesses in a Tigers team with a stinging defeat in — of all places — Tiger Stadium and — of all times — at night. State became just the third team to beat LSU on a Saturday night at home under Miles.
The Bulldogs (4-0) handed LSU (3-1) just its eighth home loss in Miles’ 10 seasons and the first by an unranked team. State beat the Tigers for the first time in a whopping 14 years, won for just the second time against the Tigers since 1991 and beat their first top-10 team on the road since 1986.
“One of the best teams in the country and one of the hardest environments to come play,” Mullen said. “I’m proud of our players.”
They bashed LSU from the start, jumping to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter and delivering the knockout punch on a 74-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter from Prescott to Jameon Lewis for a 31-10 lead.
They tacked on a field goal to make it a 34-10 rout early in the fourth, a score that sent most of the announced 102,321 heading for the exits.
They missed a heart-pounding final two minutes from a rookie connection of quarterback Brandon Harris and reciever Malachi Dupre.
LSU’s rebuilding offense sputtered early for the third time in four games. It never got going until a rally in the waning minutes behind Harris.
Helped by a Mississippi State fumble, Harris and Dupre hooked up on 31 and 30-yard touchdown passes. The pair of scores came in a stunning 28-second span in the final two minutes of the game to cut the deficit from 34-16 to 34-29.
Harris and the Tigers had a shot to win at the end, but the quarterback’s final heave from the 45-yard line was intercepted at the goal line as time expired.
It’s an ending that might restart a quarterback competition between Anthony Jennings and Harris. Despite the deficit, Harris didn’t see the field until less than four minutes remained.
“He certainly made a case today that we need to look more seriously,” Miles said of Harris.
Said receiver Travin Dural: “Brandon made some plays, and that is what is expected of him. If he would have started, he would have done the same.”
Meanwhile, LSU’s rivals from Starkville partied like it was 1999 — the last time they beat the Tigers. State’s contingent of 4,000 to 5,000 maroon-clad fans lingered until the end, chanting in a mostly empty stadium.
The Bulldogs had nine plays of 20 yards or longer against an LSU defense that had pitched a shutout for nearly 10 quarters entering the game.
Prescott had passes of 74, 44, 26, 23 and 21 yards, and he ran for another 99 yards in an spectacular outing that lifts him — if he’s not there already — to the center of Heisman Trophy talk. Prescott was 15-of-24 for 268 yards and had 105 more on the ground.
Mississippi State had a whopping 302 rushing yards, most at a sore spot for the Tigers: directly up the middle. It was the most LSU had allowed in nearly four years.
“He ran their offense extremely well,” Miles said. “Hats off to him.”
Prescott, a Haughton native, spurned a late quarterback scholarship offer from LSU during the recruiting process in 2010.
Of the win, the QB said, “It’s exactly what I wanted to do when I committed to Mississippi State.”
Jennings struggled at times, and LSU’s offense never really got moving. The Jennings-led unit scored just one offensive touchdown, had less than 80 rushing yards and was 2-of-13 on third down.
“They are a real good defense,” Dural said. “We prepared for it, but they hit us with things we weren’t expecting.”
An offensive line that struggled through the first three games had issues again, and Jennings completed just half of his 26 attempts and was sacked three times.
LSU had its chances even before Harris sparked the late rally.
The Tigers jumped back into the game with a crowd-rousing defensive touchdown just a few seconds into the third quarter.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander stripped Prescott, and defensive end Danielle Hunter returned it for a touchdown to pull LSU to 17-10, but Mississippi State answered — and loudly.
Mississippi State went up 24-10 on a 56-yard touchdown run by Prescott, a jolting dash directly up the middle of LSU’s defense. The Tigers failed on a third down on the next series, punting on fourth-and-1 from their 33.
State stuck the dagger in on the next series to go up 34-10, ripping off a signature win in Mullen’s sixth season in Starkville.
“When you suffer a loss like this and things go wrong, you want to start pointing fingers,” running back Terrence Magee said.
“That is not going to happen on this team.”