October 21, 2018 / 2:44 AM / in a month

No. 5 LSU picks apart No. 22 Mississippi State for 19-3 win

EditorsNote: Minor fixes

No. 5 LSU intercepted Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald four times and got four field goals from SEC scoring leader Cole Tracy to defeat the No. 22 Bulldogs 19-3 Saturday night at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

After a sluggish first half in which LSU led 10-3 on Nick Brossette’s 1-yard run and Tracy’s 25-yard field goal, the Tigers (7-1, 4-1 in the SEC) added field goals of 38, 29 and 40 yards on their first three drives of the second half to take a 19-3 lead with 10:42 left.

One of the biggest plays came with the game already decided.

LSU linebacker Devin White, the Tigers’ leading tackler, was called for targeting Fitzgerald on a pass rush in the end zone during the second half and was ejected. If the SEC upholds the targeting call, White will have to miss the first half of the Nov. 1 game against No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3 at Tiger Stadium.

Tracy has made 21 of 23 field goal attempts this season and has 87 points in eight games.

The way the LSU defense was playing, Tracy’s field goals provided more than enough points. The Tigers stopped Mississippi State on 12 of its first 13 third-down attempts, and they also stopped the Bulldogs on their lone fourth-down try.

Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3) is now 0-26 against top 5 teams in the AP poll.

LSU led 10-3 at halftime but struggled against a Bulldogs squad that entered with the nation’s top-ranked scoring defense. The Tigers gained just 79 yards in total offense in the first half, and their lone touchdown was set up by Michael Divinity’s 31-yard interception return to the Mississippi State 3 on the Bulldogs’ first series. Brossette gave LSU a 7-0 lead three plays later.

Fitzgerald ripped off a 40-yard gain on a quarterback draw to the LSU, setting up a 19-yard field goal by Jace Christmann, and Mississippi State cut the LSU lead to 7-3.

LSU had another golden opportunity to score when Grant Delpit picked off Fitzgerald at the Bulldogs 24-yard line, one of two picks for Delpit. But Joe Burrow gave the ball right back with an underthrown pass in the end zone that was intercepted by Cameron Dantzler.

The Tigers were held to minus-10 yards in total offense in the second quarter until their final drive of the half — 64 yards on 15 plays — which culminated in Tracy’s 25-yard field goal and a 10-3 LSU lead.

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