BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels accounted for more than 300 yards of offense, including one touchdown passing and one rushing, and the Tigers wiped out a 13-point deficit en route to a 31-16 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night.
Daniels completed 22 of 37 passes for 210 yards without an interception, and also rushed for 93 yards, mostly on scrambles that frustrated and wore down the Bulldogs.
LSU (2-1, 1-0 SEC) outscored Mississippi State (2-1, 0-1) 21-0 in the fourth quarter and 31-3 during the game’s final 31 minutes.
Armoni Goodwin sealed it with his 47-yard touchdown run with 4:50 left.
The Tigers didn’t take its first lead until early in the fourth quarter, when they cashed in on Austin Williams’ muffed punt on his own 10.
Daniels’ spinning, tackle-slipping scramble up the middle on third and goal from the 3 made it 17-16 on what was also LSU’s first third-down conversion of the game.
The Tigers widened the margin with a 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that consumed six minutes. Daniels connected with Malik Nabers on three drive-sustaining passes – two on third down, followed by a surprise, 27-yard floater on fourth and 3. Josh Williams powered in from 7 yards out on the next play to make it 24-16.
Nabers finished with six catches for 76 yards.
LSU’s defense initially looked like it might struggle with third-year Mississippi State coach Mike Leach’s ”Air Raid” offense. The Bulldogs drove 87 yards for a touchdown on their opening possession, capped by Jo’quavious Marks’ 37-yard run.
But the Tigers twice stopped MSU runs on fourth-and-short to keep the game close.
The Bulldogs went up 13-0 on Rara Thomas’ leaping catch in tight coverage near the left pylon late in the second quarter – a scoring play set up by Dillon Johnson’s 35-yard run to the right side.
But LSU’s offense suddenly came alive with a 75-yard scoring drive in just 1:28 to make it 13-7 on Jaray Jenkins’ 8-yard catch and tackle-breaking surge near the goal line. The drive was fueled by Daniels’ scrambles of 13, 15 and 20 yards.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs could not get out of their own way. Three failures on fourth and short were compounded by the muffed punt, a holding call that wiped out an 88-yard kickoff return when MSU was just down by 8, a slew of dropped passes and Rogers’ fourth-quarter interception.
LSU: The Tigers’ defensive line is regarded as the team’s best position group and dominated the line of scrimmage against Mississippi State. LSU sacked Rogers four times and made eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage. The Tigers hit Rogers many more times as he threw and the QB’s performance suffered during the second half, when he completed less than half of his throws (11 for 23).
Mississippi State: Hosts Bowling Green on Sept. 24.
LSU: Hosts New Mexico State on Sept. 24.
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