LSU defense powers 19-3 defeat of Mississippi State
Michael Divinity Jr. intercepted Mississippi State's third play from scrimmage, handed the LSU offense the ball 3 yards from the goal line and watched Nick Brossette eventually churn his way to the end zone.
That third-down touchdown was the only points the Tigers' offense would manage on a rainy, funky Saturday evening in Tiger Stadium.
But the defense and kicker Cole Tracy ensured they'd be the only points necessary in a 19-3 defeat of the No. 22 Bulldogs (4-3, 1-3).
Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald marched Mississippi State 73 yards downfield on the next possession.
But No. 5 LSU (7-1, 4-1) held up on three straight plays inside the 5 to hold the Bulldogs to a 19-yard Jace Christmann field goal.
The Tigers struggled to move the ball throughout the contest, with nine of their 13 possessions ending within 22 yards.
But those four more successful drives — of 64, 55, 44 and 51 — on consecutive possessions beginning at the end of the first half were enough to add four field goals worth of insurance.
LSU allowed Fitzgerald and company back across the 50-yard line just three more times and held its visitors to 2-for-14 on third-down attempts.
The Bulldogs drove to the 37-yard line late in the third quarter, only to end in a fourth-down disaster.
Safety Grant Delpit darted into the backfield so fast that he initially over-ran Fitzgerald, but quickly got back to his feet to corral the quarterback for an 8-yard loss.
Mississippi State then capitalized on 45 yards of penalties on a controversial fourth-quarter play that initially ended in a Kristian Fulton interception return inside the 10-yard line.
The referees' calls instead moved the Bulldogs all the way to the LSU 45-yard line and removed junior linebacker Devin White from the contest for targeting on a quarterback hurry.
Senior safety John Battle ranged well to his left for a diving interception on second down to extinguish any threat of Mississippi State reaching the end zone.
But the Tigers will now be without White for the first half of their next game: Nov. 3 against No. 1 Alabama.
The Bulldogs finally moved the ball again in the final minutes, trailing by the final 19-3 margin, but Delpit snatched his second interception and his team's fourth to keep them out the end zone.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed 16 of 28 pass attempts for 129 yards and one interception.
Brossette rushed 17 times for 57 yards and the game's lone touchdown to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for his career.
And junior Dee Anderson led all wide receivers with three catches for 29 yards.