Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC) upended No. 8 LSU (3-1, 0-1 SEC) 34-29 on Saturday night, ushering in the 2014 Southeastern Conference slate in exciting fashion.
It was the first win over LSU for the Bulldogs since 1999, the first such in Baton Rouge since 1991.
In front of the biggest crowd in Tiger Stadium history, Dan Mullen’s team started quick, scoring on the first drive after holding the Tigers to a three-and-out. The Bulldogs went into the fourth quarter with a 21-point lead, though a late push by LSU closed the gap to single digits.
“We really expected to win,” Mullen said. “I don’t know, to the guys in the locker room, that this is an upset for us.”
Junior quarterback Dak Prescott totaled 373 yards of total offense after completing 15-of-24 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, as well as running for 105 yards and a score. The Louisiana native made big play after big play to keep drives moving and to extend MSU’s lead en route to victory.
“It’s exactly what I wanted to do when I committed to Mississippi State,” he said of the win.
Prescott credited a devotion to film study for the team’s success.
“I pretty much knew everything they were coming with before the snap of the ball,” he said. “It paid off.”
Mullen said his quarterback was huge in coming through when MSU needed him and said the entire team trusts that Prescott will do what needs to be done.
“You’re gonna put the ball in his hands to make things happen in the key moments of the game.”
Junior running back Josh Robinson racked up 197 yards and a touchdown on the ground, averaging 12.3 yards per carry. MSU’s offense gained 570 yards on the night all told.
A Louisiana native, Robinson was openly emotional as he did post-game interviews surrounded by friends and family.
“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 10,” he said after wiping tears from his eyes.
Defensively, the Bulldogs held LSU to only 89 yards rushing, as linebackers Benardrick McKinney and Beniquez Brown each had a team-high seven tackles.
“We knew it was going to be a physical game up front,” McKinney said. “Our linemen did a great job of taking blocks and keeping offensive linemen from getting upfield.”
Mullen shared similar sentiments, explaining that the rushing game was huge in the outcome with the Bulldogs out-gaining the Tigers 302-89 on the ground.
“Our big key coming into the game was controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” he said afterward.
Beyond offense and defense, MSU got big performances from its special teams unit to help secure the outcome. Sophomore place kicker Evan Sobiesk was 2-for-2 on field goals, the difference in the five-point win for MSU.
“No one believes me when I say [the kickers] are really good in practice,” Mullen joked. “That’s nothing we haven’t seen in practice from Sobes. Let’s get everybody to blow up Twitter about how great he is.”
MSU now enjoys its first off weekend of 2014 on Sept. 27 before returning to action in Starkville against top-10 ranked Texas A&M on October 4 at Davis Wade Stadium. A&M will meet Arkansas in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 27 before its road trip to Starkville. Game time for the Bulldog-Aggie contest is expected to be announced by the SEC on Monday.