BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Michael Divinity Jr.’s interception set up Nick Brossette’s short touchdown run, Cole Tracy kicked four field goals, and No. 5 LSU beat No. 22 Mississippi State 19-3 on Saturday night.
Still, the Tiger Stadium crowd left angry after LSU’s top linebacker, Devin White, was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter, meaning he will not be eligible to play in the first half of the Tigers’ upcoming showdown with unbeaten and top-ranked Alabama.
White appeared to lower his head as he leveled quarterback Nick Fitzgerald a moment after he released a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Kristian Fulton. The targeting penalty wiped out the turnover, and LSU’s celebrations also drew two flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in 45 yards in penalties on one play.
Safety John Battle’s interception prevented Mississippi State from scoring on the drive and virtually sealed the result. But fans continued booing officials until the end, keenly aware of how much the absence of White, even for just a half, could hurt the Tigers (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) against Crimson Tide’s dynamic and prolific offense.
White’s penalty was the low-point of an otherwise banner performance by the Tigers’ defense, which intercepted Fitzgerald four times.
LSU safety Grant Delpit came through with several drive-stalling plays, including two interceptions and a fourth-down sack. Delpit has five interceptions and four sacks on the season.
Fitzgerald rushed for 131 yards for Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3), but completed just 8 of 24 passes for 59 yards.
Mississippi State’s defense, led by end Montez Sweat and tackle Jeffery Simmons, gave LSU’s offense fits for much of the game. The Tigers only had 15 yards of offense before they drive 64 yards for a field goal that made it 10-3 at halftime.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow completed 16 of 28 passes for 129 yards and was intercepted in the end zone by Louisiana native Cameron Dantzler. The Tigers were held to 110 yards on the ground, with Brossette gaining 57.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs’ inability to pass against LSU’s talented secondary made it tough for them to sustain drives. Although their running game was productive at times finishing with 201 yards, the Bulldogs often looked hopeless on third down, converting two of 14. That wasn’t going to cut it on the road against a highly ranked team.
LSU: The Tiger’s defense was strong enough against the run to contain Fitzgerald and made the Bulldogs QB uncomfortable when he threw. The Tigers nearly had a fifth interception, but cornerback Andraez “Greedy” Williams had a pass bounce off his hands. Offensively, the Tigers needed almost the entire first half to figure out how to move the ball against the Bulldogs. They still struggled to find the end zone in the second half, but executed consistently enough to give their reliable kicker four field goal opportunities from 40 yards and in.
Mississippi State hosts Texas A&M
LSU has a week off before hosting Alabama on Nov. 3.
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