BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU defensive back Jalen Collins fell to his left as he tried desperately grasp onto Dak Prescott. All Collins could do after that was watch as the Mississippi state quarterback added another serpentine touchdown scamper to his growing collection of highlights.
Prescott and the Bulldogs offense put an emphatic end to No. 8 LSU's shutout streak, then held off a late rally to end a 14-game losing streak against the Tigers, 34-29 on Saturday night.
"Dak is an explosive guy," LSU defensive tackle Christian LaCouture said. "He is a guy we were really focused on this week, making sure that we limit him from making big plays."
Instead, unranked Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC) gained 20 or more yards on 10 different plays, including Prescott's 56-yard scoring run and his 74-yard touchdown pass to Jameon Lewis. LSU (3-1, 0-1) gave up 570 yards, the most since Les Miles took over as coach in 2005.
Meanwhile, LSU didn't manage an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter, when it trailed 34-10. With freshman backup quarterback Brandon Harris under center in the final minutes, LSU somehow put itself in position for a miraculous comeback, scoring two touchdowns in a span of 27 seconds. But Harris' final desperation pass to the end zone was intercepted by Will Redmond, sealing the Bulldogs first victory over LSU since 1999, and the first in Tiger Stadium since 1991.
Asked if his team came out flat, Miles was quick to spread the blame.
"It's not necessarily just the players. I'm putting first of all the responsibility on me," Miles said. "I know our guys on our team expect more from themselves. ... They're stung and it's not something that they enjoyed."
Prescott, a Louisiana native who was recruited by LSU, passed for 268 yards and rushed for 105 yards, and said he accomplished "exactly what I wanted to do when I committed to Mississippi State."
"I just stayed true to myself, trusted my teammates, trusted the coaches and we got it done," Prescott said. "Everybody's happy right now."
Jameon Lewis had five catches for 116 yards. De'Runnya Wilson caught four passes for 91 yards, including a tough 9-yard touchdown catch along the sideline to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. Josh Robinson rushed 16 times for 197 yards and a touchdown.
The numbers for LSU were far less flattering. Starting quarterback Anthony Jennings was 13 of 26 for 157 yards and no touchdowns, while the Tigers rushed for only 89 yards as a team.
One bright spot was the late play of Harris, who hit on 6 of 9 passes for 140 yards and touchdowns of 30 and 31 yards to Malachi Dupre, the second score coming shortly after an MSU turnover on a bad shotgun snap. That gave LSU a chance to attempt an onside kick with 1:27 left, but the Bulldogs secured the ball, and didn't allowed LSU to get the ball back until 20 seconds remained.
Still, Harris quickly moved the Tigers to midfield to set up a Hail Mary try. That left Miles foreshadowing the possibility of more playing time for Harris.
"He certainly made a case today that we need to look at a little bit more seriously," Miles said. "If you look at the position he was in, late in the game, he's coming and we'll look at it."
The Bulldogs never lost their early lead, thanks to a first-quarter goal-line stand in which they stopped four straight LSU runs from the 2, the last a keeper by Jennings. Prescott then drove the Bulldogs 98 yards to make it 14-0.
"We fed off our defense's momentum all night long and especially when they made that stop on fourth down," Prescott said. "That was huge on the goal line. The offense has our defense's back and vice versa."
LSU was as close as 17-10 after defensive end Danielle Hunter returned Prescott's fumble for a 25-yard score early in the third quarter. Prescott responded the on the next series by ripping off his long scoring run.
The contest marked the first Southeastern Conference game in Tiger Stadium since its expansion above the south end zone, increasing capacity to more than 102,000. But with the Bulldogs leading 31-10 and driving inside the LSU 20 as the third quarter ended, fans started filing out early, missing the late rally.
"The good news is that this football team is still going to fight and is still going to come back and play, and I was proud of the back end of that game," Miles said.
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Posted on Sun, September 21, 2014
by BRETT MARTEL, AP Sports Writer