The Mississippi State offense never got into gear on Thursday night, falling victim to a swarming LSU defense that clamped down early and often, especially in the second half. Heading into halftime, LSU and MSU both struggled, playing in what amounted to a 30-minute pillow fight, with the occasional field goal mixed in to break up the monotony. But in the second half, as the Tigers began to find their stride, Mississippi State spent more time moving backwards than forward.
Consider that Mississippi State gained just six yards of offense on its first six drives of the half. Or that, when given every opportunity to climb back into the game, the Bulldogs stumbled, sputtered and turned the ball over. Thursday night was a dominant display by the LSU defense, which make the Bulldogs' offense look hapless and confused for much of the game.
Never did it feel like LSU had lost control of the game, even as the teams traded field goals throughout the first three quarters. Mississippi State tied the game at six in the third, yet it still felt like an LSU field goal would win it. Instead, the Tigers added a touchdown and made it all moot.
A garbage time drive evened up the stats a bit, but Mississippi State's numbers still read like a horror novel. There was the 141 yards passing -- 96 by Chris Relf and 46 by Tyler Russell. The 52 yards rushing -- 27 of which came on the final drive -- illustrate just how hapless the ground game was.
Make no mistake, LSU was a force throughout. If the defense continues to play like it has thus far, clamping down on two ranked teams, it may not matter if the offense provides just a few field goals a game.