In a game where LSU's Silent Season of 1918 was honored, Mississippi State University’s offense was deathly silent with only 260 yards of total offense, and just three points to show for their trip to Baton Rouge.
The defense provided MSU (4-3,1-3 SEC) with a shot at winning as they held LSU (7-1, 3-1 SEC) to 19 points. MSU lost 19-3 on LSU’s homecoming night due to the lack of offensive production. Head coach Joe Moorhead said the defense gave the team a fighting chance.
"I thought we came out and played another great game defensively," Moorhead said. "We really fought tooth and nail on every possession. Less than 200 yards and one touchdown. The one touchdown they (LSU) got was off of shorter field. Defense is playing great."
The game did not begin well, due to two false start penalties and an interception which set up LSU with the ball at the 3-yard line. From there, LSU's running back Nick Brossette scored on a 1-yard run, and the Tigers took a 7-0 start within three minutes.
Nick Fitzgerald bounced back from his poor start with two big runs to get the ball down to the 7-yard line. MSU ran three straight run plays up the middle for little to no yards. Jace Christmann, sophomore kicker from Houston, Texas, made a 19-yard field goal to make it 7-3, scoring MSU’s only points of the game.
Moorhead said he thought the offense ran the ball well, but, aside from that, they played poorly.
"Offensively, we ran the ball fairly well," Moorhead said. "We did not convert many third downs, we got to find a way to be productive in the passing game and we did not get that done. At the end of the day, three points is not going to win many games."
Fitzgerald put the Bulldogs in danger again, but Cam Dantzler, sophomore corner back from Hammond, Louisiana, bailed him out with a spectacular pick in the right corner of the end zone. He was forced out of play at the two, but his pick saved the team from giving up points. However, Dantzler said he received criticism on execution because the cornerback should have kneeled in the end zone for a touchback.
"He was like, 'You got to think smarter,' and I was like, "Yeah, that is my fault," Dantzler said. "I just felt like I was going to break the tackle because he had me by the jersey. I just felt like I could have had a pick six right there."
MSU gave up a 60-yard drive to close the half and a 25-yard field goal to extend LSU’s lead to 10-3. Erroll Thompson Jr., sophomore linebacker from Florence, Alabama, said he felt like the team still had a chance to win.
"Really put the pedal to the medal, put the foot to the neck," Thompson said. "We wanted to come out and stop those guys and put points on the board. We feel like we gave the offense a fighting chance. It is a team game, so we felt like we got to do whatever we can do to give them that chance."
LSU came back out after halftime and scored nine points, all field goals, making it 19-3. Trying to make a late touchdown, Fitzgerald, who completed eight passes, threw his fourth interception of the night. Fitzgerald said his passing game is better in practice than in the game.
"We got to keep working, it seems like we have a grasp of what we are supposed to be doing (in practice)," Fitzgerald said. "There is a gap between what we are doing in practice, and what we are doing in the game. That is something we have to figure out—what is causing that gap."
MSU plays Texas A&M (5-2, 3-1 SEC) at 6 p.m. next week at home.